Saturday, June 20, 2009: Waves: A residual 3-4 foot east sell (with larger sets). Water temps: Upper 60s. Water clarity: Fair but improving. Some lettuce and eelgrass concerns in the some surf zones.
First a note to mariners that the large swell from yesterday has not dropped all the way down and might pose a significant threat since it might look harmless out there during lulls and then a larger set rolls through near the inlets ( shoals) and things go south real fast. If you’re small crafting it, take note. Once outside the inlet impact zones things should be smooth sailing except for the fact there won’t be much of a drift for the early part of today.
Even reporting on bunker-based bass gets frustrating. Generally, I get reports of a slow pick beneath the baitfish, especially north region (Belmar to Raritan. Then I hear radio chatter and get reports (yesterday) of heated bass hooking off IBSP and some regions near LE Inlet. Fish to 40 pounds – with some fevered action in some choice zones. I have to stick with the potential over the actual, i.e. it is still plenty worth cruising out and finding bunker pods to snag-and-drop upon. Today the bunker should be fully reorganized after the blow. That, of course, bring up that old fear that too much bait will cool the bite. (See, my excerpt on that subject in the weekly column.)
Fluking in inlet and bayside has turned smaller. Where it had been up over last year – even with the larger minimum size – the ratio was not real great yesterday. That could have to do with that batch of near 70-degree water that came in on the east winds. It is definitely worth checking outside inlets – or try to relocate that biomass that had been out at the Ridge then moved toward shore. At sunrise today there are loads of anglers putting in at public boat launches – not enough to cause serious backups but enough to indicate there will be a lot of water tested for flatties. I’ll be radio listening for part of this a.m.
All that rain has impacted the minor bite of small weakfish. The spike sparklers are still there and might be responsive by late this afternoon – or as bycatch for fluke fishermen.
The small bleus are sketchy but the large ones are opening some eyes. Super slammer related to snag-and-drop are running up to 20 pounds. Yep, that big for spring fish. My guess is some of the famed “offshore stock” of bluefish (known to be huge) might be closer in, liking the taste of nearer to shore bunker. By the by, that oft-used “offshore stock” expression does NOT mean offshore, as in big game fishingland. I guess technically it would be the mid-water or middle water range.
Surf stripering seems (is) slow but should show a tad better today as things calm, though remain stirred enough to keep jetties bass-active. It is definitely worth jiggin jetties. Go white or light colored plastics – or try old-fashioned plastic eels.
Some folks might have missed this Joe H. report: Jay,
Fished all over the island Monday. Started in HC after seeing a 46lber that was caught in the area. I found the bunker right away with big fish busting on them. Unfortunately they stayed out of snagging range. Moved up to LL to wait for the fish and they moved up but still stayed offshore. I left for the South Jetty around dark and I tossed some eels and plugs. Very slow for me and every one I talked to. I think there was too much boat traffic, so there wasn't much of a bite. I was talking with my brother who was in BH and not doing much. I moved to the BH/Holgate border around 11pm.
Got my first bunker chunk in the water at midnight. I didn't even have my second rod baited and I turned around to see my conventional about ready to get pulled off the beach. I fought a monster bluefish to the beach and he bit through my 50lb leader as he was getting rolled in the wash. I didn't get my hands on him to weigh him, but I would say over 15lbs+. I didn't get two rods in the water for an hour as I was getting bit off by bluefish left and right.
Sharks were present as well. The fun didn't get started untill I landed a beast of a smooth dogfish. He was over 50" and he was fat. I gotta check the world record because it was probably close. Anyway's, I pulled the shark up to my gear and I spiked my rod and bent down over the shark to start to remove the hook. Well the circle hook was perfectly in the corner of the mouth and it wasn't coming out by hand. I crouched even lower to grab a pair of pliers off my bucket and WHAM....I'm on my ass in the sand. Pain is rushing across my upper right jaw and orbital bone. My right eye is throbbing and full of wet sand. Turns out, I was dealing with a shark that was going to use "Dirty Saturday Night Wrestling Tactics"! As I leaned over, he swung his tail really hard and connected with my face.......perfectly. I was dazed and confused. I usually report that I release my fish unharmed. This guy was lucky I was in a fairly good mood or he would of ended up as Oriental Dogfish Salad. I tossed him back more unhurt then myself. I haven't been hit that hard since I took a Louisville slugger across the forehead in a pre-game baseball brawl when I was a youngster.
I was lucky in two ways, one, it wasn't a spiny dog...that could of been ugly. Two, I'm glad I was alone without any of my fishing buddies present....they would still be laughing.
Anyhow, I did stay and fish a bit longer and caught a 29-30" striper. Then the bite went stone dead as fast as it turned on. I quit just before the torrential rains came in. I'm off to ice my eye and go to bed.
All for now,
RFA To President Obama – Just Say “No” To Catch Shares
New Quota Scheme “Flies In The Face Of The Public Trust Doctrine”
Washington DC – In an official letter dated June 12, 2009, the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) Board of Directors and Executive Director have asked President Obama to maintain traditional recreational fishing access consistent with the public trust doctrine, while also allowing fishing and the rebuilding of coastal fisheries to occur simultaneously. “Although we have seen no formal position from your administration regarding recreational catch shares, we are concerned that the environmental groups are seeking to kill our open access tradition with little thought to impact such actions will have on coastal communities and individual freedoms,” the letter said.
In reaching out to the Obama administration, the RFA is hoping to build continued support throughout the Capitol for the future protection of traditional recreational fishing access. The plea on behalf of the recreational fishing community is in response to recent proposal entered on the record at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council by a Texas-based conservation group, suggesting that recreational fishing should be considered under “a catch shares program” whereby individual recreational fishing quotas are allotted through a bidding process. While directly referencing the proposal by the Houston-based Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), the RFA also points to lobbying groups like Environmental Defense Fund as pressing the Obama Administration for “legislation to require that catch shares be considered in all fishery management plans by 2012.
“Mr. President, there is no place for ‘catch shares’ or ‘individual fishing quotas’ (IFQ) within the recreational fishing sector,” said James Donofrio in signing on behalf of the RFA. “An IFQ or catch share fishery for recreational fishing would collapse our coastal businesses, from the marinas, tackle shops, boat dealers, and for-hire industry, on along to the restaurants, hotels, gas stations and grocery stores which rely on a vibrant tourism boost from recreational fishing activity. Such impacts will not be exclusive to the seaside regions, as the trickle-up effect to wholesalers and manufacturers would also be immediately felt in the heartland.”
While Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPP) are being issued throughout the commercial fishing sector, the RFA points out that proposals to privatize the recreational fishing community would have serious negative impacts on the recreational sector in terms of active participation and overall economics. ”The power of the recreational fishing industry supports over 500,000 jobs, and generates over $38 billion in value-added impacts each year,” RFA’s letter stated, adding “This new scheme for the privatization of our nation’s marine resources would be devastating to our overall economy, and flies in the face of the public trust doctrine which protects the interest and rights of the public to free access of marine and riparian places for fishing and navigation.”
RFA encourages members to download the letter and forward their own copy, respectfully, to President Obama. See full letter at www.joinrfa.org/Press/PresidentObama_061209.pdf.