Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, May 09, 2020: Much of my time is spent in the office or in the woods; COVID gab ... reading material galore


I snapped these pics late today (5/9/20 -- Dock Road, West Creek) and realized the timeliness with it being Mother's Day weekend and all.

Saturday, May 09, 2020: Much of my time is spent in the office or in the woods. I’m tempted to write about some of my metal detecting finds in here, though things have been slow even on the treasure finding front.

COVID TIDBIT: While you can surf fish LBI’s beachfront, you cannot do so from a chair. I should be thankful over being allowed to tred the sands again but the notion of no chairs – with so many older anglers – is just plain freaky-weird.  Not to be dismal – which is not my thing by any stretch – but I’ll bet my mask things will get even weirder before they simply settle into what I’ll call the new abnormal.

Angling-wise: I’m told of some very fine bayside bassing. It had slowed, but is picking up, per north bay reports. As to bayside parks and piers, I suggest checking with towns to see what they say about the likes of after-dark fishing.

Without even hinting at locales, I know of some fair-ish catch-and-release night weakfishing. “Slow but fun … with bass mixed in” was a double-secret report – which wouldn’t offer a shred of where-at-ness.

With all LBI beaches open to fishing – though remaining light on takers – I’m seeing reports of scattered striper being on the take to those who let bait fly.

I see by the lack of nighttime bunker in the bay that bluefish are back, though I see no corresponding heavy hooking – at least in numbers of yellow eyes we’re hoping for. The few photos I’ve seen of LBI slammers look like decent-sized fish. Again, not enough being caught to get a good read on the overall spring showing. I’ll check the BLSP South Jetty to see of anything is showing there. Last I heard the parking lot is still closed. That makes for a long walk in for older folks who frequent that jetty.

It’s hard to say what this nasty-ass cold snap will do to the fishing – low tonight dropping into 30s with below freezing in the Pines. My cranberry growing buddies have to be somewhat concerned.

Even with bay water temps plummeting, that will have little impact on bayside stripers or even blues, though the crash in bay shallow water temps will force early-arriving fluke out of the bay and back into the inlets. I fully realize  flatties are off the hooking menu, but it’s fun to keep tabs on them, which I’m doing through a goodly number of bycatch pics of fluke to well over 20 inches.

I know it’s best not to remove fluke from the water when unhooking, however, if the survival of the fish is enhanced by getting a safe unhooking by bringing a fish onboard logic dictates that’s the better bet.

TRYING COVID TIMES: I’m compelled to keep up on COVID, even in the face of a growing hostility that it is gearing up to be semi-ruinous for our beloved summertime. I’ll go typically weird by modfing the famed lyrics to: Summertime and the livin’ is queasy.

Fortunately, there is still some time to allow for a safe emergence from COVID hibernation, allowing us to greet the summer sun with some highly-modified gusto. That hoped for, perish the thought that all will suddenly wax normal, like the wax now being applied to surfboards before waverider legally go out to catch some waves. Of course, those surfers better have on leashes since the county has deemed “swimming” in the ocean as a non-no – punishable by … hell, I don’t know what the punishment for criminal swimming is but best to not find out the wet way.

As to visiting LBI – and I’m proud to say that a goodly number of my readers are off-Islanders – I’m surely not discouraging it – while openly warning to come down, uh, gingerly. Prepare to be let-down by the number of barely-open businesses, closed amenities and a lingering tendency for locals to be edgy. In other words, I highly discourage coming down with something akin to a point to prove, regarding the way the COVID operations are being run statewide. Put simply: Come down to enjoy the quiet pleasures of sky, sand and scenery. I’ll even get a bit more pragmatic by suggesting keeping a low profile. Hey, I swear to you I’ve been doing that myself lately -- after having been bound to LBI for near 60 years. Things are that iffy hereabouts.


Check out this article for ID'ing ticks. Great Images. Thanks Bill K.


For instance: American dog tick

8. American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilisBenjamin Smith, via Wikimedia Commons

Lone star tick

7. Lone Star Tick

Lone Star Tick, Amblyomma americanumK-State.edu

Blacklegged tick

10. Deer Tick (aka Blacklegged Tick)

Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis


STOP! Why in bloody hell are you buying hundreds and thousands of dollars’ worth of plants from Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot when there are easily half a dozen or more Mom and Pops along Route 9 and adjacent towns with plants twice as healthy at damn near the same cost!? Initial recovery is as close as the plants you place in your gardens.


Below: Report From ...


Current New Jersey state regulations have caused a suspension of charter boat fishing in New Jersey, but that does not mean the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been sitting home doing nothing. 

Most of the boats of the Association have been outfitted with upgrades and are either in the water or just ready to launch. Captain Ray Lopez reports he just launched the “Miss Liane” this past weekend. 

The captains have been discussing how they plan to conduct social distancing on their boats and maintain strictly clean conditions for the protection of both anglers and crew members. Although current rules call for the captains to only fish alone or with immediate family members, some have been out on the water and catching fish. 

