Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sat. Oct. 29 -- Blown away before better bassing

Saturday, October 29, 2011:

No, you you’re not out there fishing today. If you are I can’t acknowledge since I don’t want to encourage anyone to go out and get blown away on the beach. Of course, there are those who got hyped over the decent showing of bass during the short-lived south wind session preceding this one’easter. And it looks like it will, in fact, be another one day and done storm. In fact, the northeasterlies will go more northerly by late today, and usher in a few snowflakes – bare minimum snow showing as opposed to the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania and far-north New Jersey, which have been getting a goodly look at huge-flaked snow. 


Post storm, there might very well be a nice bass burst in the suds, based on busted up baitballs offshore and churned up crabs and clams in the shoreline zone. The fall bass arriving with expectation of scoring big bunker are going to be blindsided by the lack of baitballs and have very little choice but to hunker up to the shoreline and suck up storm-loosed comestibles.


Obviously, our waters will likely be turbid, though not for lone this time of year. Chunk baits (bunker, clams) will once again rule the surfcasting day over plugging and such. However, deeper running jigs, Storm “Wildeyes” and such, might draw some striper taker, though smaller fish. If you want to plug with a chunking rod in play, try the likes of large Rat’L’Traps, using a jigging motion so they have deep – or, best of all, settle to the bottom then shoot upward with a jigging motion.


There were some semi-slammer blues showing yesterday. As noted before, the big blues really need to start showing soon or the season will get to late and they’ll buzz by in nothing flat. Ocean temps today remain in the low to even mid 60s. Bizarre. The runoff from the 2 inches of rain we’re now quickly getting could cool the water near the inlets. Expect any bigger blues to hang thereabouts, though passing along the beachfront when going from one inlet (Barnegat) to the next (Beach haven/Little Egg.


YO ESTOY UN DUMBO ASSO: Responding to a huge number of requests (literally dozens, verbally and on-line), I decided to photograph a family unit of huge coyote I’ve been monitoring in a very backwoods area of Little Egg Harbor.


Grabbing a top-notch camera from work, I did a late-day run to an ancient rustically-decrepit deer stand well up a big-ass oak tree. It’s next to a barely discernable fire road. I’ve been visiting it for nearly 10 years now.


Running behind my dusk-based schedule – needing some light to shoot – I reached the tree on the fly and wasted no time strapping the camera over my neck, pushing it onto my back.


The first step/rung of seven leading up to stand, is way up. It takes almost a hop to get a foot onto it, while simultaneously grabbing the next rung a few feet above it for upper-body support.


The nailed in rungs, ;pieces of 2-by-4, have been there so long they’re partially embedded into the tree – being grown over by bark. They’re none too easy climb – as I was about to find out. 


As I got to maybe the forth 2-by, things were going fine. Then, a seemingly minor thing: the camera shifts off my back. Even though It’s strapped over my neck, I freak. I make a truly dumb-ass move by grabbing for it with my left hand. Then, I see this bright flash and I’m flat on my back, hitting the sandy ground and fallen leaves like a load of lead.


I was totally stunned, I just hadn’t thought I was up that high. The numbing impact proved me wrong. I was doubly stunned by how instantaneously things went south, literally.


For some reason I envision any fall as this ascent where time suddenly shifts to slow motion, kinda like “I’m fallllllllll-ing. Now I’m half done my falllll-ing.” Screw that. I was up a tree, then I was looking up at a tree.


After such a fall, the mind quickly loses interest in whereabouts and fully focuses on what-abouts. What about my, back, my spine, my neck, my kidneys, my gizzard – taking the briefest of moments to ponder where I’d even my gizzard?


Most of all I concentrated on when the pain would set in. Oddly, nothing ached – at first.


Rising with the speed of a biscuit, I called off the shoot. I garnered some pretty legitimate fears that oft pain-free internal mayhem might be trailing my meteoric impact. I unadvisedly hiked rapidly back to my truck, spurred on by this perpetual primal fear of someday let going down in no-man’s land and not being found until I had reached that “dental records” state.


I sat in my truck’s bucket seat, finding it growingly weird part that I had absolutely no pain commensurate with a damn-serious bodily plunge.


Assuming a “that’s that” attitude, I drove to an auction I had on my schedule. Getting there, I all but forgot about the fall – until I jumped out of the truck. Owwww, my achin’ frickin’ back! Hideous.


