Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
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Thursday, July 18, 2019: It keeps getting weirder and weirder, fishing-wise. Enter tsunamis of triggerfish.
Along with a load of astounding triggerfishing reports (see below), I got this message: “Something else unusual to write about. In all my years I have never seen triggerfish like this. We took about 25 and probably could have had as many as we wanted. … (Names of folks on the boat excluded) Even I’m starting to think there are big changes in our ocean. …”
(The rest of the message is herein deleted on request since it involved protected sharks accidently being caught. Folks are decidedly paranoid about admitting they’re catching them.)
The arrival of triggers is basically on schedule but the numbers are mindboggling, especially when considering how far apart various boats were that bailed them until it got boring.
Triggerfish are amazingly good eating but can be a bitch and a half to fillet -- while still showing respect to the fish. By that I mean it’s easy to butcher the fillets, often getting just a haphazard chunk of meat -- with easily as much meat left behind.
It is so easy (and resource respectful) to simply bake them whole (gutted), then pull off the then easily removed cooked skin. Just be wary of the steam when pulling off hot skin. With the skin gone, you can remove a surprisingly large load of delicious meat – for such a thin fish. I often dip the forked-out pieces in drawn butter. Try it and you’ll quickly see why.
I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ll bet many of those triggers might soon be swarming the BL Inlet jetties, mainly the South Jetty. They might even enter the bay all the way to the Causeway.
Rig for them with a homemade top and bottom rig. Use leader material and strong (!) #6 bait/beak hooks. Place hooks on dropper loops, one maybe a foot from the tag end and another a foot above that. Tie on a light bank sinker (1 oz or 1.5 oz) and, when on jetty, cast out past submered rock. Yep, fully togging-like. If the gray triggers are in the hood, it won’t take long to find takers.
Baitwise, this is a species that loves squid – as much as I do. I still say it’s an unsung catch-all bait. Triggers are decent bait stealers. Again, very tog-ish. Speaking of which, don’t be surprised to have tog saluting your triggerfish offering. (Don’t even think about keeping those, Mr. Chen.)
Blowfishing remains hot … once you learn the rope,which includes finding holes where they hang and then getting chum in quickly to read the hole. No takers … and it’s off to other likely locales.
Interesting email: “Jay, I read what you wrote about houndfish and that might answer a mystery we’ve had over large splashes in our lagoon at night. Not long ago, a neighbor said he heard what sounded like a screaming bird being taken down in the water. I guess a large enough houndfish could grab a small bird.”
Hmmm. Maybe, but I think you might also have some you-know-whats cruising your lagoons, especially browns. I’m guessing brown sharks might opportunistically grab a small duck or the likes. (I won’t be surprised if some shark expert refutes that. In that case, I’ll really piss him off by suggesting you might therefore have small bull sharks about. I assure you they’ll drag down anything dumb enough to be a-swim in the dark. Very rare to find a bull shark up here. )
THAT’S HOT!: I’ll maintain the Capt. Obvious course by mentioning it’s going to get hot as Hades – using an expression my greatest-ever grandmother would use. Real temps could approach 100 on Saturday.
Some might say the upcoming 100-degree stint is nothing more than an old-fashioned heat wave -- given new oomph from the heated rhetoric coming from global warming banter. That rhetoric can add a solid 10 degrees of virtual heat to any outdoor thermometer reading, a bit like the popular “heat index” concept has tacked on degrees. “It’s 90 degrees but will feel like 110 on the heat index scale.” Very soon that will extend to “It’s 90 degrees but will feel like 110 on the heat index scale and will register as 120 on the climate change thermometer.”
That glibness aside, I’ll be doing a rapid Pinelands out-and-back run this 100-degree-plus Saturday to get sand temps. I use a very accurate infrared thermometer. The hottest ever was 129. My sand surface temps are taken on sun-blanched sand. By comparison, the air temps you hear on the weather are taken at about five or six feet off the ground. Of course, beachgoers sprawl out on the hottest place out there. Humans are weird animals.
As to how high beach temperatures will climb this weekend, it’s a close call as to whether we’ll be kept within reason (say a mere 90 degrees) with the help of ocean breezes. If west winds prevail, we’ll be no better off than a slow-cooking mainland. Right now, it looks like Saturday will show hottest early-on, with dominant offshore winds, meaning scalding hot until midday. Then sideshore breezes should arrive like a cooldown cavalry. Here’s hoping.
By the by, we will likely see an official heat wave, meaning three days in a row of 90 degrees or above high temps. We’re currently under an “excessive heat” advisory, an expression that shows the Weather Service can use some cool adjectives when forecasting heat, though I hear it was first going to go with an “Impressive heat” advisory – but that sounded too much like they were siding with the heat.
I was asked by pet people – great folks, which include the Friends of the Southern Ocean Animal Shelter – to realize the surface temperatures of road macadam – and, to a lesser degree, concrete sidewalk surfaces – can fry the pads on pet paws, referring mainly to dogs.
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Online Fishing Tournament Encourages Family Fun for Drug Prevention
MILLBURN — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is asking families to grab their fishing poles and loved ones for the Fifth Annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs NJ Family Fishing Tournament.
The competition will be held from July 19-28 as a way to encourage families to spend quality time together and help prevent substance abuse.
According to PDFNJ research, children who communicate regularly with their parents about daily activities are 67 percent less likely to be involved in substance use than children who have little or no communication.
“The Don't Get Hooked on Drugs Online NJ Family Fishing Tournament is the perfect opportunity for families to bond together in some summertime fun,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “Quality time spent with family engaging in fun activities like fishing are best way to keep children from drugs and continue living drug-free.”
Participation in the event is free and will take place from July 19-28. Eligible candidates must be 18 years old or younger, New Jersey residents, and be accompanied by a parent or guardian while fishing. Participants can take a photo of their family enjoying a fishing trip and post it on our Facebook (Drug-FreeNJ), Instagram (@DrugFreeNJ), or Twitter (@DrugFreeNJ) pages with the hashtag #DrugFreeNJ. The picture must include the youth participant and a parent or guardian. Photo opportunities are available upon request.
All entries must be submitted no later than July 28. A total of $500 will be awarded to five randomly selected submissions on August 5.
For more information, visit drugfreenj.org.
Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $100 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.
Our first trigger fish of the season. Nice to see our friends back for the summer....
That moment right before you realize it’s a cow nose ray