Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, January 05, 2012:
I’m no fan of the cold but I’ve still been deep in the outback during this entire short-lived kinda-frigid spell. I’ve been treasure hunting (metal detectoring), digging old dumps sites and trying a bit of tracking. Despite the relative warmth for the past couple months, I’ve been hard pressed to find much wildlife activity. I have no idea why. And, no, it’s not because the coyote are eating everything. There is also a low showing of those canine prints. Skunks are one of the more common sightings.
The oddest wildlife thing happened last night, about 8 p.m., as I was coming back from an auction near Buddtown. Almost directly across the highway from the Coyle Field, Rte. 72, my truck’s high beams lit the eyes of something up a telephone pole, almost up to the lower wires. Then I saw a matching pair of eyes near the base of the same poles
For whatever reason, a huge winterized (mega-fat) raccoon had scaled the utility pole, while another was down below on the ground.
I’d like to think it was simply a case of “I dare ya to climb that thing, Marvin,” but it was more likely a fierce territorial combat thing.
Whichever, the earthbound coon waddle off into the underbrush as my truck got nearer. The hung-out-to-dry pole hugger – and that was just what it was doing -- could only look toward me in a full-blown “Oh, s***!” mode, as I slowed down.
Afraid the never-nimble coon might try something stupid, like seeing if it could fly to escape, I kept going.
I have no fishing reports, per se. I did get some fresh striper filets taken dropped off (anonymously), most likely taken from a boat off the north end of LBI. Was likely a 30-inch fish.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday Season with family and friends. With reports of stripers and even a few blues still to the North and only a quick visit from an Arctic blast mid week and than our local weather quickly moderating, we will be ready to greet the 2012 fishing season as early as Jan. 5th with an open boat with only 2 spots left. We will be targeting stripers and or blackfish. I look forward to starting our 2012 and beat the after holidays blues! With temperatures continuing a modest mid to upper forties temperature range the stripers may remain in our home waters for a while!
Dress warm and come join us in welcoming the 2012 Reel Faantasea Fishing season! Wishing everyone fair winds and calm seas,
~ Capt. Steve Purul, Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters 609.290.1217
[Baltimore Sun] By Candus Thomson - January 5, 2012 -
OFF KENT ISLAND, Officers have returned to the scene of the crime, where last year they pulled up miles of illegal nets filled with 12.6 tons of striped bass from the frigid waters off Kent Island.
This year they are armed with new weapons: side-scan sonar to detect underwater nets, new laws passed by the General Assembly that expand their authority and public sentiment that has demanded a halt to poaching of the state's signature fish.
"It was just a few bad apples, but they almost ruined it for everyone," said Natural Resources Police Cpl. Roy Rafter as he prepared to board a waterman's boat Wednesday near a spot known as Bloody Point.
The commercial season began Tuesday and will continue through February. Last year, the Department of Natural Resources closed the season three weeks early while biologists assessed the potential damage caused by poaching.
The threat of closing still hangs in the air.
"If we find more nets, the possibility of closing the fishery is very real," said Tom O'Connell, the DNR's Fisheries Service director. "The General Assembly will be watching this season very closely and will not stand by and let it happen again."
No one was arrested last year, and just the thought of poachers striking once more has made honest watermen nervous.
It's not that illegal nets were new last year. In 2010, for example, officers hauled in nearly five miles of nets.
"The difference is we never found nets that full of fish," Rafter said. "Somebody knew what they were doing. It was our first time finding nets like that, but it wasn't their first time putting them there."
On Wednesday morning, Rafter and Officer James Seward nosed their patrol boat, NRP 139, away from the department's dock on Kent Island and pushed through a layer of slush before reaching the Chesapeake Bay.
Sub-freezing temperatures did not deter watermen hoping to reach their daily 1,200-pound quota. Low-slung workboats bobbed in the water as crewmen strained to haul in their nets and sort fish.
The two officers began their rounds, boarding boats to check documents and ensure that nets carried the watermen's license number and were of legal size. They inspected the catch, looking for over- or undersized fish.
This season, a new tool — Pocket Cop — has been added to their arsenal. The smartphone application allows officers to look for outstanding warrants, check a waterman's license and make sure the tags that must be attached to each fish before it is sold were issued to the waterman using them.
As they motored to the next boat, the officers looked at the sonar screen for signs of a thin white line announcing the presence of an illegally submerged net anchored to the bay bottom.
Sonar is replacing a decidedly low-tech tool: the grappling hook. Officers used to pull the hook behind their boats, hoping to snag an illegal net. The work was likened to looking for a needle in a haystack.
"The sonar shows us where to look," Rafter said. "Then we can use the hook to pull the nets up. It would have been fantastic last year."
By June 1, the DNR hopes to institute a system called "Hail In/Hail Out," requiring watermen to call the agency before leaving the dock if they want to check in their catches at the end of the day.
In addition, officers and fisheries biologists have been authorized to conduct surprise audits of the check stations, O'Connell said.
The discovery of illegal nets generated headlines along the East Coast and raised questions among regional fisheries managers about Maryland's ability to manage striped bass, also known as rockfish.
A bluefin tuna has been sold for three quarters of a million dollars in Tokyo - a price almost double last year's record sale.
The bluefin tuna, prized for making the finest sushi, fetched 56.49m yen ($736,000, £472,125) at Tsukiji fish market's first auction of the year.
The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of a sushi restaurant chain.
Globally, there is great concern over the species and fishing quotas.
The 269kg (593lb) tuna also set a record for price by weight, market official Yutaka Hasegawa said. The total price translates to 210,000 yen ($2,737, -1,755) per kilogram.
The tuna was caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture, north of the coast that was struck by the devastating tsunami last year.
Mr Kimura's bid, he told reporters, was an effort to ''liven up Japan'' and help it on the road to recovery.
He also wanted to keep the fish in Japan "rather than let it get taken overseas", he said on television.
Last year, a 342kg bluefin tuna caught off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido fetched 32.49m yen, or nearly $400,000 (257,320), setting a record then.
The winning bid was a joint effort by a Hong Kong-based sushi chain and an upscale Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.
The first auction in January at the famous fish market in Tokyo is an important part of Japan's New Year celebrations, and record prices are often set.
Japan is the world's biggest consumer of seafood, eating about 80% of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught.
However, restrictions on catches have been tightened in recent years because of concerns about overfishing.