Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, January 24, 2013: The cold continues ...


 (Above) Perfect boat positioning is everything when fishing for trophy waterfall catfish. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013: The cold continues to kill off loads of bad in-bay organisms.

I hate cold, per se, but if there was ever a year when we need the bay to undergo a critical cool down, this be it. I say that with a bit of bravado, knowing that next week will see a damn decent warm-up.

 Not surprisingly, this winter has played out in near perfect unison with the known weather effects surrounding a weak El Nino impact. The snaps of cold, intermingled with stretches of milder air, are exactly what the predictions called for.

I’ll forward some self-brewed prognostications that it could get very mild by the end of February or early March. That actually flies in the face of the recent long-term forecast released this week by The Weather Channel, predicting all of February will be colder than usual.

I also see this spring as being milder than usual, inland areas. It will be a tad cooler along the shoreline, as a southerly air flow arrives way ahead of its seasonal time, that wind blows off the ocean for much of the Jersey coastline.

Disturbingly, that early south flow can eventually lead to a horrifically hot summer, especially the early part – June into early July.

Remember, the Weather Service’s meteorological seasons are different than that of the calendar year. Winter begins Dec.1; spring begins March 1; summer begins June 1; and fall begins Sept. 1.

Below: Moby Whitetail ...


Otters taking the blame for what began as over-fishing. If fish stocks hadn’t been so depleted by humans, the otters would never bear this blame.

(Fish Radio)

Sea otters are cleaning out valuable commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska – they have been at it for decades. A second report updates the financial hit the otters have caused to the region’s fisheries since 2005. Both were done by the McDowell Group of Juneau for the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA). The reports assess losses to the sea cucumber, geoduck clam, red sea urchin, and Dungeness crab fisheries. The bottom line - Sea otter predation in those fisheries has cost Southeast Alaska’s economy more than $28 million in direct and indirect impacts since 1995

Fish and Game estimates sea otters affect 39 percent of Southeast’s dive fishery harvest areas. Out of 15 Dungeness crab districts, six have large otter populations and dungie pots have lost nearly 3 million pounds to otters in a decade.

The combined fisheries employ roughly 625 fishermen and dozens more tender operators and processing workers. Best estimates say about 19,000 sea otters had taken up residence in Southeast Alaska in 2011. Based on a conservative estimate of weight at 50 pounds, and daily food intake of 20% of body weight, that number is expected to approach 28,000 by 2015. The animals would consume over 10 million pounds of Southeast Alaska’s dive and crab species per year.

The report concludes that commercial dive fishing and large populations of sea otters cannot coexist in the same waters. And once commercially viable numbers of geoducks, urchins, sea cukes and crab are gone, they’re not likely to return while sea otters remain.


Fish are more resilient than first thought:

[Voxy.co.nz] - January 24, 2013 - 

University of Canterbury (UC) research has found that southern fish can cope with warmer waters, giving some hope for the future of the Antarctic environment.

UC biology professor Bill Davison has been rigorously testing fish in warmer waters and has discovered most cope and adapt extremely well. Waters around the Antarctic Peninsula have risen in temperature by about 1degC in recent years.

"I have been pushing fish to a 5-6C temperature change. In the short term, Antarctic water temperatures are not going to change by this much. Ultimately, things always change, and as temperatures increase so the distribution of animals in the marine environment will change.

"My fish could well find themselves with a much more restricted distribution range, while other fish could move in and take their place."

But probably one of the greatest immediate threats to the environment is the invasion of crabs into Antarctic waters. Temperatures have increased, but not enough to kill off the local fauna. However, it has risen enough that crabs, which have previously been unable to survive in this region, can now survive.

"This summer season we spent about seven weeks at Scott Base. We work in spring because we need to get out onto the sea ice to catch fish and by December it is getting too warm. This season has been very warm, and if you look at the Scott Base web cams you will see that the sea ice in front of the base is now a series of pools and off limits.''

Professor Davison said his research team this year included masters student Charlotte Austin and PhD student Sarah Coxon. He has been studying Antarctic fish for many years and has had 23 seasons on the ice looking at climate change and fish physiology for about 10 years.

Most of his work is at Scott Base but he has an Antarctic aquarium on campus and usually returned with live fish for testing.

"The bulk of my work has been on one species of fish, borch, which acclimates to higher temperatures and radically changes its biochemistry and physiology.

"This season I concentrated on a different species, emerald rock cod, which does not acclimate quite as well. Fish survive around Antarctic because they produce anti-freeze which stops their blood freezing.