When I don’t stay for an auction, you know something’s wrong in Mannsville. I was sorely tempted to steer straight over to the hospital. Instead, I had visions of the prescription strength Ibuprofen capsules at home. I all but flew to Ship Bottom – very unlike me. I simply never speed -- unless there’s a bass blitz taking place on the beach or they’re having “bag” clothing sale at the SOCH Old and New Shop. I could barely hobble into my house. I had visions of my entire fall being spent in some tortuous back brace. I took pills and gentle plopped onto my bed.


I’d like to take a moment to graciously thank my late mom and dad, for sporting superior genes and passing them to me. The pain fell to the pain-killing capacities and though I remain a goodly number of percentage points from being 100 percent, I think I somehow survived a fall that could easily have been a backbreaker. I’ve already called the coyotes to schedule a photo re-shoot for this coming week.


I’m now more than attuned to dozens of studies showing that deer stand-related falls are, far and away, the greatest danger to hunters – way beyond accidental gunshot wounds. In fact, one study suggests that deer stand fall may be the deadliest danger among outdoorsmen, even above drowning.


With hunting season upon us, you might want to look into all the new stand harnesses out there, though they sure won’t help falling backward while ascending a stand. Of course, not many hunters will be accessing a deer stand with barely negotiable wooden steps over 75 years old.




 [The New York Times] by Juliet Eilperin - October 27, 2011

Off the coast of western Australia, an attempt to seek vengeance against a great white shark this week lasted only two days.

Sharks have killed four people off Australia in the past 14 months, including three since early September. So when 32-year-old American George Thomas Wainwright was killed Saturday while diving, West Australian authorities issued an order to capture and kill the great white shark involved in the incident. They set six baited lines in waters off Rottnest Island, where Wainwright died, and shifted locations once in hot pursuit. But by Monday, they decided the shark had migrated far offshore, and they abandoned the effort.

The decision by Australian officials to exercise this authority for the first time — despite the target being an otherwise protected species — highlights the contradictory relationship humans now have with sharks. Some people would like to protect them in theory, but it’s harder to do it in practice.

The number of shark-related deaths this year — 13 worldwide — is nearly triple the annual average, prompting some coastal communities to take drastic action. But shark conservation measures are gathering momentum in the United States and abroad, as policymakers and scientists warn that the sea’s most feared predator is in danger of disappearing.

“It’s the ‘Jaws’ effect. There’s something primal about this fear of shark attacks that you don’t have with other animals,” said Maryland Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), who is drafting a measure that would ban the sale, trade and possession of shark fins in Maryland. Luedtke thinks his bill stands a strong chance of passage next year, and he has watched the Australian hunt with dismay.

“It’s sad to see that, because it’s not going to make you any safer,” he said.

George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said no single factor explains what he called the “big jump” in the number of deaths this year. (The total number of incidents, including non-fatal encounters, 64, is in keeping with previous years.) Warmer waters in places such as the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, could be connected to the unusual shark strikes off Russia, Burgess said, while human activities such as fish farming may have lured sharks to Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, where two deaths occurred.

This weekend’s shark hunt was the fifth this year, according to University of Sydney doctoral researcher Christopher Neff, marking what may be an all-time high. The other ones took place in the Seychelles, Reunion Island, Mexico and Russia. In almost every instance, communities sought to kill sharks after multiple attacks. The searches have had different stated aims: Reunion Island authorities said they were gathering scientific data by killing sharks, while Seychelles officials said they were paying fishermen for dead sharks in hopes of recovering the wedding ring of the British honeymooner who died off their shores. But in each case, officials emphasized they were seeking to protect the public.

In a statement, West Australian Fisheries Minister Norman Moore told The Washington Post that the multiple attacks were “an unprecedented circumstance which required an unprecedented response,” noting that his task was complicated because many people approach the waters of Rottnest Island from boats and might not see beach signs or patrols. He added, “There is no order to cull sharks — there is an exemption under the [law] that has always been there to take an endangered species if or when it poses an imminent threat to human life.”

Several experts, including Burgess, questioned whether targeting an individual shark would enhance human safety. More than 100 marine biologists wrote to Moore, as well as other state and local authorities, urging them to “realize that a shark cull would be disastrous not only to our marine environment but also Australia’s reputation as a world leader in marine conservation.”




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