Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, April 12, 2018: This is a quick stop-by to mention that ... read on.

"Uh, maybe I didn't have to go all that bad."

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This week's "But is it art?" 

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Thursday, April 12, 2018: This is a quick stop-by to mention that some bass have come to light, bayside. I don’t use that word “light” lightly since the fish were taken after dark, near bright light sources. Absolutely cannot say any more than that … under penalty of bad things. I don’t blame the bass-catching anglers for being touchy about their bass since the spot cannot take more than two folks without light-beam battles ensuing. No, the fish were not even close to keepedness, though the casters are strictly C&R regardless of fish size.

This is a decent lead-in to the upcoming weekend, which might offer the first touch of decent warmth -- since seemingly forever. However, the beachfront will be getting winds off the ocean, making it feel frigid. 

I have to think the fishing pressure might be fairly high, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be giving the BL South Jetty a look-see – and likely a cast-see. It's not as chilly there when spring SE winds blow. Out of tradition, I'll likely be casting older-style unflavored plastic white shad tails. Early bass loves those. By the by, colder water greatly reduces the scent trail of flavored plastics. I’d be quite pleased to have one of those sassies cleft in two.  I thoroughly enjoy the flavor of springtime bluefish, which are often very sweet when fattening on crustaceans, grass shrimp being a prime target when they swim into town.

For jigheads, I use Dante S's creations. MagicTail Bucktails

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Pickerel fishing will explode this coming weekend. While spinners work perfectly, Heddon “Baby Torpedoes” are a blast to use in shallows – as pickerel v-shaped wakes suddenly appear out of nowhere, homing in on the splashy top-water lure. Color seems of no major importance with these Torpedoes, though frog coloration is more inclined to interest any cohabiting largemouths.

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While Weeks Dredging has begun beach repair work in Brant Beach – and will be done that small section in short order – Harvey Cedars will be beach-fill epicenter for nearly all of spring. In fact, the Surf City (final) phase of the work.

For this coming fishing season, I will gladly publish, herein, written reports – be they from charters, headboats or private vessels. Folks love reading such. I only ask that name spellings b double-checked. Also, if including photos it helps to rinse off the blood first, especially on C&R fish. I might also use snippets from reports in my weekly SandPaper columns.

I splurged on some wild Chinook salmon … and I’m ruined for life! I simply can’t see ever going back to what might be called everyday wild salmon -- much less farm-grown. The fattiness and accompanying flavor overwhelms the taste buds. I’m so glad I chose to pan sear it straight-up, no seasoning. Heavy spices might have masked the taste. All I added was a pinch of Himalayan salt and a few passes of freshly-ground multi-color and the six-ounce portion of Chinook was amazing, though I did dip the final couple bites into a small serving of melted butter, meant to be poured over some lightly-basted young asparagus. Buttered, I truly liken the salmon to lobster-level degree of scrumptiousness. By the by, the smaller portion was surprisingly filling, due to the amazing fat content. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s perpetually imperative to know from whence came the “fresh” filet – and how long ago it came from whence.

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Here’s my buddy Jim H, Sr.’s first Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association report of the year. I always appreciate his very regular boat-based fishing reports, now through December.

Spring is late this year. Although warm weather is still behind schedule, some striped bass and even a few bluefish are showing in the waters around Beach Haven. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been putting the finishing touches on their boats and gear getting ready. The recent dredging of Little Egg Inlet will make the passage out the inlet much easier. 

Captain Gary Dugan has already had the “Irish Jig” on a striper trip in Great Bay. Despite the cold temperatures, Captain Gary said it was still great to get out on the water. They managed to boat one bass while having a couple more show interest in their baits. 

Captain Lindsay Fuller is excited about the maintenance done “June Bug” this winter. The boat received a complete new paint job at its winter storage in North Carolina and is looking spiffy. Captain Lindsay had maintenance himself with a knee replacement. He is noticing improvement with his rehab and anticipates being better than ever. He is looking forward to bringing the “June Bug” north in May for a good fishing season. 