"All fish in the Ross Sea are protected under the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Act and I need to obtain a permit to catch them. My fish are not endangered because they have never been exploited, and me taking a few fish is not affecting populations. However, there is much debate about the state of the closely related toothfish."

Waters around the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by about 1degC. This doesn't sound much, but actually represents a major shift in terms of the upper limits of some Antarctic animals.


Local Facebook buddy: 

Former Ween member Mickey Melchiondo sets sights on reality TV stardom

www.nj.com/entertainment/2013/01/mickey_melchiondo_of_ween_sets.html/L10/1863570256/StoryAd/NJONLINE/Spacer_NJ_RoS_05/Spacer_SpanMJX.html/467835365a6c437064616f4141517a77?_RM_EMPTY_&bt=6088&bt=6230&bt=6242&bt=0003&bt=6077&bt=6156&bt=3066&bt=6172&bt=6119&bt=3055&bt=6191&bt=6096&bt=1091&bt=6190&bt=0018&bt=0004&bt=6165&bt=6057&bt=4085&bt=6087&bt=5063&bt=6158&bt=2084&bt=0084&bt=3027&bt=6166&bt=6086&bt=6112&bt=2072&bt=5040&bt=2001&bt=6223&bt=6239&bt=6178&bt=6241&bt=3081&bt=6095&bt=4049&bt=6031&bt=5068&bt=2027&bt=6121&bt=5014&bt=all&bt=5011&bt=2013&bt=4098&bt=5015&bt=4028&bt=3002&bt=6130&bt=3080&bt=3097&bt=2055&bt=58&bt=6047&bt=6114&bt=3030&bt=6066&bt=0086&bt=9002&bt=6080&bt=0081&bt=2043&bt=6220&bt=0019&bt=2063&bt=6163&bt=2041&bt=8064&bt=6040&bt=6004&bt=6168&bt=2029&bt=6005&bt=4035&bt=burform1&bt=6260&bt=3043&bt=5039&bt=6123&bt=6030&bt=4051&bt=2015&bt=6229&bt=5097&bt=6147&bt=6144&bt=0055&bt=3063&bt=3052&bt=6002&bt=2057&bt=1092&bt=4003&bt=6141&bt=3083&bt=6193&bt=6125&bt=5043&bt=2086&bt=4050&bt=5073&bt=6188&bt=6152&bt=5006&bt=0005&bt=6115&bt=6261&bt=4009&bt=6149&bt=6011&bt=8067&bt=5065&bt=6177&bt=6008&bt=92&bt=8063&bt=6133&bt=6153&bt=1099&bt=4076&bt=5031&bt=6240&bt=6117&bt=6224&bt=6162&bt=2070&tag11=blog_entry" width="2" height="2" style="font-size: 13px;" />
Mickey Melchiondo, formerly of the band Ween, checks out his boat, parked in a boatyard in New Hope, Pa., where he lives. 

By Lisa Rose

Mickey Melchiondo is hoping to make a transition from rock musician to television star.

The ex-guitarist of the band Ween and lifelong Jersey Shore fisherman is prepping to shoot a pilot for a quirky TV series about saltwater angling. He's going to embark on nautical adventures with fellow musician and fisherman Les Claypool of Primus.

"The show is personality-driven," says Melchiondo, 42, a Trenton native. "The idea is to get the show on after Anthony Bourdain or 'Tosh.O.' It's a fishing show that you do not have to be into fishing to enjoy."

The past couple of months have been quiet for Melchiondo, who operates a charter boat out of Belmar. Although his vessel, the Archangel, survived Hurricane Sandy, he canceled all his autumn trips and won't resume sailing until spring. Ween broke up last May, as vocalist Aaron Freeman quit the group to pursue a solo career. The split ended a songwriting partnership that dated back to high school.

When Melchiondo learned that the fishing show got the greenlight to shoot next month, it was a welcome bit of good news. Produced by "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the series will fuse sportfishing with music and comedy, following Melchiondo and Claypool as they go out on the water with celebrity guests in different locales, including the Garden State.

"Part of the plan is to do music on the show and also create the soundtrack," says Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween.


