When I get bored with vacation ... primordial barnacles?
Taking a whole new angle on OCD ...
Sunday, December 29, 2019: It’s that time when New Year’s Resolutions get strewn about like confetti … to equally short-lived ends. If you’re a bit more serious about making changes, maybe even amends, for 2020, forget thinking in resolution terms. Take it up a notch by resolving to do something – or resolving to stop doing something. Breaking a resolve is a lot closer to breaking a promise to yourself, even a solemn vow. Some resolves have life and death written all over them, none more so than stopping the likes of smoking, over drinking, self-medication, and, in my case, my stinkin’ cussin’. Good luck … and keep your resolve. To add some punctuation to a resolve, let others know what it is. That adds some resolution to keeping a resolve.
Virtually nothing of traumatic import has happened over this holiday break for The SandPaper. That is great news. I kid you not. No bad news is always good news. The SandPaper favors reporting on upbeat people/things/happenings more than dim and disturbing things. Not that we shirk on our duty to bring forth news of all varieties; the veritable good, bad and highly unattractive. And we covered some mighty contentious issues in 2019, a goodly number of which have carried over into 2020, i.e. one school or two ... or none? At the same time, last year saw loads of write-ups with an easier, more relaxed feel. Those fun subjects are sure/shore to keep coming, with the help of folks offering ideas. I’m available to discuss story ideas, along with newsier items.
In the fishing and nature realm, new regulations loom large for the new year. They’ll be coming hard and heavy, having begun already with big cuts in bluefish takes. (Below: I’ve again included “the Council and Commission Recommend Recreational Bluefish Management Measures for 2020.”
Obviously, we all anxiously await the final word of stripers. I’m told the state’s take should come in February, though we must stay within strict parameters already established by fishery management. Fluke will likely remain close to the current set-up, though there could be some tweaks, which usually favor boat fluking.
On that boat angle, my blogs and columns try to be the voice of surfcasters and bank fishermen, some might call us the little guys. The genre includes once-in-blue-moon anglers who grab some bait, dad’s old rod and reel and head out to give saltwater fishing a go, often during a vacation.
Closer to local proclivities, the surfcasting realm shines for those of a plugging penchant, which now includes bank-based jig tossing. Back when I wrote for Fishermen Magazine, I did a piece on jigging, mentioning it’s catchiness. I got great feedback, primarily from boat anglers, who most often used the technique. However, jigging soon took on a whole new modern look marked by castable models, like Wildeyes.
In case some of y’all forgot what a striper looks like. Here’s pics sent to me from our customer & friend, Drew from this morning, getting into some action off the surf using artificial. #striperfishing #winterfishing #surffishing #saltlife #fishinglife #fishinglbi #therapeutic #catchandrelease ~Jer
Now, further advances in jighead shapes, along with tails of many shapes and colors, allows jigging to shine in all angling realms. I find baitcasting reels/rods work best when surfcasting jigs.
As to plugging, things have never looked so good. Advancements in material and mass production have led to top-notch brand name artificials. Admittedly, some hefty price increases have accompanied advancements.
The shining star of modern plugging is the flood of custom handmade plugs, which are as much artwork as drop-dead catchers. While artificial materials are so advanced they can confidently swim within nature itself, there’s something about the buoyancy of wooden plugs that offer the most seductive look mankind can cast forth. Yes, hand-turned plugs are often wickedly sharp in price, but they can be a joy forever if carefully fished.
While I choke saying this, the disappearance of my beloved chopper blues has made fishing $50-plus handmade plugs a lot safer. Deep tooth punctures on even the toughest plug surfaces is testimony to the bite-down power of blues.
The gator problem suddenly reduced, there are still those buggyists who drive around, rods in racks – and plugs still tied on! Talk about ruination for plug surfaces. With better plugs often holding better trebles, the windblown scratching directed onto plug surfaces by hooks blowing in the wind is catastrophic, marked by half-moon and even fully circular gouges around the trebles.
As gorgeous handmade plugs become commonplace, there are many of us who feel there’s not a dang thing wrong with simply collecting designer plugs for their display value. That said, every single plug-maker I know cringes upon hearing “I just put your plugs in my display case.” A top local maker explained the amount of time he puts into tweaking and re-tweaking shapes to make them swim perfectly, followed by “What’s the sense if they don’t get used?” Good point, Tom.
