Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, August 20, 2011: I hung out at the docks today – both charter and launch -- and heard about blues and fluke – on the good side of hooking. There was a lotta junk talk, also. The sea robins have moved in pretty thickly and dogs were as numerous as ever.

Not that it’s even slightly news but I had half a dozen folks assure me in spades that they have never caught so many fluke – all undersized, of course. I even got a few “It made it fun” from some less discerning anglers – “less discerning” actually being a wonderful thing, closer to pure fishing than oft-hissy expert angling.

I promise I’m not writing about all this fluke catching just to prove my point that there might very well be way too many summer flounder stacked on virtually every inch of the bottom. OK, so maybe I am.

Even with next year’s healthy hike in fluke poundage, our young-of-year bayside fish, like summer flounder, winter flounder, black sea bass, tautog, weakfish, kingfish and assorted rarer varieties, still won’t have a frickin’ prayer of making it out to sea to grow up. Remember, once the tiny first-summer fish get past the brick-thick fluke gangs, what then awaits are shoals of bluefish, an overstock of sand sharks and acres on end of voracious schoolie striped bass.

I promise one and all that long after I’m gone someone will prove how right I am in totally mocking the unilateral – and, face it, highly prejudicial -- conservation of man-favored species with absolutely no sense of conserving an ecological balance.

OK, off me pedestal and onto the beachfront, where we’re seeing yet another insane showing. Gone are the salps and grasshoppers. Enter millions of jellyfish caps, essentially the solid corpses of lion’s mane jellyfish, among the worst stinging J-fish known to NJ.

The caps are those small saucer-shaped clear gooey things that go bump when one is bathing in the surfline -- and are fun to throw around. I was even part of a multi-kid, multi-adult jellyfish cap fight in the shorebreak of Harvey Cedars. Oddly, not many moms were into it. They just stood in a gathering gang at the water’s edge, glaring at the cap-slinging nonsense going on, certain someone was going to lose an eye. I didn’t lose an eye but this sweet little girl, looking like a watery angel, bushwhacked me at point-blank range. She left the pattern of a jellyfish cap imprinted into my cheek skin. Little witch.  

We’ve had these cap wash-ups many times before but this one is as big as I’ve ever seen. There’s gotta be hundreds of thousands coming ashore. There is easily enough floating around to screw up surf casting. As rubbery as they are, they can get snagged on line and often have to be manually removed.

There is an inestimable up side to any surge of dead lion’s manes’ caps. They’re solidly deceased. When alive and kicking and sardine thick, this coldwater type of J-fish can ruin all water activities with their uncanny ability to break into pieces and still sting the livin’ daylights out of any piece of skin the pieces touch.

Somewhere way out at sea, an eddy of tropical water collided head-on with a coldwater current, instantly killing the jellyfish via thermal shock. Thanks, eddy. 

I have a couple emails regarding The Shack but I’m going to save those for my weekly blog. 

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