Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thur. August 13, 09 -- NE stir, Holgate Non-update; Off the wires

Thursday, August 13, 2009: Waves: Building north swell to 3 feet; NE winds pushing those waves. Water clarity : Very good. Water temps: Into upper 70s.

This stir could excite some bassing action. I base that on even more reports of nice stripers nearshore. “Jay, Got my biggest bass of the year while jigging for bluefish. It was 36.5 inches and as fat as I’ve ever seen a bass. It had spearing in its belly. Have you ever seen stripes like this fish had? What about the sore on the belly?”

(I haven’t seen stripes exactly like your fish’s but those famed broken stripes have long puzzled anglers – at least those who give a rat’s ass one way or the other. There are all these theories on them, none of which I can recall right now. It’s just one of those genetic things. As for that sore, that is positively a post hookup injury, most likely a line cut. The length, look and shape of it are proof. Enjoy your filets. J-mann,)

Holgate Update: The update on Holgate is there is no update. I’ve gotten a record number of emails asking how the far south end is doing and when will it reopen. The reopen part is fairly simple: It reopens on or about September 1. I’ll have the exact day and proximate hour in the near future. Regarding partial openings or an extended closure of the clamming flats, that’s literally done on the last days prior to opening, when refuge officials and volunteers begin taking down or relocating sign-age.
As for the condition of the beachfront, Stu D. said it looks pretty much the same as it looked when it was closed back in April. Of course, Stu has only been able to look southward from the parking lot. Still, that first one/third that can be seen is vitally important. It’s always a good thing if that zone seems buggy-able. The instant I get info, it’ll go in here.

Walt P, caught a Spanish mackerel near Barnegat Inlet. They’re rare but this could be one of those years we see them. I held that state record for a short time with a Spanish mack I caught while throwing plug in sloppy surf conditions in Holgate. Somewhat oddly, I did not like its flavor. Many folks feel Spanish macks are to die for, dining-wise.

I had a picture sent of a thought-to-be sheepshead. Close but no sheepshead cigar. It was a small (similarly shaped and striped) black drum.

Anyone else picking up large American eels? Have a few stories of them being caught by fluke fishermen. It is about time for them to begin moving out to the Saragossa Sea, to spawn and die right afterwards. I guess world record eels are simply celibate.

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA - Fishermen and scientists often don't see eye to eye, especially when the science is likely to lead to more regulation of commercial and sport fishing. But many people who catch bluefin tuna off the North Shore like the work Molly Lutcavage is doing at the University of New Hampshire Large Pelagics Research Lab. Next weekend they're spooling off some line to help her via the second Tag A Tiny Tuna Tournament.

'She's always been an honest researcher,'' said tournament organizer and fisherman Mark Godfried of Gloucester. 'Her conclusions are not preordained by the people funding her.''

This year's tournament is a North Shore/South Shore shootout, beginning with captain's meetings Thursday, Aug. 20, in Middleton and Duxbury, said organizer Heidi Burgess of Manchester-by-the-Sea. Fishing begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and continues for 48 hours. Then there's a big party Sunday afternoon at Woodman's in Essex, with a cash bar, band, and raffle. But the issues at hand are serious.

Last year, 52 boats participated, and they're hoping for more this year. The $200 entry fee and some sponsor money will go to support Lutcavage's research into tuna life cycles at the New Hampshire research center. Organizers hope to again pay for a few $4,000 satellite tags that collect detailed data on tuna movement and then break free after a set time, rising to the surface and sending in data via satellite.

The anglers also become a part of Lutcavage's research team. Fish caught over the minimum of 73 inches during the tournament are kept. But 'tinys'' - fish under 73 inches - are tagged for Lutcavage before they're released, using simple plastic tags. The date, time, and location of the tagging are recorded. Fishermen who haul in the tagged fish later will find directions on the tag for sending the information to the researchers. In last year's tournament, several dozen fish were tagged this way.

The tournament idea originally came up as a way to promote Rock On Products, the company Burgess runs with her father, Richard, which makes lures called squid rigs. But they decided it needed to have a larger purpose, and now Rock On is just one of several sponsors.

Godfried said many in the fishing community feel besieged by regulations limiting the times and methods they can fish and what they can catch - and also feel that environmentalists' agendas dictate the results of studies.

With tuna, in particular, they say they are being punished for unsustainable fishing practices by the fishing industry in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

They hope Lutcavage's studies of tuna migration patterns will establish that plunder of the fishing stock over there is the real problem and help bring the European Union in line.

For now, though, there's a possibility of broad new bans on commercial tuna fishing in this area.

Lutcavage is reluctant to be seen as some kind of outsider,

But when asked why the fishermen trust her, she said: 'My goal is not to save the tuna. My goal is to have the best available scientific information on the bluefin.''

Meanwhile, the last major federal grant for the Large Pelagics Research Lab came in 2006, and her budget is running on fumes, she said.

'At UNH, we are facing extinction this year,'' she said. 'So you can imagine, it's a very challenging time for us on all levels.''

To enter, donate to, or sponsor the Tag A Tiny Tuna Tournament, e-mail tagatiny@gmail.com.


Aug 13, 2009 - Researchers led by Dr. Charles R. Santerre, Professor of Food Toxicology at Purdue, have introduced a new wallet card and website based at Purdue University to help pregnant women and other at risk populations eat more seafood.

Dr. Santerre has written extensively on the health benefits and risks of seafood, and has pointed out that for by far the majority of seafood items, the health benefits for pregnant and nursing mothers far outweigh any risks. Accordingly, he has been critical of nutritional advice that scares people away from eating fish.

The website, at www.fish4health.net, provides links to each of the 50 state's health advisories on consumption of local recreational caught fish, and also has extensive information about the health benefits of eating fish.

