Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, August 13, 2010: It took a while for the winds to get organized but they’re kicking up pretty good today and the surf has kicked up even more. A 5- to 7-foot swell is showing, creating nasty …

Friday, August 13, 2010:

It took a while for the winds to get organized but they’re kicking up pretty good today and the surf has kicked up even more. A 5- to 7-foot swell is showing, creating nasty inlet and beachfront conditions. Adding to the pound is the fact the swell is not just a wind swell but also a medium-period groundswell, from either the very long fetch or a forming low out at sea. No matter, it is possibly the worst day of the summer, conditions-wise. There might be some in-bay areas that are protected enough to allow some fluking to be done but I’m not sure where folks will find themselves working the fluke tourneys being held over the weekend. The beachside waters have warmed as expected thanks to downwelling, the opposite of upwelling. The thing is I’m not sure how many bathers want to get overly frisky out there today. We switched the rip current concern from moderate to high; worst rips of the season very likely due to the groundswell conditions. Road flooding will show a lot more today than yesterday as the bay fills and the high tide tops off by pushing up through the sewer grates, Again, those sewers have not been purged by many storms this summer so some seriously ugly stuff will be getting backwashed onto the road way.

You might have read or heard about the massive die-off of peanut bunker down near Cape May. The DEP is (rightfully suggesting either a mass stranding due to predation or a die-off due to low dissolved oxygen levels. I can easily see both being a factor.

Firstly, the astounding number of dead bunkies indicates they were packed in like, well, sardines. That is quite possibly due to being balled up from predators or thickly gathered in cooler aerated water. Now, factor in the existing low-oxygen in the nearby shallow water (because of the record water temps) and spooked bunkies, packed gill-to-gill and forced into the shallows, would be doubly dead ducks, so to speak.

What would have been on the attacking side of things? Anything from bass to blues to dolphin to sharks to (even) whales to (yes) rays to pelicans, etc.

If it had been any other species besides bunker, the loss would be horrific. The loss of hundreds of thousands of bunkies is quite literally a drop in the biomass bucket, fewer than a fractional net load from a factory ship haul.

By the by, this arriving blow and related tidal surges will do absolute wonders to oxygenate our bay areas. It will also absolutely loose the young-of-year mullet and bunkies from the far backbay. By next week, all the muster points near the inlets (clear up to New England) will see forage fish assuming typical launch points taken prior to migration. They’ll hand there for weeks, feeding and making mock rushes toward the ocean, some possibly making short runs in the ocean, mainly from inlet to next closest inlet, where they’ll settle in and eat until the big bust-out takes place in September.

Unfortunately, this rush to mustering points could mark one of those unwanted shotgun starts to mullet season, where they all bolt at once and the season ends early. Compensating for that likelihood might be a downright hot September, meaning the mullet might moves to about Jersey (from up north) and stop hereabouts, based on water temps. In other word, they might get confused about whether they’ve already reached “the south.” Remember, not one of those mullet have ever seen “the south” before. I’ve seen that migratory mullet confusion happen many times before – until the cold sets in and something of a second migration begins.

The so-called Fertilizer Bills successfully cleared a joint legislative committee hearing held yesterday in Toms River. The bills will now go forward to be studied (and very likely passed) by the Senate and Assembly. This will make NJ the strictest state in the country when it comes to what types of fertilizers can be used on lawns and golf courses.

Of course, lawn care companies and golf course maintenance crews are pissed as all get out over the proposed requirement that all fertilizers contain a very high percentage of slow-release non water-soluble fertilizing materials. They claim lawns and courses will not be rainforest green. The environmental and recreational fishing communities, which rallied to the rafters, easily dominated testimony at the hearing.

Also, the bill would ban fertilizer use between November 15 and March 1.

The bills are meant to keep excessive fertilizer runoff from reaching Barnegat Bay – and other state waterways. In the past ten years, we have seen over fertilization cause over nutrification of the bay, which leads to over nitrification, allowing certain algae to all but take over. Algae blooms remove oxygen and can eventually all but kill the bay – except for algae. Over nitrification is already likely ruining annual fish spawns and is causing turbidity leading to eelgrass die-offs


The H1N1 flu pandemic is officially over, per the World Health Organization. The end of that flu is nothing to sneeze at. Even though it did not become a million-person killer, as predicted, it put quite a scare into the planet. And for good reason. Those viral buggers are, on a daily basis, essentially experimenting with ways to wipe out all of humanity. And they might just pull it off if we aren’t on our toes, ready to devise new and better cures at the drop of a pandemic hat. This go’round we kicked some viral butt. Despite only a fraction of the world population being immunized, it sure seems enough folks got the shot that the potentially killer bugs couldn’t spread exponentially outward. Of course, the influenza creatures have scurried back to the lab again, pissed that they didn’t match the damage they did back in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.

While nobody is wild about influenza viruses, I do give them credit for wiping out those hideous creatures that almost took over our entire planet in the book and movie “War of the Worlds,” closely based on a true story. It shows just how intergalactically lethal our home planet viruses are.

Anyway, I was reading that one way to keep the flu bugs guessing is to get annual flu shots. That potentially lifesaving push in the arm is coming up soon. So, help yourself, the planet, and H.G. Wells by getting one.

My only fear is I’ll be in-line for a flu shot and turn around to find a 12-foot slime-breathing extraterrestrial nonchalantly holding his three arms out for a shot, trying to blend in with human tourists by wearing an aloha shirt, plaid shorts, black socks and cheap flip-slops.

“Hello, is this the Men in Black headquarters?”

“Yes it is, sir, but you’re going to have to talk louder.”

“I can’t. There’s an m-a-r-t-i-a-n right next to me in line.”

“Somebody named Martin is next to you?”

“No, damn it all! An m-a-t-i-A-n.”

“A Martian?!”


“Ok, stay perfectly calm, sir. I’ll put you straight through to Will Smith.”


Elevator music.

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