Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Bridge work is slightly ahead of schedule ...
Below: A little hand, please. Litter waves back.
Saturday, January 26, 2019: Did a beach hike in Holgate. It included some sunbathing. Not in the traditional sense. It was more of a well-layered lay-about; a thick American hoodie under a reliable toasty Bomber coat up top and a pair of L.L. Bean (Old and New Shop find) flannel-lined jeans below. The low-sky off-season sun had inched out from behind an AC cloud bank, offering my hike an appealing skim of winter warmth.
Then, Just to my right, a small dome’s worth of dune invited me over to share some southside time. "Don’t mind if I do.” Plopping down, I tightened my Bose wireless Bluetooth headphones, connected to my cellphone's Napster, and tuned into something called the “Acoustic Indie” radio channel. Nice. The laid-back music invited me to do the same, so I assumed a position common to a summer beach-day sunning. For at least the next half hour, I – what’s that touristy expression? -- took in some rays. It was so nice it could have qualified as the world’s shortest vacation. That begs the more famed expression for me: "I’ll take what I can get right about about now." Frigid air by this coming week.
(FLASHBACK ALERT): The work on the surfing-famed Wooden Jetty got me oddly recollectionous since some of my deepest life roots are within the waveriding realm.
Following the call of the surf, I spent pretty much an entire lifetime pursuing perfect -- and even imperfect -- waves. In surf seeking, I forwent a life of normalcy. My unmarriedness hints at that. It was always “Get me to the surf on time” … never that other place.
I retired from surfing not that long ago -- after 50-plus years. I went cold turkeyishly, having one day taken note of my untender age. I decided to finally do the too-many things I had put on hold while chasing waves, year ‘round. I should add – to avoid a “surf bum” rap -- I simultaneously held many a job, most commonly as a cook or a treasure diver. Through it all, I knew I’d eventually go career in the writing realm. Voila.
My fishing fascination is longer-lived than even my waveriding obsession, harkening back to when I was just wrapping up my diaper phase. My dad was a fanatic angler. As a Sargent in the Army, he fished in assorted foreign lands, talking most fondly about fishing in Germany with a Manahawkin buddy of his, Mel B. To be sure, no son of his would lack in angling skills. Every fishable – and even highly unfishable – opportunity found he and I fishing, usually quite seriously – in a fun quasi competitive way. In my teens, the irresistible siren call of surfing pulled me off to Hawaii ... and many other points unknown.
Below: Hawaii had an odd impact on me ...
Now to tie all that reminiscing into the Holgate Terminal Groin project at Wooden Jetty. Wonderful Wooden Jetty, which I surfed dating back to the mid-1960s, gifted me with some of my most epic LBI surf sessions. Now, watching heavy equipment and steel wall/groin sheets mustered in the Holgate parking lot, I’m among many who see the old Wooden Jetty era coming to a heavy-metal end. However, this won’t mean the waveriding days there are gone for good. I’ll venture to say this prime surfing site's line-up point won't move very far from its original line-up point. A new hot spot, sure-to-be-called “Wooden Jetty,” will offer classic lefts, possibly in short order. Work should be done within a couple months.
Below: Wooden Jetty. No need to leave angry, it'll be back shortly.
As I mull over the soon-to-be terminal groin layout, I’m pre-fretting over the safety of future Wooden Jetty waveriders. They might soon be swapping suds with the new groin’s upwardly protruding steel sheets. Over all my years, I’ve never once surfed near a steel wall, which will be the groin’s final look, as I see it. That said, worldly waveriders are highly familiar with hard and unforgiving obstacles, including reefs, pier pilings, jetties/groins, and sheer-cliff shorelines. Still ... an actual steel wall protruding into a take-off point?
Below: Steel sheets awaiting duty.
Onward to angling, as it relates to the new terminal groin. On this issue, I’m kinda clueless. What is angling like around a steel wall? I'm guessing there could be wall-top plugging and surf fishing -- by casting southward from the north side of the terminal groin. Importantly, for that to happen, sand and no-sand things must happen.
Groin-top angling would only be doable if enough sand fills in on the wall's north side, offering sand somewhat flush to the tops of the new structure. As to the "no-sand" angle, the south of the groin must be missing a sand buildup, offering deeper water.
Below: When ocean met bay at Wooden Jetty site ... pre-groin.
Which brings up that area’s biggest bugaboo: sand distribution. I can best approach that by seguing to possible beach buggying impacts from the up-and-coming Holgate groin. I see bad driving times a-rising. We currently have the widest drive-on area ever seen by buggyists accessing the Holgate Refuge beachline. That sand buildup, south of the parking lot, can go thoroughly AWOL within a few storms. With highly limited amounts of sand moving southward around the terminal groin, there will be precious little sand to replenish storm losses. It could very easily revert back to the not-distant times when it was a day-to-day challenge for buggies to reach the beach. While mobile fishermen would hate the hell out of such hit-or-miss access, Long Beach Township’s stellar public works folks would double-hate needing to once again continually plow up emergency sand, to create a beach access roadway for public and emergency access.
