Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Notice the deep concern afforded by others on the field. Hey, he might actually be hurt -- but you know what they say about crying "Ouch!" one too many times. Soccer remains one weird-ass sport when it comes to injuries.
This week's "Why it's not good to let uncles babysit" ....
Thursday, June 01, 2017: Nice scattering of mid-sized blues -- bay, inlet and ocean. Fluking is slow but is now offering some larger models for bay anglers who needed to avoid the tricky onshore winds, which have now turned light to westerly, low enough to comfortably open up the inlets and even the ocean – vessel-size permitting.
Better have major sunscreen. Index pushing max. Remember, even though the air temps aren’t that high, it’s the angle of the sun in the sky that burns. In fact, the sun is now approaching apogee, meaning UV rays are fierce – made worse by a decline in the atmosphere’s ability to filter them out.
Upcoming winds look workable (light) through the weekend. Enjoy.
It’s a good time for possible keeper trifecta: Bass, blue and fluke.
UGLY INCIDENT: I’m hesitant to even write about this ugly fishing incident that occurred on a bayside fishing pier, Ship Bottom, late yesterday afternoon. But, it is so out-of-character for LBI that I want to essentially apologize to the very nice African American fellow who took the brunt of a verbal and threatened-physical assault from what I can only guess was a terribly troubled soul.
It began as a simply crossing of fishing lines, commonplace during any type of close-in, close-together angling. The big difference: This one ended in an arrest, after a single tangle became what I’ll over-dramatically call “terroristic threatening.” I’m sure it also falls under the kinder and gentler “disorderly conduct” charge. I’m looking into the actual charges.
Highly disturbing, for me, is a possible racial slant. Almost as disturbing, it involved a nearby minor, this case a high schooler I’ll call Joe.
The problem began when what I’ll call a newcomer walked out to the end of the pier and, by all accounts, powered his way into the lineup, so to speak. He ignored the general flow of lines, south to north, and aggressively cast out. No biggy … at that point. But things were already drifting toward troubled waters, hinted at when the newcomer offered, out loud, “It’s always a great day for fishing … when you have pills and beer.” And he was apparently having a real good day.
It later came out that the newcomer was a middle-aged Philly visitor -- a union carpenter, before an injury led to rods being placed in his neck. Might he have been on prescribed meds? I hope so, for his sake.
With the arrival of the newcomer, the fishing population on the pier was six folks, two to the newcomer’s north and three to his south.
That number of anglers is nothing compared to the crowds that have been angling the pier lately, gathered to tap into our fine spring bluefish bite.
The two anglers to the north soon packed up and left. They would later tell me they fully realized there was something off about the newcomer, especially when he began yelling at a plastic bag flapping to loudly in the wind. And, no, this is not one of my satirical pieces.
The newcomer’s out-there-ness soon reared up in the ugliest way for the three remaining anglers, just south of him. The three included the Southern Regional High School youngster, Joe, who loves the heck out of fishing and surfing. There was also a local angler, Larry, who already had a nice keeper fluke under his belt. Then, there was John, the African American fellow, originally from Philly but now living in Ship Bottom and working on the Island. He’s a family man in his early 50s … and a big guy.
With the four fishing, a minor crossing of lines occurred. The newcomer went ballistic, going into a screaming, F-bomb fit, aggressively aimed directly at John -- whose line wasn’t even involved in the frickin tangle!
Enraged, the newcomer moved toward John. I’ll insert here – and after John and I pondered the tale -- it sure seemed to have racial undertones. The two other anglers, whose lines truly tangled, weren’t even in the newcomers line of verbal fire. However, the SRHS student became freaked, moving as far as he could, southward, on the pier. That, too, bugs the hell out of me.
By the by, the newcomer was blocking the only exit off the pier. John knew this, so what happened next was doubly critical for him. The seemingly out-there man began yelling, “I’ll stab you!” With his gear covering the entire top of a nearby bench, he might have easily had a knife within.
