Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

The Plastic Hand of Dog Doom;

Wind Mills Lean Toward Angling

TELL IT TO THE HAND: While animal rescues are proverbially thought of as places where folks give homeless, abandoned and shunned once-pets a helping hand, it turns out they also give dogs another, often less compassionate, kind of hand. A plastic one.

I’ll explain.

If ever there was a hand-sized equivalent to the fickled finger of fate, it is the horrible hovering hand used to test whether a dog is to be kept for adoption or sent packing – to that place where a Pentobarbital poke ushers them to where all dogs go: heaven.

Here is how the ultimate hand acceptance test works, as nearly as I understand it. Each up-for-adoption dog is placed in a confined area and is given a toy, a rawhide and a dish of food. I’m not sure if they’re given all at once or introduced one at a time. Regardless, the fateful part arrives in the form of a pink plastic mechanical hand on what is essentially a stick. This fake-o hand, obviously controlled by a human, slowly, you might say menacingly, approaches the toy, food and rawhide.

It’s how the dog reacts to the hovering hand that seals its fate. If the canine kinda cowers and obediently lets the freaky appendage take over the food, toy or rawhide, it’s a “good boy (or girl).” It is allowed to, well, live on. If it growls at the plastic paw at any time, it’s “bad dog” time. And, believe me, it’s not like the hand-intolerant pooch gets sent to plastic hand obedience school.

Understand, I’m not even remotely making this sh … stuff up. The very touchy hand acceptance test is taking place within spitting distance. I even know of a swell dog over in Manahawkin who passed the toy test, even aced the dish of food test but apparently said to himself, “I’ll be damned if you think your taking my rawhide, you freaky hand-shaped thing on a stick.” He growled, That understated sound of un-acceptance has him on death row. Fortunately, there is a gal close to the dog who knows the animal would make a super-fine pet and is vigorously seeking a reprieve for the dog’s rawhide-based indiscretion. A call from the governor is sorely needed.

I’ll now blog sophomorically by questioning the efficacy of a plasticized hand-acceptance test when it comes to the final word on an animal living or dying. I’m openly wondering: By the third invasive move of the hand, a dog, one perfectly suited to adoption, could appropriately think, “Hey, this damn thing is trying to take over. I gotta protect the other pets in here and put it in its place. A little growl should be enough. Boy, are the other pets and people in the center going to thank me.”

Yes, I’m going pretty far afield, but, being part dog, I know of what I speak. Someone should also consult the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, the premier dog translator on the planet. I’ll bet a hot dog with the works that every dog he asks will have huge problems with the potentially terminal disembodied plastic hand acceptance test.

All that said, please understand that I’m a colossal fan of adoption centers. What they do is tantamount to sudden salvation for forsaken and forfeited pets of all sorts. In fact, a prime reason for my blogging on this bizarre trail-by-hand topic is to simultaneously coax folks to adopt pets. A more mature turnkey pet is a ready-to-go partner and instant best friend. Plus, it’s a great time of year to go visit pet adoption centers and feel the instantaneous bonding when eyes meet. It’s way beyond mere physicality.

I just want to work out that tell it to the hand approach to determining adoptability.

CORRECTION: Last issue I errantly captioned a photo of Joe Kovas’ 51.19 cow bass as the “third” 50-pounder in the Classic. It was only the second. Sorry for any confusion. My error came about from the data overload I absorb this time of year. A few weeks back, there was, in fact, a 50-pounder (a midge over 50) taken mid-Island. Despite knowing the fellow had failed to join up for the Classic, my mind – fully on its own -- kinda put it in the event anyway.

I hadn’t written much on that hookup because the angler was sincerely worried about folks razing him about needlessly keeping a big fish. He is having it mounted, though that only entails the taking of a fish’s dimensions and photographing its coloration.

As I’ve oft sympathized, it can’t be easy to release a fish of a lifetime, as this one was for the angler.

HEATING DAYS AND HIGH TIDES: Despite the look and feel of fall out there, we’re looking good on heating-days.

The heating days concept is one of those things that the weather service uses to translate weather into homefront terms. It registers when air temps have dropped to the point where the heater has to kick on – not unlike a taxi meter after the driver snaps down the meter flag.