Beaches north of Wooden Jetty ... "Come on, gimme a hand, dude."
Accused parties in the two stories below: Song Jiang, Wei Yee Su, Isouvahn Xayachack, Chanhthone Phongsim.
There's no overlooking an Asian connection in cases of blatant disregard for conservation. What's more, there is so much money in this poaching enterprise that fines melt away in significance. How many days, months, years have they been doing this?:
Authorities busted Isouvahn Xayachack and his wife Chanhthone Phongsim for poaching on Fairmont's Lake Sisseton.
If found guilty, the poaching pair could face fines and orders of restitution upward of $3,000.
An anonymous tip came through the "Turn in Poachers" hotline, resulting in the charges against the southern Minnesota couple for being in possession of 253 crappie over their allowed limit.
Fish and Wildlife is seeking applicants for seasonal positions stocking trout this spring!
The position is full time from March 18 through May 30 (Monday - Friday, 7am - 3:30pm).
The pay is $12 per hour.
The position assists Fish and Wildlife staff in the distribution of fish to New Jersey's lakes and rivers. Each morning begins by filling trucks at the Pequest Trout Hatchery. Applicants must be willing and able to be at the Pequest Trout Hatchery located in Oxford (Warren County) every weekday at 7am. Applicants must be able to climb up and down a ladder on and off the trout truck at least 20 times per day. The applicant must be able to carry a 20-pound netful of fish down a bank and toss the fish into a river, sometimes 20 times per day.
Interested applicants should email firstname.lastname@example.org
by John Sackton with Jancie Schriber
The Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions take about 57% of foodservice crab sales, according to NPD SupplyTrack data given at the recent NFI Global Seafood Market Conference.
Within this area, the mid-Atlantic favors crabmeat while the south Atlantic favors inshell crab like snow crab.
So Foodservice operators from Pennsylvania to North Carolina are the backbone of the crabmeat industry, representing between 40% and 50% of the volume.
Already the crabmeat market has been correcting from high prices. The latest Urner Barry quotations show a weakening trend on blue swimming crab meat since last fall, and recently red swimming crab meat has begun to weaken as well.
For jumbo lump, prices have come down $1.50 since the beginning of December, and the spread between blue swimming crab and red Chinese swimming crab has fallen from a high of $9 over the summer to below $4.00 today.
Now some sellers are reporting that the government shut down has decimated sales in the Washington DC metro area, and in the Mid-Atlantic areas with high government employment, even though this is the off season and not a time when a lot of crab is sold.
You can drive into Washington DC and find a parking spot on the street at any time of the day or night.
So what’s happening to the crab meat that would have been sold this month? It is still sitting in cold storage, and the longer the shutdown goes on, the larger the potential impact is for later in the spring.
Restaurant meals cannot be made up with back pay. If you missed three trips to a restaurant in January due to uncertainty about the shut down, you are not going to make those visits up in February or March.
This is a small example of how the shutdown is hitting the overall US economy, and why even when things get settled, the damage is likely to be felt for a long time.
Photo: The Food Group, Creative Commons License
Another Sand Point Fisherman is Chomped On By a Sea Lion
© 2019 Anchorage Daily News
The third such bite in two years prompted a police warning in the Aleutian Islands town.
A sea lion lunged from the Sand Point harbor and bit a fisherman’s leg in the Aleutian Islands fishing town that’s now experienced three injurious run-ins with the massive marine mammals in two years.
The attack happened around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The sea lion came out of the water on the back of the fishing boat Celtic and bit a male fisherman on the right thigh,” said Sand Point police officer David Anderson.
Other crew members took the man to the clinic, where he was treated and released, Anderson said.
All three attacks in Sand Point have involved fishermen bitten on the leg by a Steller sea lion.
A similar incident happened last fall, the officer said, when a sea lion bit someone on a fishing boat. A third fisherman was bitten in the harbor in January 2017.
The city’s Department of Public Safety on Monday morning posted a warning on Facebook: “Please be careful walking around the docks in the harbor. We had another reported sea lion bite.”
Later that day, more details emerged when the city shared information from someone who apparently interviewed the boat’s captain: With the Celtic tied up in the harbor, the crewman was helping pull a pollock net off a drum when the sea lion lunged up the stern ramp and bit him. Then it tried to drag him into the water.
The crewman, who stayed on the boat as the animal yanked on him, spent six hours at the clinic getting stitched up.
The crewman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
A shared Facebook post includes a gory photo of several gaping wounds in the man’s thigh.
The fisherman injured by a sea lion last fall had similar-looking injuries, Anderson said.
The prior attack, in January 2017, also involved a fisherman bitten in the calf while he worked on a boat. He reported the animal tried to drag him in the water, too. Doctors in Anchorage told him the gaping wound looked like a bear bite.