I’ll reemphasize here that John is large man, likely capable of thwarting any stabbing attempt – helped along by his Muay Thai training. However, I know from a goodly amount of martial arts training, that a possibly crazed man with a knife is off-the-charts dangerous, regardless of one’s training level.
But John, to his extreme credit, remained calm, albeit shocked. Through good sense and moral fortitude, be opted to go the 9-11 emergency call route. The other two anglers remained cornered.
The Ship Bottom PD was there in short order, which likely helped save the day. The newcomer remained on, let’s say, the brink, leading to his arrest.
Things then focused on John, in a different way. He was asked if he wanted to file charges. He declined -- for highly understandable reasons that I’ll keep between he and I. He was, however, impressed with the way the police took the matter very seriously. Having Philly roots, such incidents in an urban setting can often get swept under the rug.
Again, I don’t know what the charges are. But, I really don’t care, per se, just as long as word gets across that crap like this won’t be tolerated, ever. And, yes, I take this extra seriously due to the angling angle – the same way I did during my surfing days, when I was a bulldog when seeing physical threats and aggression being made toward waveriders.
By the by, I had a nice post-incident chat with young Joe, who’s a member of the SRHS fishing club. Shaken a bit, he didn’t seem one iota put off from his love of fishing. However, when his mom came to pick him up, I suggested he wait until after dinner to kinda gently tell her about that, uh, minor, little incident at the pier. Moms can be sensitive about stuff like that.
(I can’t stay quiet about this. That would be the equivalent of my sweeping it under the rug. While, through all this, it was real nice meeting all the anglers involved. Uh, better make that all but one of the anglers involved.)
The fluke were there
I got two nice 20" and 22"
The 9th Annual Battle on the Beach Surf Fishing competition occurred on Wednesday, May 31st on the Barnegat Light surf. Barnegat H.S., Lacey H.S., MATES, and Southern Regional H.S. competed for the coveted Surf Fishing Trophy in the annual event. All four teams did a great job fishing the 9th through 12th street stretches of beach for a solid 3 hours. Teams rotated four sections of beach every 45 minutes from their lottery drawn pick. In the end, Barnegat H.S. won its third title with a total score of 69 points, which came from two Bluefish and a small Striped Bass. Southern Regional was a close second with 44.5 points tallied from two Bluefish, followed by Lacey and MATES with 0 points. Although several other species were caught (Stargazer, Skate, Dogfish) by the four teams, only gamefish count towards points. In addition to the victory and trophy, Barnegat High School Fishing Club was awarded a $500 scholarship to graduating seniors for the 2017 school year. The scholarship was donated by the LBI Surf Fishing Classic Committee. All four teams would like to thank some of the area’s business for donating and helping out with bait, tackle, and gear. Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom and Tony’s Bait & Tackle in Manahawkin have supported this high school tournament from the 1st year. Also special thanks to Village Harbor Fishing Club, LBI Surf Fishing Classic committee, and the Barnegat Heavers for their help in running the event. Again, great job by the kids and fishing club advisers.
We are happy to announce that Jingles Bait and Tackle will be reopening soon.
Carole Anne and Steve are in the processing of buying it and hope to be open by Fathers Day. They plan on operating the tackle shop like it has been for the last 40 years and want to see the Jingles name carried on.
I wish them lots of luck and am happy for them.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NJ.com] by Daniel Hampton - May 26, 2017
Trenton -- Summer flounder season is underway in New Jersey and the state's 18-inch minimum length requirement for the fish is remaining in place amid a catch-size dispute with an interstate fishing commission.
The season begins on Thursday and runs through Sept. 5. Recreational anglers can keep up to three summer flounder - also known as fluke - a day.
Fluke is the state's most popular recreational saltwater species, according to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. Thousands of anglers are drawn to the state's abundant fluke each year.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate group that manages fisheries from Maine to Florida, called for an increase to the summer flounder catch size to 19 inches this year, citing over-fishing concerns.
New Jersey fishermen argued the increased size was unnecessary and would put financial pressure on the state's valuable fishing tourism industry.
