Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, April 28, 2011: From fog to howling winds to thunderstorms and back again. The weather is freaky -- and tough on fishing plans.
The off/on fog continues to make boat fishing a tough – bump and go – effort. However, there is some very decent winter flounder fishing for those willing to sort through small fish to grab a minor take-home. Per always, chum is everything.
Bayside bassing is finding new converts. There are good bass being taken on bay street ends where there is any deep water within casting distance. There are even folks fishing from their backyard docks who have never seen a bass taken before -- and they're catching keepers. Quite cool. Enjoy dining on those legal fish. It helps the entire system to reduce the stocks a bit.
I had a lengthy chat with folks very close to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, enforcement sector. Talk about being in a bind. They’re getting as many calls and questions as the media, regarding where the state’s Saltwater Angler Registry Program is at this very moment. Turns out enforcement is no more clued in to what's up than folks like myself. Personally, I’ve been bugging the DEP for info, which is not forthcoming. Nor can it be. The language is still being finalized before being sent off for close scrutiny by the federal Saltwater Angler Registry. I've gotten some half-hearted assurances that the state program will be in place by next month.
Sidebar: Below you'll read about a growing anger over the DEP's slowness in adopting the 2011 fluke regs. Check it out and tell me a pattern isn't developing here. I was told the DEP was NOT being vindicative over the defeat of a for-pay registry. Now I'm having second thoughts. I can all but hear their feet dragging.
Chatting with enforcement, I was advised that there is a very high likelihood that once the state’s "free" registry program has been accepted – and in place – it will be mandatory for out-of-state anglers to registry in NJ -- even if they’re registered in another state. You heard right. Not that it'll present a huge problem for visiting anglers but it will be an extra layer of paperwork. Obviously, I'll be able to make a final read on this when I look over the upcoming NJ angler registry -- with a fine-toothed comb.
Should you be worried if you're out there fishing with no registry card? Right now, enforcement would much rather know what the heck they're supposed to be enforcing before they run out and try enforcing it.
RFA-NJ KEEPS WATCHFUL EYE ON SUMMER FLOUNDER REGS
May 7 Opening In Jeopardy If DEP Fails To Act
The New Jersey chapter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA-NJ) today sent a letter to Governor Chris Christie, copying the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Bob Martin, urging immediate action to ensure that the 2011 summer flounder (fluke) season gets underway as scheduled on May 7th.
Following action by the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (Council) on April 7 to enact the 2011 summer flounder regulations as having a season of May 7-September 25 with a bag limit of eight fish per person and minimum size of 18 inches, the Bureau of Marine Fisheries subsequently submitted the regulation for approval by the DEP the following day. In past years, regulations approved by the Council were enacted almost immediately, however, according to the RFA-NJ nearly three weeks have now passed without approval of the regulation by the DEP.
"With less than 10 days before the start of the proposed 2011 summer flounder season, the state's anglers and businesses remain concerned that the regulation will be enacted in time," said RFA-NJ Chairman, Capt. Adam Nowalsky. In his letter to Governor Christie and the DEP, Nowalsky stated "Recreational anglers have made reservations on party and charter boats, and bait and tackle stores have ordered bait. Failure to begin the season on the prescribed date will further disadvantage an already struggling industry."
RFA-NJ is advising anglers to contact the Commissioner's office by calling 609-292-2885 and requesting that the 2011 summer flounder regulations be enacted as quickly as possible.