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction Sportfishing” has been out with his young son Luke and wife Jennifer and putting quite a few fish dinners on the table. Captain Brett did very well wreck fishing for blackfish right up until the spring season ended on May 1. Fishing some of his favorite pieces of structure he managed to catch tautog up to 9-pounds. He has also had some action casting to small striped bass. Captain Brett has added a new boat to his fleet, a backwater skiff that will enable him to fish some of the real “skinny” waters. 

Captain Gary Dugan of the “Irish Jig” has had his boat in for a few weeks and managed to also catch some of those delicious blackfish with his wife Tracy. According to the story, she out-fished him. He reports also catching some nice black sea bass on structure which had to be released as they are not yet in season. In addition, Captain Gary tried the Great Bay area for stripers and reports catching and releasing several undersized fish. 

Based on the experiences of these captains, it appears the 2020 fishing season holds unusual promise when the approval to fish becomes official. 

Just exactly when the all clear signal will come from the state, the boats of the BHCFA plan to be ready. Up to date information on the situation can be obtained by contacting any of the individual captains. Their contact information can be found at the Association’s website www.BHCFA.net


Surf City Bait and Tackle

Melissa’s first striper!
Caught off the surf today on bunker chunk.

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SPOOKY SATURDAY MAY 2, 2020: I need to bring up the shocking beach incident that took place midday Saturday in Ship Bottom, when two female teens were run over by a beach patrol truck driven by a borough lifeguard. Yes, it presented as awful as it sounds, though it miraculously had a relatively happy ending, all thing considered. The two girls not only survived, but were speedily released from Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where they had been individually Medivaced by two choppers.

I was near-scene shortly after the accident, keeping a goodly street-end distance away. While there, I talked with three eyewitnesses who said the guard had stopped to chat with them for a while, before resuming his patrol duties, driving southward – and over the nearby sunning teens.

How could that happen!?

Based purely on my knowledge of beach driving in a truck, there is a blind spot immediately in front of a stopped truck. Without being an exact match, it’s like the blocked-view syndrome faced by school bus or ice cream truck drivers. In the case of the beach patrol truck, the unthinkably awful occurred.

Feeling godawful about what the girls must have gone through – can you imagine the sensation?! – I also feel compelled to show some compassion for the lifeguard. This horrific event was the definition of an accident. Did he forgot about the girls up ahead when he stopped to talk with beach patrons, or had he not seen them all along? More details could come out during the ongoing investigation, if not in the court case. The guard has initially been charged with reckless driving, which usually entails a trip before a judge.

As to the guard’s post-accident actions, he immediately ran back and began to comfort the victims, then continued to help the arriving first-responders administer aid. He further assisted by stretchering one of the girls across the beach to an awaiting ambulance.

The overall emergency response was a masterpiece of team precision. The arrival and actions of the first responders were swift … and textbook. Those who were tending to the girls, as they lay on the beach, could be seen verbally offering reassurances while carrying out stabilization procedures. Since both girls were conscious, there was seemingly personal interaction going on between them and first aid personnel. I have oft preached that few places anywhere can offer such a lifesaving emergency response capability as hereabouts. Proof apparent that day.

Now, to the full astonishing angles of the accident. They began immediately after the girls were run over, when, according to one eyewitness, “both girls just popped right up.” Bystanders and the guard got the two to lie back down, as emergency calls were made.

The aftermath question is being widely asked – with boggled minds, “How can anyone get run over by a truck and suffer no egregious bodily damage!?” To paraphrase a famous scientist, I’m not saying it was a miracle … but it was definitely a miracle.

Many of us oldsters have learned never to rule out miracles. The more spiritual of us might even think in terms of truck-lifting angels. Hey, there are unquestionably some mighty beefed-up angels out there, former weightlifters. Be it lucky stars or the heavens above, the victims were “released to their families” only a few hours after being flown to the hospital.

Now, for the sake of stodgy science, it should be noted there might have been some physics factors working as miracle assists that day. Leading the way was the softness of the sand beneath the girls. They were lying toward the water, on a recently formed berm – just about the softest and sinkiest our sands can get. I realize that’s a stretch, both figuratively and literally.

Another tragedy-preventive angle might be a psi thing. To drive the beach, all four tires on the truck were heavily deflated, down to maybe 18 psi. That creates a weight-dispersing flattening effect beneath each tire, spreading the vehicle’s weight.

Or maybe the angle of the … Oh, hell, just face the facts: It was a miracle!




Jim Hutchinson Jr.
Finished up our weekly reports last night at The Fisherman, and tracking information today from the state regarding the opening of NJ State Parks & Forests (click the See More link below to see what parks were "overrun" on Saturday). Will try to continually monitor & share here so friends know where we stand. Make sure you're signed up for our free eNewsletter updates emailed every Monday and Thursday as well!

Mike Laptew
I was dumbfounded to see over 200 cormorants perched and diving for fish in Brickyard Pond. I don't know why the state even bothers to stock it with trout when they are only feeding these nuisance birds. I wasn't surprised to read an article sighting the miserable trout fishing there. These birds need to be controlled all over New England.
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5/1/20 Just when you think you've seen every fungus in the forest ... something like this jumps out at ya. This colorful tree circle -- found deep in the Pinelands of Burlington County -- was about two inches wide ... and only on this one chosen tree. Maybe it's betrothed.

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