So far, this is one of those falls when that wallet-draining metering has been very minimal. Thus, the heating days are below normal.

Modified fall air temps heavily impact angling. Our ocean waters are currently damn-near 10 degrees above normal, especially around the offshore and nearshore buoys. It all points to a very fine late-fall fishing season.

SEWER SURGES: I want to stay weathery for another minute.

If you were nonchalantly driving LBI’s roadways last week, you might have been among the many of us who suddenly found mallards swimming past our doors. For a couple days, we got some royal road flooding – seemingly out of the blue.

That flooding was the protracted effect of the huge West Atlantic storm I had written about in here last week. That ramped up storm system crammed ocean water flush along much of the Eastern Seaboard, reminiscent of the Halloween Storm. Our backbays essentially overflowed -- a lot like a clogged up toilet.

I make that distasteful sewery simile because it is, in fact, a tad disgusting when oozing flood waters flush forth from the sewers -- regurgitating everything trashy that had fallen into the sewers in weeks and even months prior.

I’ll deposit an Alliance for a Living Ocean plug here by imploring folks to always keep in mind that everything that flows – or is thrown -- into sewer grates stays in our ecosystem. In fact, why not help out the ocean/bay-watch cause by joining ALO, at www.livingocean.org.

Anyway, the way-away storm sent us waves to 10 feet for a couple days straight. Copious amounts of sand were eaten off oceanfront beaches. Holgate got clobbered at the entrance and at the weakest area, something like the 6,000-foot mark.

Every erosion session in Holgate rings with the sound of another nail being driven into the South End coffin. Hopefully, we can get some last-minute defense from our heavily built congressman-elect Jon Runyon, who is in D.C. this week taking a crash on how to be a good and proper Congressperson. There is something like 90 such GOP frosh Congresspersons taking run-the-nation lessons. One of the main subjects to be taught (gospel truth): “How to make a vote.”

Please don’t let it be Runyon asking out loud, “Hmmm. What the hell are these here ‘Yea’ and ‘Nay’ buttons for. Hey, guy with the gavel, I don’t seem to have buttons for ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ Is that cause I’m new and stuff?”

POWER TO THE FISHERMEN: Anglers may soon be milling about under huge turning blades. Looming large on the saltwater angling horizon are windmills, potentially a load of ‘em.

As you likely know, the Obama administration is heavily leaning toward wind power, backing legislation favorable toward wind power efforts off East Coast beaches. However, those POTUS gusts of approval get all but blown away when compared to the recent rafter-rattling news coming out of Google-land.

The geniuses behind that search engine -- and I’m not being even remotely sarcastic with that genius rating – have announced the heavily-traded corporation will be going gigantic on the future of wind power. In stock-shocking news, Google reported the company intends to throw billions (possibly atop billions) into the wind thing, primarily the infrastructure needed to transporting energy derived from oceanic windmills off NJ. I even chatted with some of the mega-company’s higher ups – who summer-reside hereabouts. The company is proud as punch to be green – and able to give something back to the people. Yes, there’s a good chance of making a mint in the process. That’s sure as hell no crime in America – not that I’d know personally.

I will note that Google’s upper echelon has a stellar history of being truly America- and environmental-minded.

By the by, Google execs were hyper-forthright with their stockholders, telling them -- all but warning them -- of this new out-there venture. Be it faith in Google or faith in the future of alternative energy, not only did stockholders hang in but they began to further stock up on the company.

As it now stands, Google has partnered with Good Energies, an international investment company with the greenest of roots, and Tokyo-based Marubeni. The partnership will spend – for mere starters -- $5 billion to begin developing a 350-mile network of underwater power cables from New Jersey to Virginia. The independent electric transmission company Trans-Elect, based in Bethesda, Maryland, will handle the actual electricity part of the venture.

The windmills should initially power nearly 2 million homes. Yes, LBI homes might be among those powered by Google, so to speak, though once the energy is instilled into the grid, you can’t differentiate Google wind power from, say, nuclear power. The Google $-connection all but guarantees that oceanic wind farms will be arriving very soon – quite possibly growing exponentially in numbers, right off our shores.

Now onto the more electrifying news for anglers.