The ASMFC on Monday rejected New Jersey's counter-proposal for an 18-inch catch size, but with a reduced limit to three fish per day.
But the state opted to press ahead with those limits when the season opened Thursday, and risks being deemed out of compliance with the ASMFC.
State officials said any possible federal non-compliance decisions would need to be approved by ASFMC's Policy Board and the full Commission. That finding would then be considered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.
"We are going forward with the regulations because we strongly believe that we have passed regulations that meet the conservation equivalency of the Commission's proposed quota limits," state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said in a release. "We have a good relationship with NOAA fisheries and will continue to work with them on any issues relating to the summer flounder stock and recreational harvest limit."
ASMFC's proposed quota limit would kill more fish through "dead discard" than through the actual harvesting of fluke, Martin said.
He said the state will meet its conservation equivalency and reduce harvest by limiting the season to 104 days - down from 128 days - and lowering bag limits.
"In addition, New Jersey will also see a significant reduction in the mortality rate of fish that are caught and discarded," Martin said.
The minimum fluke length is 17 inches for the Delaware Bay.
For anglers participating in the Shore-Based Enhanced Fishing Opportunity Program at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County the minimum length is 16 inches and they can keep up to two fish a day.
Anglers in federal waters must also abide by state laws.
Recreational and commercial fishing are responsible for 65,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the state economy, state officials said.
Pequest Open House
Open House Flyer (pdf, 215kb)
Every year the Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center opens its doors to the public for the annual Open House. Until 2017, it was usually held the weekend before Trout Season opens; in 2017, the event is moving to the first weekend in June which is the beginning of National Fishing and Boating Week. The event is held at the Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford, Warren County and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The Open House is free of charge and is held rain or shine.
This event is great for people of all ages and there are so many things to see and do throughout the day. The Open House allows the Division of Fish and Wildlife to show off the trout we raise at the state-of-the-art Pequest Trout Hatchery and it serves as a reminder that spring has just arrived.
Each year, thousands of people come to the hatchery to experience this event for themselves. And each year, the Division of Fish and Wildlife strives to make this a bigger event than the year before. This year is no different, and instead of just focusing on fish, we will be inviting many different outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists to join us in our celebrations. There will be numerous environmental and conservation exhibits, historical reenactors, wildlife artists, carvers and taxidermists with goods and services to sell. Activities include fishing for kids between the ages of 8 and 16, archery ranges for those aged 10 years and above, hunter education (pre-registration required) and more. A sportsmen's flea market will be open so you can purchase what you need to get started or to stock up for the upcoming fishing and hunting seasons.
Food vendors will also participate or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy our picnic groves. Please leave pets at home - only service dogs are permitted on site.
The Open House is a great way for people of all ages to celebrate spring's arrival. Families, friends, scout troops, church groups, fishing clubs and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors are encouraged to spend a day at this event!
Please note that the rear entrance is closed during Open House. There is no bus parking available.
|Schedule of Events
If interested in setting up an exhibit as an artist or being a participating conservation group, artist, historical reenactor or vendor, please contact Jessica at Jessica.Griglak@dep.nj.gov.
The Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center is located 9 miles west of Hackettstown on Route 46 in scenic Warren County. Come for a family or group outing during the Open House or anytime throughout the year.
Displays and exhibits await indoors
National Fishing & Boating Week
National Fishing and Boating Week is a national celebration, an event that highlights the importance of recreational boating and fishing. In 2017, the event will take place June 3-11.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE FISHING DAYS
During National Fishing and Boating Week, most states offer free fishing days. These are days where anglers are allowed to fish on public bodies of water without a fishing license. Check out the upcoming free fishing days in your state.
7 IDEAS TO ENJOY THIS WEEK
The best way to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week is to get out on the water! These are some of our ideas in how you can celebrate during this week:
Click on the images for the full size and share them as badges on your social pages!
