Thursday, August 27, 2009: Waves: Small. Water clarity: Fair to good. Water temps: Variable; some upwelling with cool patches and warmer patches.
Fishing pressure is very down this week, both boat and surf. This is not to say plenty of folks aren’t out there just a sign that end times (Fort Summer) are drawing near – then the huge push of serious anglers for fall. This is not to say the summer-only folks aren’t as dedicated as they come. It just seems to me that the followers of fall fishing turn it up a notch even above the summer sincerity. Many an autumnal angler lives and breathes fall fishing. They gear up the rest of the year awaiting that time of year.
The fluke reports I rec’d (and heard) were so ditto for the past two months that they barely ruffle the news surface: tons of shorts, ounces of keepers. Even that small burst of better ratios wasn’t holding for half a dozen different boats yesterday. Yes, you’ll read emails and shop reports about great days but you have to realize (as I do in here) that folks tend to report when they had kick-ass days. I honestly believe I have some of the best in-field reporters going because they are surely not opposed to sending in total skunk reports – which are easily as important as the kick-ass ones.
I will note that a doormat (8-pound-plus) was caught, photographed and (when have you ever heard this?) released. “I just looked at that huge fish, knew I had a couple already in the box and just figured it would serve the cause to let it go to make more big fluke,” was how I remember being told. I doubt even I would have been so noble. I don’t think I’ve ever caught a fluke over 5 pounds – though I had one in inches of water (Holgate) that was scary big. I maybe could have jumped on it after it got off the hook right in front of me but just let it slide. I kinda recall the season might have been over anyway – or there were too many people around to jump in the water like a maniac.
The weather picture remains crappy-ish for this weekend, though indications from some computers show more of a cloudiness and wind event than rain. Winds will go from NE to SW on Saturday, making a big difference to fishing -- when winds turn offshore and smooth things out a bit. Sunday could be doable.
I had a couple emails with thoughts on why some bass have broken lines. One said they are “always Hudson stock” but offered little more and the other said it is a sign of long-term exposure to manmade toxins. However, that last one doesn’t match an old publication I read, dating back to the 1930s, talking about that broken line look on “rockfish.” Also, broken line patterns seems to have no connection to a fish being sick or genetically weak, as many of the bass I’ve caught with freaky lines were through-the-ceiling healthy. I must admit, though, I almost always see whacky line on smaller fish. Possibly they become less noticeable as a fish grows larger.
Letter from JCAA to the Prez:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA), a state wide organization representing 75 fishing clubs in New Jersey, was shocked to be informed that Bruce Freeman’s candidacy for the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) failed to gain support of your Administration. Mr. Freeman enjoyed the strong support of the New Jersey congressional delegation. Both Senator Lautenberg and Senator Menendez wrote letters of support for Bruce Freeman addressed to the Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s acting Assistant Administrator Jim Balfiger. In addition, Congressmen Pallone and Adler both also wrote to support him. Governor Corzine recognized the outstanding qualities of Bruce Freeman and forwarded his nomination to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
With the appointment of Christopher Zeman, who does not understand or reflect the views of the recreational sector, New Jersey has missed a great opportunity to fill its obligatory seat on the MAFMC with someone who has a balanced perspective and long historic knowledge of fisheries management. Mr. Zeman also lacks the scientific credentials so crucial in this difficult management climate. Mr. Freeman recently retired from the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, after more than 25 years of service. During most of that time, he represented the division’s director to the MAFMC. He has done an outstanding job working to protect our state and national marine resources. His many years of service have provided him with a sound comprehension of the very complex procedures of the MAFMC. His familiarity with many of the council members is a distinguishing characteristic that would have surely added to his effectiveness while serving on the council. JCAA recommended Mr. Freeman primarily due to his strong scientific background and his ability to apply science in decision making. He is known as an independent thinker who is able to look at various perspectives and make the best decisions based on his knowledge of the complex science issues that are ever present in fisheries management.
Since retiring, Mr. Freeman has volunteered his time on the Executive Board of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association; as the Science Advisor to the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Science; and serves as Chairman of our Science and Research Committee where he continues his involvement in marine fisheries, conservation and fishery management. His past experience on the MAFMC made him an exceptional candidate to once again represent New Jersey. Appointing someone lacking these important credentials shows a serious disregard for the 1.3 million recreational anglers who fish in New Jersey and contribute 1.3 billion dollars to our economy each year. Dr. Lubchenco’s decision on an appointment to the Council from Virginia showed the same lack of understanding and disregard for the recreational fishing community. This is the first time since 1978 that Virginia and New Jersey will not have a recreational representative on the Council. The rest of the recreational fishing community throughout the United States, numbering 45 million and contributing billions of dollars annually to our economy, is expressing grave reservations about these recent appointments. We notice that Dr. Lubchenco did not change the composition of the New England Council and left all the commercial fishermen in place. What lessons are recreational anglers to draw from these events?
In the future, we are hopeful the Administration will be more sensitive to the important role that recreational anglers throughout the country must play in fisheries management. Historically, recreational anglers have been stewards of the ocean and have been front and center in dealing with environmental issues. We were the driving force for many of the laws (including the Magnuson Stevens Act) that helped manage fisheries. And we have supported every environmental cause that deals with the oceans, streams, bays and estuaries. It is an incorrect assumption that recreational anglers cannot or do not represent environmental concerns. We would argue that we were the first and remain the strongest voice for the environment. JCAA has many board members who also serve on the boards of many environmental organizations. We also hope you recognize, and we are sure your years in Hawaii will confirm, that fishing is a family sport. This is how we teach our young people to be stewards of the ocean and protectors of the ocean’s resources.
We hope for a positive reply and look forward to working together. JCAA supports clean energy and your initiatives on climate change. But we need to see evidence that your administration is sensitive to the needs of the 65 million recreational anglers in the United States and their economic value. We will be far more vigilant in securing support for credentialed appointees, such as Bruce Freeman, in the coming years.