From the very get-go, major players across the board – from government to industry – agreed that fishing will be allowed on the wind farms, among the mills. I swear that the majority of the folks working on this venture are anglers, including my contacts. Quite cool.

Elsewhere in the world, oceanic wind farms have proven to be angling dynamos. Unlike our beloved reefs, the windmills cover the entire water table.I envision windmill structures holding seabass, tautog, sheepshead and bergalls at lower depths, while entertaining predatory fish higher up. I’m certain that filefish, triggerfish and even small mahi will also be on the windmill scenes during summers. The farms will quickly become a first-stop for many boat anglers, including headboats.

STINK OVER WD-40: E-mail: “I read your recent article about fish smelling contaminates in the water. When I finish for the trip, I always wipe rod and reels with WD 40. A couple guys told me that this would not interfere with my catch. What is your opinion?? Len M.”

What a great question. I'll tell you why. There has actually been an ongoing controversy over WD-40 -- and the related menhaden industry. It seems a stink arises whenever bunker is involved with anything.

Some recreational fishing groups have actually called for boycotts of the WD-40 Company because the famed lubricant's main ingredient is (gospel truth) bunker oil. That should surely answer the question of which lubricant/preservative is best for angling equipment. It also hints at the best stuff to keeps rod eyes bright and shiny.

The trick when using WD-40 with angling equipment is not to go spray crazy. Best technique is to simply shoot on a quick spritz then cloth a thin sheen over surfaces. You can even buff the WD-40 into a light polish/sheen.

Warning: Never heavily spray WD-40 into the innards of a reel. I’ll note that some reel experts say never even use the stuff on reels. I humbly disagree, providing you maintain the above-mentioned light touch with it.

In the past, I’ve written that a slew of top pluggers first spray their artificials with WD-40 prior to casting. They say the water repelling property of the substance enhances the in-water look of a plug, by leaving a light fish oil hue (rainbow) trailing it, something fish are accustomed to seeing in a wounded baitfish. I’m thinking that pure bunker oil in a spray bottle is the better choice, but for ease of application the spray sure is handy.

By the by, WD-40 works well as a winter preservative for production plugs. Higher end handcrafted plugs should be treated with the likes of light lemon oil or Murphy Oil.

By the by, I'm sure as hell not boycotting a good company like WD-40 when it comes to bunker stocks. Bunker conservation lies in controlling commercial fishing. The WD-40 Company is a relatively small player in menhaden usage. Most of all, it offers a product that the entire planet loves. And, no, the company didn’t offer me my own alpaca farm to speak kindly of them. I use the stuff at every turn, especially preserving vintage metal collectibles and angling memorabilia.

RUN-DOWN: It’s a tough week to offer a run-down. The utterly up side has to do with boat-based stripering just to our north, where headboats and private-sector boat anglers have absolutely knocked the bass. A number of larger headboats went out at 7 a.m. and were bagged out by 9 a.m. Island boat anglers are leaving from both the Barnegat and Little Egg inlets to head up that way.

Off LBI, the seas haven’t been nearly as striperish, though Little Egg area has had some bass flare-ups. Those seem to be during tide changes, though no clear-cut bite patterns are discernable.

The beach angling has remained a bit splotchy – and oft skunky. Though the swells have finally lain down, the catching hasn’t been as brisk as some of us thought it would be once the waters calmed. I nabbed a 28-inch bass first cast, late day, using white jig, bucktail and plastic tail.

There have been some passages of slammer blues but only in scattered pods, seemingly hell-bent on getting somewhere else. You can actually see the migratory movement of blues via hookups along the beachfront. In the a.m., fish are on the north end, passing mid-Island at midday and down south by day’s end. Occasionally, you can track the same fish via hookups in Brigantine.

Overall, bassing has been a bit odd. Where schoolies should be heavily on-scene, it seems that single rogue bass, significantly larger than school bass, are still the main call when chunking the suds. The Classic has seen those single fish arrive at the scales, most in the 15- to 20-pound category.

Let the togging begin, Tuesday Nov. 16. I talked to loads of folks jonseing to get at the blackfish bounty. And the tog seem to be bountiful indeed. Epic angling is being reported from headboats heading out early Tuesday. Bag limits (6 fish at 14 inches and up) were reached so early it allowed boats to target some other species to make a (half) day of it.

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