“Star Fish” Captain Carl Sheppard reports he is optimistic about the new fishing regulations. He notes that a longer fluke season should help the good local September fluke fishing. Captain Carl has had the “Star Fish” through the new dredged inlet and found at least 10-feet of water the whole way to where the bell buoy used to be. He plans to get in on some of the tautog fishing before the end of April. 

Captain Brett Taylor of “Reel Reaction” Sportfishing is new to the BHCFA but has been a captain for quite some time. He is a noted seminar speaker and outdoors writer while also serving as advisor to the Barnegat High School Fishing Club. Captain Brett reports his boat has had some upgrades with new electronics and is ready to get in on some solid spring striped bass fishing. 

Captain John Lewis spent time this winter basking in the Florida Keys while his boat, the “Insatiable,” had some cosmetic work done. Captain John is adding sunset cruises this year along with new six and eight-hour inshore shark trips. He notes he is pleased with the new fluke regulations.  

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net.


Striped Bass Population Triples up North in Gulf of St. Lawrence


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CBC News] Paul Withers - April 11, 2018

The remarkable recovery of striped bass in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence reached unprecedented levels in 2017, according to the latest assessment from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Department scientists say the spawning population tripled between 2016 and 2017 and is now estimated at one million fish — a 100-fold increase from the 1990s.

In addition to the population rebound, tagged striped bass from the Gulf were recovered from Rimouski, Que., north to Labrador for the first time in 2017.

In the Forteau Bay area of Labrador, catches of tens of thousands were reported.

"I think this is unusual," said Trevor Avery, a marine biologist at Acadia University who is tracking the expanded range of Gulf striped bass. "This seems to be a first-time sighting in, let's use the term, in living memory."

Until last summer, the northern limit of the confirmed distribution for southern Gulf striped bass had been the Gaspé Peninsula.

Is a warming ocean responsible?
Just why this is happening has not been definitively determined. Avery said a combination of variables can contribute, including survival of larvae, a healthier ecosystem and more bait fish.

Another key factor could be warming ocean temperatures.

"It allows things to produce faster, grow larger in shorter seasons. There are all kinds of things that are tied to temperature," said Avery.

DFO did not make any of its 11 scientists who contributed to the report available for an interview.

"The reason for this extended migration and whether it will be repeated in future years is unknown, but it may have been associated with above average sea water temperatures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years," DFO said in its report.

The comeback story 
When the spawning population collapsed in the 1990s, DFO started closing fisheries.

The commercial fishery was shut down in 1996, followed four years later by recreational and Indigenous fisheries.

In 2004, Gulf striped bass was listed as a threatened species by federal authorities.

But the population came back and in 2012, First Nations food, social and ceremonial fisheries were reinstated and a recreational fishery reopened in 2013.

2017 marked the seventh straight year striped bass met species recovery targets.

Trap nets overwhelmed 
For several weeks every year, the epicentre of the Gulf striped bass population is the northwest Miramichi River, where hundreds of thousands return to spawn in May and June.

That's where scientists count them, tag others and make population estimates based on models.

In 2017, modelling produced estimates ranging from 450,000 spawners up to two million. The department settled on an estimate of 994,000.

The run coincides with a commercial gaspereau trap net fishery on the northern Miramichi which is used to monitor striped bass.

'Something strange going on'
Nathan Wilbur, New Brunswick program director for the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said the striped bass explosion was part of a bizarre 2017 off New Brunswick.

"Last year there was something strange going on in the Gulf of St. Lawrence," he said, pointing to the appearance of endangered North Atlantic right whales in large numbers. "Fishermen in Newfoundland were seeing species they'd never seen before."

Wilbur argues striped bass are now so numerous it's time for a small, First Nations commercial fishery in the Miramichi. He said striped bass entering the system were already taking a toll on Atlantic salmon smolts on their way out to sea.

"With the population of spawning bass tripled, our fear is predation may have increased quite a bit as well," Wilbur said

Bay State Wind Announces Plans For Grants to Protect New England Fisheries, Whales


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] - April 11, 2018

Bay State Wind, an offshore wind developer, announced on Tuesday that they plan on providing more than $2 million in grants for research and programs to protect New England’s fisheries and whale populations.