Fishing at the Jersey Shore with Dean Ween
Fishing at the Jersey Shore with Dean WeenMusician and Belmar charter boat captain Mickey Melchiondo canceled all of his autumn fishing trips after Sandy but saved his boat and plans to resume sailing this spring. The former Ween guitarist misses being out on the water, hooking striped bass and bluefish on the Jersey Shore. In order to get his fishing fix, he's been surfcasting on cold January mornings in Manasquan with his friend, Nick Honachefsky, an author and outdoors columnist. It's no small feat pulling stripers out of the surf in the winter but Melchiondo got one lucky catch during a recent fishing trip. Unfortunately, he and Honachefsky mostly found skates, a docile sea creature that is not well-respected among anglers. Next month, Melchiondo will be shooting a pilot for a cable fishing show co-starring Les Claypool of Primus. (by Lisa Rose/The Star-Ledger)Watch video

Primus and Ween have long legacies of sea-themed music. The opening song on Primus' 1989 debut album, "Suck on This" is "John the Fisherman," the first chapter in a four-part saga about questing for mythical aquatic creatures. Ween's 1997 album "The Mollusk" is an ode to the Jersey coast, composed and recorded in a Holgate beach house. (The track, "Ocean Man" is featured on "SpongeBob SquarePants.")

"Holgate was my refuge," says Melchiondo, who commutes to fish in Jersey from New Hope, Pa., where he lives with his wife and son. "My parents had a house in Holgate. My father built it. He bought a little sugar shack, and he tore the roof off and built onto it. My sister and I bought a trailer and that was our place until we sold it a year and a half ago.

"Now, it's piled up like a Lionel train. The house where Ween recorded, it's like 20 feet in the air now. It was built on stilts and all the sand eroded under it. I've seen pictures. I don't want to see it in person."

For nearly three decades, fishing was Melchiondo's hobby while music was his profession. Ween built an international following via eclectic albums, epic concerts and irreverent humor. Things slowed down in recent years, however, as Freeman struggled with substance abuse issues.

mickey-melchiondo2.jpgMelchiondo talks about the damage he saw in Belmar after Hurricane Sandy, at his music studio in New Hope, Pa. 

During downtime from the band five years ago, Melchiondo earned his Coast Guard captain's license. He purchased a 23-foot watercraft, launched Mickey's Guide Service and documented select trips on video with a 12-episode web series, "Brownie Troop Fishing Show."

Although Melchiondo shut down the Brownie Troop Web site in 2011, he still goes out angling with his co-star, Nick Honachefsky, an author and outdoors columnist whose Normandy Beach home was destroyed by Sandy. Melchiondo played a November benefit show in Asbury Park to help his fishing buddy.

Even though January is the off-season for striped bass, Melchiondo and Honachefsky have been surfcasting in Manasquan, spending hours on the cold beach awaiting a nibble.

"Fishing is normalcy," says Honachefsky, who is living in FEMA housing and hooking stripers with borrowed rods. "I'm very thankful for all the help, but it's almost like you can never get away from it. The first thing people say is, 'How you doing? Can I help?' It's like, I just want to go fishing and chill out. Surfcasting in the winter is slow fishing. It's the entire mass of the ocean in front of you and you cast, hoping for one monster fish."

Melchiondo is booked up with charter trips through the summer. Most of his clients are out-of-towners who make a pilgrimage to Belmar to spend a day on the water with their rock hero. The Archangel accommodates a maximum of three passengers and the fee for ocean jaunts is $650 and up.

"It's kind of mind-blowing to go fishing with someone in a band that I listen to," says Brian Plant, 24, of North Haven, Conn., a pool construction worker who was scheduled to go angling with Melchiondo the week Sandy struck. Their trip is rescheduled for spring. 
John Sumber, a Ween fan from upstate New York, is visiting Belmar in May.

"Normally, I go fishing on Long Island because it's closer to me but because it's Mickey, I'm going wherever his charter is," says Sumber, 33, an advertising sales representative. "Mickey is bringing business to the Jersey Shore. I'm going to come down, and bring my money and my business to Jersey because of him."

Melchiondo hopes his fishing show will be an eye-opener for TV audiences who associate the Shore with a lifestyle centered on nightclubbing, rather than angling and boating. For him, Belmar is a place of serenity.

"I go alone and I don't do anything alone, except fishing and Shore-related stuff," says Melchiondo, who has a solo album in the works, as well as a new release from his experimental hard rock band, the Moistboyz.

"I've stayed in every room in the Belmar Motor Lodge multiple times. I know the nuances of which rooms have bad cable. With fishing, I can go down to the shore and not (anger) my wife. 'Babe, I have a charter trip tomorrow at 5 a.m. I'm gonna go down tonight.' Every year for 20 years, I've watched the World Series alone under a blanket in a motel because I stay there in the fall when the stripers are running."

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