You may not know it, but participation in fishing and boating actually helps fund efforts to conserve our natural waterways. A portion of all fishing tackle and license sales, as well as boat supply and registration sales, fund the conservation and preservation of our nation's waterways through a program called the Sport Fish Restoration Program. This means that every time you purchase a fishing license or register a boat, you are helping improve the natural places you love.
GO FISHING AND BOATING THIS YEAR
Boating and Fishing are fun, stress-relieving activities that you can enjoy with your family and friends anytime. Here are just a few reasons why you should get out on the water and start enjoying these activities:
National Fishing and Boating Week will take place the following year on June 2 – 10, 2018
Getting a fishing license is easier than you think. Learn how you can purchase your fishing license online, check state requirements, types of fishing licenses available and more.
(Below: This can truly impact our future fishing, especially hurting any chances of us seeing spot, croakers, drumfish ... just for starters. Bycatch problems are as bad as ever in that industry, despite claims to the contrary from shrimpers.)
North Carolina Shrimp Catch Soared to New Record Last Year -- Why is a Mystery
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Virginian-Pilot] by David Hampton - May 30, 2017
Wanchese, N.C.- North Carolina shrimp trawlers caught more of America's favorite seafood last year than any time on record. The verdict on why is unclear.
Shrimpers in 2016 harvested a record 13.2 million pounds worth $28 million, a 45 percent increase over the previous year, according to state biologists.
A warm autumn gets much of the credit leading to big hauls through New Year's Day, some two months longer than usual, according to a release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. ...
Below: This is an important read. It relates to aquaculture in Barnegat Bay.
With Clams under Siege, Maine's Casco Bay is Seeing an Oyster Boom
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Bangor Daily News] by Beth Brogan - May 30, 2017
HARPSWELL, Maine — Two years ago, Dave Hunter floated 200,000 tiny seed oysters in 4-millimeter mesh bags off Snow Island in Quahog Bay.
A full-time Brunswick firefighter, Hunter also worked as caretaker for the island, which had just been purchased by Patrick and Mary Scanlan — and Pat Scanlan wanted to dig some clams.
“Just a few clams out front, but he couldn’t because the bay would be closed each summer because boats would come in [and degrade the water],” Hunter said. “He said, ‘what do we do?’”
One mid-May afternoon, Hunter sped across the calm waters of Quahog Bay and around behind Snow Island before slowing his boat and hauling up a mesh bag full of those same oysters, now about 2½ inches long.
“A ‘cocktail’ might be a two-chew,” he said, pointing to a smaller oyster. “A ‘select’ might be a four-chew.”
Hunter scrubbed them with a brush, then shucked them and passed them around the salty-sweet oysters.
Since that first year, when Scanlan established the Quahog Bay Conservancy and began cleaning up the bay, about 70,000 of the original 200,000 Snow Island Oysters have been sold and shipped as far away as Chicago and Texas. Last year the oyster farmers started another 100,000 seed, and plan to start another 100,000 in July.
From ink to oysters
A couple of peninsulas south, at the tip of Mere Point, about 6,000 of Doug Niven’s oysters also are flourishing in Casco Bay’s cold, salty water.
A newspaperman by trade — he sold his family’s local newspaper, The Times Record, in 2008 — Niven has lobstered and dug clams for personal use his whole life. When he joined the town’s Coastal Waters Committee, he started talking oysters with Brunswick’s Marine Resources Officer Dan Devereaux, and in 2015 set out one bag of 9-millimeter seed oysters off his dock.
Devereaux recently organized a multi-species intertidal shellfish farming project for the town of Brunswick, filling “flip bags” with oysters after learning of the technique in Seattle.
That first summer, Niven watched patiently as the oysters grew. Last summer, he harvested the first of that crop and planted another couple thousand.
This year, with the help of his two sons and Devereaux’s two sons, Niven will tend Mere Point Oysters at several sites around the point.
Niven and Devereaux bounce ideas and plans off each other, and Niven spent the winter researching and building an oyster sorter/tumbler that Devereaux calls “The Nivenator.” He’s also built an oven to allow him to create his own oyster bags, builds his own oyster cages and has developed various methods to flip the cages in order to cleanse them of algae build-up.