It’s unclear whether the same animal was behind any of the attacks.
Nearly 600 miles from Anchorage, Sand Point is on the northwest portion of treeless Popof Island, part of the Shumagin Island group south of the Alaska Peninsula. It’s home to about 1,000 people.
Sea lions, carnivorous marine mammals that prey on salmon and other fish, live throughout Alaska. Steller sea lions in the southwestern part of the state, especially along the Aleutian Islands, are protected as endangered.
An adult female weighs about 550 pounds while males can weigh 1,200 pounds or far more.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is charged with protecting sea lions under the Endangered Species Act.
For years in coastal communities, sea lions' habit of munching lucrative fish -- not to mention spooked humans -- has set up a conflict between people wanting to eradicate aggressive animals and federal protections that govern their management.
A Cordova fishing boat captain and deckhand were convicted of killing sea lions after 15 dead Steller sea lions were found at the mouth of the Copper River at the start of the 2015 salmon fishing season.
Run-ins with aggressive sea lions generate one or two reports a year, NOAA officials have said. The agency began tracking such incidents in 2017.
No one was available to provide updated statistics this week due to the partial federal government shutdown.
Kathy Adams, who manages a Sand Point bed-and-breakfast, said she tells her husband to take a gun with him when he fishes commercially for salmon from their unprotected skiff.
“It’s scary,” Adams said.
Copyright 2019 The Eagle
By Adam Russell
January 24, 2019
Consumer trends continue to drive an industry change from traditional aquaculture species like catfish to higher value species including redfish and hybrid striped bass, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Redfish are trending upward in price and consumer demand along with other alternative species like hybrid striped bass compared to traditional aquaculture species like catfish. Dr. Todd Sink, AgriLife Extension aquaculture and fisheries specialist, College Station, said catfish, a longtime staple for Texas fish production, has experienced a recent decline in pricing and popularity, causing producers to look at other options. Catfish prices were around 93 cents per pound compared to the high of $1.35 per pound two years ago. As a result, discerning U.S.
Consumers are buying less catfish as household wealth and expendable income increase and because other options in the market are perceived as higher quality. Those include salmon, redfish and hybrid striped bass, which are a cross between white and striped bass, he said. Sink said poor prices and consumer trends have some catfish producers switching at least a portion of production to other species like redfish and hybrid striped bass, which bring higher prices - $3-$3.30 per pound and $3.30-$3.60 per pound respectively - and are experiencing increased demand.
"It's fairly clear that consumer tastes are changing from what is perceived as lower-quality fish to higher-end, higher-value fish," he said. "The cyclical movement on catfish has been downward for a while, so you have a lot of producers looking to diversify with other options that are trending upward in both price and consumer demand."
Redfish and hybrid striped bass can handle a range of salinity levels. Bass prefer fresh water to 10 parts per thousand salinity, while redfish are typically produced at five parts per thousand to full-strength seawater.Redfish growth rate stalls when waters are 50 degrees or below, and freezing waters can cause die-offs without proper management, which limits production to warmer climates, Sink said. Hybrid striped bass are more tolerant of cool waters and are grown throughout the U.S., although their growth rate can also decrease drastically below 50 degrees.
Catfish production densities in Texas are around 12,000 pounds of fish per acre compared to 6,500 pounds of hybrid striped bass per acre and up to 8,000 pounds of redfish per acre, Sink said. Texas is the No. 1 producer of redfish and hybrid striped bass, including around 98 percent of the nation's redfish production and more than half of hybrid striped bass, Sink said. Established producers continue to expand their capacity to meet demand. It's difficult to ascertain redfish and hybrid striped bass production levels because U.S. Department of Agriculture census reports are infrequent, but Sink estimates Texas produces up to 2.7 million pounds of bass and 2.3 million pounds of redfish annually based on their 2013 report and farm expansions since that time.Hybrid striped bass being harvested at a commercial aquaculture operation in Texas.
By comparison, Texas ranks No. 4 in U.S. catfish production with 18.9 million pounds per year.Several farms are expanding redfish production across Texas with one currently adding 200 acres of production capacity to its operation, which represents a 30 percent increase in overall production, Sink said. Hybrid striped bass production has been expanding at a 3-5 percent rate annually in Texas and southeastern states.
"We don't expect to see any slowdown in the expansion of both the market and production to meet that market demand over the next five to 10 years," Sink said. "They're expanding as they can to supply consumers in a market that is just starting to take off." Sink said 90 percent of Texas' hybrid striped bass production serves demand from high-end restaurants on East and West coasts, while nearly all of the state's redfish production serves restaurants in large cities such as New Orleans and Houston."
Producers are getting a premium price for their product, many farms are looking to expand, and some restaurants are operating their own farms just to ensure they can supply their consumer demand," he said. "Right now they are serving niche markets, so there is room and reason to expand.