The grants would be spread out amongst different organizations. The developer plans to offer $1 million for a Bay State Wind Marine Science Grant Program for directed fisheries resources research on the Bay State Wind lease area. Woods Hole Oceanography Institute, which has been working on a ropeless fishing concept to protect whales, would receive a $500,000 multi-year grant to use for the development of advanced whale detection systems. The New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Project and the Lobster Foundation of Massachusetts would each receive $250,000 to prevent gear entanglement of the North Atlantic Right Whale. Bay State Wind also plans on offering grants to Whale Alert Project, Center for Coastal Studies and the National Ocean Science Bowl/ Blue Lobster Bowl.

“These grants demonstrate Bay State Wind’s commitment to environmental responsibility,” Bay State Wind environmental manager and whale biologist Laura Morse said in a press release. “We are taking steps to strengthen the population of the North Atlantic Right Whale, which is weakened by boat strikes and fishing gear entanglements. In addition, Bay State Wind will address two of the main threats to marine life – rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification – with the clean energy that is wind farms will produce.”

Bay State Wind is currently in the running to supply offshore wind power to Massachusetts, a hot topic for the Massachusetts fishing industry. Just this week a group of fishing industry officials set a letter to Governor Charlie Baker suggesting changes to “make offshore wind more palatable.” The group suggested that the state’s first offshore windfarm be “modest in size and scope” so that the impacts on commercial fishing can be studied.

Bay State Wind, which is a joint venture between Ørsted, the offshore wind global leader, and Eversource, a New England transmission builder, released a statement reaffirming their commitment to the fishing industry in Massachusetts: “We are the only project that has hired a marine biologist to ensure that we protect marine species and do not interfere with migration patterns, and we will continue to work closely with the fighting industry in the South Coast to minimize disruption and to preserve fish stocks for future generations.”

Saltwater Brewery Creates Edible Six-Pack Rings   

MAY 13, 2016

The devastating effects that plastic six-pack rings can have to both wildlife and the environment have been proven time and time again. While many iterations of the packaging have been seen over the years, here’s a look at a very creative and sustainable alternative to the standard six-pack ring.

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla., recently released edible six-pack rings, a brand-new approach to sustainable beer packaging. These six-pack rings are 100 percent biodegradable and edible—constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process. This packaging can actually be safely eaten by animals that may come into contact with the refuse.

Head of Brand at Saltwater Brewery Peter Agardy says, “It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea.” Brewery President Chris Gove notes, “We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board.


NOAA Begins SIMP Enforcement After ‘Informed Compliance’ Period Ends on April 9

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Amanda Buckle - April 11, 2018

The Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) became mandatory for importers on January 1, but enforcement of the new rule has only just begun. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted a reminder earlier this week that the “informed compliance” period, in which the agency provided outreach and assistance for those with incomplete entry filings, ended on April 9, 2018.

SIMP requires that certain species have strict data reporting and record keeping of specific priority fish that are vulnerable to IUU fishing and seafood fraud. Species that currently fall under SIMP include: Atlantic and Pacific cod, blue crab, red king crab, mahi mahi, grouper, red snapper, sea cucumber, sharks, swordfish and tunas (albacore, bigeye, skipjack, yellowfin and bluefin).

Now that SIMP enforcement is in effect, entry filings for those specific species must be correct and complete before importation may proceed. Filings that are incomplete or contain erroneous SIMP data will not be accepted, and failure to comply may result in the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement taking action.

Late last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018. The bill included a measure that requires the inclusion of imported shrimp and abalone in SIMP. Opponents of imported shrimp in the domestic industry originally wanted to mandate shrimp be included under this NOAA program within 30 days, which would have been highly disruptive, and in effect a non-tariff import barrier.   The final action required NOAA to begin working on the program within 30 days, but set a deadline of December 31, 2018 for implementation.  This gives importers and producers more time to adjust to this new record keeping requirement.

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