Sunday, October 06, 2019: It’s no biggy -- and rather expected -- that the 2019 LBI Surf Fishing Classic would begin with nary a weigh-in whimper, though there was a decent showing of casters along the front beaches, south to north. So far 400 fishing folks have jumped aboard. That’s a fair start but we need the full regimen of folks who hold the Island near and dear when it comes to autumnal suds angling
The 70-degree seas remain wild and foamy, riled by days of winds that have been all over the compass, direction-wise. Today’s waves were once again pushing six feet – and up. You’d think we were big surf territory.
We have yet more honking winds about to push in from the north and east, gusting as high as 30 mph at a couple points between now and next weekend’s Kitefest (Saturday) – an event that won’t mind some wind – and the 18-Mile Memorial Run – during which headwinds are ruinous. We’ll also begin to pick up some regular spritzes for the first time in many weeks. While all this will make surfcasting a tad tougher, it is the stuff of fall fishing. Now if only the trophy-size blues and bass would get into the spirit of things. Air temps hanging in the 60s should help in spiritizing weigh-in fish.
Here are some photos of the newly opened public recreation walkway and bulkhead. It’s way bigger than I had first mentioned. I paced it off and the area west of the westbound Big Bridge is almost at least 350 yards – playing as a Par 4. There is also plenty of water worthy of holding fish and crabs. Important (I was asked this): Those areas are NOT permissible fishing zones for the LBI Classic. It’s Stafford. The Classic requires boots down on LBI.
Here's the smaller recreational area east of the Big Bridge:
Plenty of small bluefish in the inlets and along the front beach. Not sure about bayside.
Mullet run is slowing but was stellar overall.
Oddly, bayside peanut bunker have gone missing. I doubt they moved very far; most likely to the backbay, possibly harassed that way by blues.
BUGGY BANTER: Buggyists, don’t mess with Holgate end at high tide. That 8,000-foot cutaway area is in no mood to allow high tide passage. Here’s a look at the blockage point. Fellow sitting there had to wait a long time to get through.
MOTORING TIMES: The traffic signals are being placed on blink tomorrow; what is falsely described as being "Turned Off."
While the blinkin' straightaways look inviting, the 45 mph (40 in some places) are strongly in effect -- as in, heavily PD patrolled. The police sit on east/west side-streets, radar humming and eyes peeled. They likely won’t miss you energetically buzzing along at 55.
More troubling to a slower poke like me is the return of the off-season struggle between left lane lollyaggers and those of us wanting to do the legal left-lane passing thing. It can quickly become ugly and obscene.
I hate how many of those left-lane hogs know full-well what they’re doing. How do I know? I see how fast they move over when a cop comes on scene. In a flash, they’re kindly law-abiding right-laners. That tells me their left-lane obstinacy is a form of aggressive driving. I kid you not. It can be highly aggressive when intentionally going too slow in the left lane, purposely hindering the flow of traffic. That very principal was what led to the state's passing lane laws.
Moving onward, please fully obey school zone slow zones, speaking mainly about the Beach Haven School area. Heading south on the Boulevard, coming out of 45-mph then 40-mph zones, invites staying way above the mandatory 25-mph school zone speeds. Making matters worse, the Boulevard is two lanes fronting the BH School. Leadfoot drivers take the opportunity to zip past traffic properly slowed to 25.
I’m checking on when LBI winter roadwork will begin again. There is still a load of work that needs to be done on the badly work-scarred Boulevard in Surf City and Ship Bottom. There is also some wholesale digging going to take place on 8th and 9th streets in Ship Bottom, as part of the Causeway project, but that might not begin this winter. Again, I’m checking.
SPANNING ABOUT: The NJ DOT is officially done with the Causeway bridges. Great job! I’m serious. Those are some sweet spans, mainly the Big Bridges. Still not sure what to call them. South Big Bridge and North Big Bridge? Less appealing: Big Bridge Eastbound and Big Bridge Westbound.
There is one NJDOT usage tweak regarding the already much-used walkways: You cannot ride bikes on those walkways. You heard right. Bikes must be walked. No surprise to me. Since I began crossing the bridges (early on), it was spooky when bikes came hauling ass past me, especially on the down slopes of the North Big Bridge. Pedestrian strikes seem a eventual given. There is even a remote danger of a collision between bikes and pedestrians that could launch a biker off a bike, over the railing and into the high-speed traffic. Weird accidents like that happen all the time.
On the subject of biking the bridges, it is legal to peddle the shoulders of highway itself, thus the many signs reading “Share The Road.” I did a test run/peddle and although a bit scary when biking the narrower shoulders of the trestle bridges – the Big Bridges have huge shoulders for biking – I made it over and back quite uneventfully. One highly unfunny tribulation came via numbnuts who got off by laying on the horn when passing close by me. I was only a bit riled by the noise assault but I can see how some easily freaked biking folks might respond by going down in a heap, possibly falling into traffic. Sure, that’s dramatic but what was I saying about weird accidents happening all the time. Bingo. Of note, if something hideous were to happen in such a case, the beeper could be charged, big-time. It’s amazing how law enforcement can now track down folks involved in ugly situations. And there are cameras covering all the bridges.
Came across an old fall friend in Holgate.
And this flock of beauties ...
10/6/2019 ... It's always fun to welcome these fine-feathered friends back.
As is typical of early fall fishing in the Beach Haven area, there is a multiple variety of species available to be caught. Recent fishing trips by captains and mates of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association reflected this.
Captain Jimmy Zavacky of the “Reel Determined” had a recent offshore fishing trip to the Wilmington Canyon. Onboard were Patrick Zavacky, Captain Ray Lopez, and Steve Palmer, owner of Jingles Bait and Tackle.
The trip out was smooth and they got into some mahi almost immediately as they trolled until dark. Once on station they began to troll for tuna and ended up with a nice number of mahi. At nightfall they began the drift and boated a nice swordfish right away, which was a keeper and went into the box. In the morning they began trolling once again around the lobster pots catching many mahi as they looked for big eye tuna. During the troll, Captain Ray landed a big wahoo.
Reflecting on the trip, Palmer noted that in all his years of fishing, his father in law had always asked him to bring him home some swordfish steaks. Prior to this fall, he could not fulfill the request. This trip with Captain Jimmy meant he finally had some swordfish to bring home.
Captain Carl Sheppard had 12 members of the Smith family from Maple Shade out on the “Star Fish” to celebrate a birthday. After hooking up over 20 blues in the Beach Haven Inlet and Holgate area, they headed out to do some fun “catch and release” bottom fishing. An hour and a quarter of fishing netted 40 black sea bass up 17-inches, one lost porgy, and a fluke. The party returned to dock in high spirits, planning for their next birthday trip.
Junior mate Max Goldman fished the73rd annual World Series Surf Tournament sponsored by the Long Beach Island Fishing Club. He was fishing as a member of Team Creekside Outfitters who took third place in the event. His team caught over 35 fish, mostly bluefish and fluke with nine-year-old Luke Celeste beaching a black tip shark. Congrats to Max who took first place youth angler overall, in addition to largest fish and most fish caught by a youth angler. Additional information on the BHCFA can be found at www.BHCFA.org.