Calendar: The Council will meet April 7-9, 2020 in Galloway, NJ. The meeting will be held at the Stockton Seaview, 401 South New York Road, Galloway, NJ 08205; (609) 652-1800. Additional information will be posted on this page as it becomes available.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 9:00 AM; Thursday, April 9, 2020 … 1:00 PM
Stockton Seaview … 401 South New York Road Galloway, NJ, 08205
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Last week, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) approved new recreational fishing regulations for the 2020 Atlantic bluefish fishery from Florida to Maine. These measures, which include a 3-fish bag limit for private anglers and shore-based fishermen and a 5-fish bag limit for for-hire fishermen, represent a substantial reduction compared to the federal 15-fish bag limit that has been in place since 2000. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore), while the Council will forward its recommendation for federal waters (3 – 200 miles from shore) to the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval.
The most recent operational assessment of the Atlantic bluefish stock concluded that the stock is overfished but not experiencing overfishing. During their joint meeting in October, the Council and Commission adopted a recreational harvest limit (RHL) of 9.48 million pounds for 2020 and 2021, which is an 18% decrease compared to the 2019 RHL. Using the current regulations, the recreational sector is projected to land 13.27 million pounds, which will exceed the RHL by 28.56%. Therefore, the Council and Commission met last week to approve new recreational management measures to constrain harvest to the reduced RHL.
The Council and Commission considered several combinations of bag limits and minimum size limits, including options to set a single set of regulations for all fishing modes or different regulations for shore/private modes and the for-hire mode. Although the Council’s Bluefish Monitoring Committee recommended a coastwide 3-fish bag limit, the majority of comments from the public and Bluefish Advisory Panel (AP) members expressed opposition to this option, noting that it would have severe economic consequences for the for-hire sector, which was only responsible for 3.6% of coastwide landings from 2016 to 2018. Additionally, AP members and the public emphasized that these proposed reductions come at a challenging time for for-hire stakeholders as they are also facing new restrictions on striped bass, black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup.
After an extensive discussion and thorough consideration of public comments, the Council recommended and Commission approved a 3-fish bag limit for private and shore modes and a 5-fish bag limit for the for-hire mode. No restrictions were made to minimum fish size or seasons.
"For many years, bluefish has been one of our most abundant recreational fisheries," said Council Chairman and ASMFC Board member Mike Luisi. "The Council and Commission are fully committed to the effective conservation and management of this stock, but we also recognize that a sudden change in regulations could have severe socioeconomic consequences for some stakeholders. After evaluating a wide range of options and considering numerous comments from the public, we feel that this approach is the most fair and effective way to achieve the necessary reduction in harvest next year."
The Council and Commission are continuing to work on development of a rebuilding plan as part of the Bluefish Allocation and Rebuilding Amendment. Additional information and updates on this action are available at http://www.mafmc.org/actions/bluefish-allocation-amendment.
Saturday morning I got up early, dressed quietly, made my lunch, grabbed the dog, slipped quietly into the garage to hook the boat up to the truck, and proceeded to back out into a torrential down pour. The wind was blowing 50 mph.
I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad throughout the day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. There I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, 'The weather out there is terrible.'
My loving wife of 20 years replied, 'Can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that crap?'
I still don't know to this day if she was joking, but I have stopped fishing.
New England Clam Dip
This easy New England clam dip recipe tastes so much better than any pre-packaged version you can pick up at the grocery store.
New England Clam Dip
In this easy New England clam dip recipe, sour cream and cream cheese pair with tender clams, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and onion to form a tasty classic you won’t be able to resist. Why settle for store-bought when homemade tastes this good?
Yield: Makes 2 cupsIngredients
- 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 7-ounce can minced clams
- 1/2 pint (1 cup) sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons onion juice (see Note)
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
Drain the clams, reserving some of the liquid, and mash into the softened cream cheese. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
If a thinner dip is required, use 1 or 2 tablespoons of the reserved clam liquid to thin the mixture. For a thicker dip, omit the sour cream and use 2 packages of cream cheese instead of just one.
Serve with sturdy potato chips.
Onion juice is easily produced by grating an onion, then straining the pulp to free the onion juice.