There is also a wallet card, of which nearly half a million copies have been distributed, and an iphone application.

Santerre says 'Information available on this website will help women to make informed decisions about the commercial and recreationally-caught fish that they eat. The website will help women select fish that are higher in healthy fats and lower in environmental pollutants, like mercury and PCBs. Now that our information is portable and mobile, women will be able to carry the wallet card or access it through a mobile phone when they are purchasing fish in the grocery store or ordering in a restaurant.'

The first version of the wallet card was distributed to 330,000 people and our goal is to exceed 1 million for the new card. Partners in CA, TX, RI, FL, MA, IL, IN are already distributing the cards to childbearing-aged women.

To provide additional support for the wallet card, the group has also made numerous improvements/additions to our website which is now registered as www.fish4health.net.

This is an excellent source of balanced information about fish consumption which can be used by seafood dealers and distributors to help educate their customers.


Copyright 2009 Gannett Company, Inc.] By Doyle Rice- August 13, 2009 - What happens if there's no more 'shell' in shellfish?

A new documentary on Discovery's Planet Green network, Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification (premiering tonight, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, and repeating throughout the month), explores this and other questions related to ocean acidification, a little-known but potentially disastrous consequence of global warming.

Known by some scientists as 'the other carbon problem,' the increased amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (caused by the burning of fossil fuels) also have been absorbed into the world's oceans during the past 200 years, the documentary says. The oceans cover 70% of the planet's surface.

The additional carbon not only warms the oceans, but it's also radically transforming their chemistry, says Lisa Suatoni of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which produced the film. As the carbon reacts with the seawater, it's rapidly making the water more acidic.

How rapidly? 'Ocean acidity has increased by 30% since the Industrial Revolution,' Suatoni says. She says oceanic carbon dioxide may double again by the end of the century.

'This may challenge life on a scale that hasn't happened for tens of millions of years,' narrator Sigourney Weaver says in the film.

The increased acidity corrodes seashells, and thousands of species build shells around them to live. 'It removes the building block for producing shells,' says Steve Palumbi of Stanford University. 'A lot of organisms may not be able to survive.'

But is the fear of ocean acidification overblown? Perhaps, say the authors of a study published in May in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors of the study, led by Rebecca Gooding of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, dispute the belief that ocean acidification harms all marine life forms and urged that caution should be taken when examining 'overgeneralized predictions.'

In addition to a battery of top ocean acidification scientists, including leading expert Ken Caldiera of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Acid Test infuses some regular-guy perspective from commercial fisherman Bruce Steele. He warns that ocean acidity puts many prime shellfish species at risk -- such as oysters, lobsters and Dungeness crabs -- all of which he and his fellow shellfishermen depend on for their livelihood.

'Either we change what we're doing on land or it will have profound effects on fisheries as we know it,' he says.

The film also touches on the threats to the world's coral reefs, which can be damaged by ocean acidification as well as rising water temperatures.


Delaware's newest artificial reef - the Del-Jersey-Land reef, named for the two states nearest the watery site - today received its first deployment of retired New York City subway cars to enhance fisheries habitat.

Forty-four stainless steel subway cars by way of New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and barged down the coast were deployed over the reef site, 26 miles southeast of Indian River Inlet.

The subway cars were sunk to expand reef capacity that bolsters fisheries habitat, in turn increasing fishing and diving opportunities for the thousands of recreational anglers and divers who visit Delaware's network of artificial reefs each year. 'These cars will provide protection for reef fish like black sea bass and hard substrate for the attachment of a diverse invertebrate community, providing enhanced feeding opportunities for fish,' said Jeffrey Tinsman, reef program manager with DNREC's Fisheries Section.

This is the fourth sinking of retired NYC subway cars in recent months, with 44 cars also sunk in March and again in April, and 39 cars going down in June. According to Tinsman, the latest complement of 44 cars sunk over Del-Jersey-Land is another deployment that 'keeps all cars on one level in order to test whether this affects durability of the cars.'

Many earlier sinkings at artificial reefs along the East Coast were made with one subway car piled atop another on bottom, for a two-tiered reef habitat. 'This being the first deployment of cars on the Del-Jersey-Land site, it will assess the cars' durability in depths in excess of 120 feet,' Tinsman said.

The latest sinking brings the number of subway cars comprising artificial reefs in Delaware waters to 1,041 since the reef project began in 2001.

The great majority of the cars make up the state's most popular artificial reef, the Redbird Reef (the name a variation of the nickname for the subway cars deployed onto the reef). With a total surface area of the cars at more than 2.5 million square feet, Redbird Reef supports a marine life community up to 400 times richer than the natural bottom. Subway cars make ideal reef material, because voids and cavities in the cars' structure provide the perfect sanctuary for reef fish.

Today's operation was carried out by the marine transportation division of Weeks Marine, Inc., a worldwide towing and barge operator contracted by the MTA/New York City Transit, which also completed the car cleanup to remove all greases and buoyant materials that might be harmful to the marine environment. The operation was funded by MTA New York City Transit. DNREC's role was to oversee the placement of the subway cars at the reef

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio, A woman in Ohio is telling a fish story about one that got away - from a bird, and damaged her car.

Authorities in northwest Ohio say the fish - a Lake Erie freshwater drum, known as a sheepshead - smashed a car windshield Tuesday when an eagle dropped its catch from a height of about 40 feet.

Leighann Niles says the impact felt like a brick hitting her Toyota's windshield. The woman from the Cleveland suburb of South Euclid was vacationing along the lake in Marblehead.

Niles says she had thought herself lucky to escape damage in another animal encounter shortly before the fishy one. She says a truck hit a small bird, which struck her back passenger door and startled her 5-year-old daughter.

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