This summer, he’ll pay his sons to build the cages and bags and tend the oysters.
An untapped resource
Mere Point and Snow Island are just two of many oyster farms bubbling up in the cold, clear water of Casco Bay. Oyster farming in the area isn’t new — Eric Horne and Valy Steverlynck have operated Flying Point Oysters from Freeport for nearly two decades, assuming the farm from Horne’s father — but most of Maine’s oysters have come from the Damariscotta River, though they often finish their growth in the colder mouth of the river because exposure to the cold improves the taste.
Casco Bay has been a largely untapped resource, according to consultant Darcie Couture of Fair Winds Inc. — not because conditions are less favorable but because between softshell clams and lobsters, “people just weren’t focusing on it.”
But softshell clams have been hard hit in the past few years, between the invasion of European green crabs, milky ribbon worms — even territory disputes with marine worm harvesters.
“Of all of the shellfish, softshell clams have taken the hardest hit,” Couture said.
According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, as softshell clam landings have declined over the past five years, down from 11.1 million pounds a year to 7.3 million pounds in 2016, the oyster harvest has more than doubled.
In 2012, 700,807 pounds of Maine oysters yielded $1.65 million, according to the DMR. In 2016 2.1 million pounds of Maine oysters yielded more than $5 million.
Oysters offer a number of advantages — in particular their ability to replenish the ecosystem instead of depleting it. Adult oysters will filter about 50 gallons of water per day, removing nitrogen and excess nutrients that wash into the bay with pollutants and can cause algae blooms.
They’re also resilient, typically grown in protective bags and/or cages, with heavy shells that are much less susceptible than clam shells to predators like green crabs and milky ribbon worms. Oysters are probably the most resistant to red tide, according to Couture, who for seven years managed the DMR’s statewide biotoxin program, including two years when the state was twice declared a “federal disaster” area because of red tide.
Couture, who works as a consultant for Mere Point Oysters and the Quahog Bay Conservancy, said Casco Bay provides “just the right cold and salty water” for oysters to thrive.
Oysters don’t yield a profit for the first year or two, which Couture said might deter some wild shellfish harvesters who have to pay their bills, but she said many have found a way to get a farm going with a relatively small investment and while keeping their day job.
With a limited purpose aquaculture site such as those Niven and Hunter farm on, which cost $50 each, and 5,000 to 10,000 oyster seeds, “a couple thousand is all you would need to get started. And within 18 to 24 months, you’d be able to bring your first small batch to market.”
By the time those seeds were ready to harvest, Casco Bay oysters may be fetching a hefty price. Ray Trombley, a former clammer who operates Casco Bay Shellfish, buys oysters from local farmers and sells them to dealers in Massachusetts.
“I was on the phone last week with Cape Cod Shellfish, and he said, ‘Did you ever hear of Snow Island Oysters?’” Trombley said Thursday. “I said I had. He said, ‘Send down a bag,’ so I sent one down yesterday.”
Trombley hasn’t heard back yet, but he’s confident the review will be like others.
“They sell a lot of oysters there — millions of oysters … from all over the place. New Jersey, Maryland. They’re not like Maine oysters — nice, clean, deep-dish oysters. They’re saltier, and they look good on the plate.”
My guess is we will start to see more Casco Bay Oysters,” Couture said. “It’s exciting to see this many oysters being produced in Maine.”
For Immediate Release
Contact: David Hawkins
May 31, 2017
Operation Oyster Kicks-off Program
to Clean Water in the Two Rivers
On Friday, June 2 the American Littoral Society will launch Operation Oyster, an effort to improve water quality in New Jersey's Two Rivers area. The kick-off event will be held at 2 p.m., at The Oyster Point Hotel, in Red Bank, NJ, which is located near one of the Navesink River's historic shellfish beds.
"The Navesink River has been troubled by water quality problems over the last several years" said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director, "This project is aimed at restoring oysters as an element in the larger effort to heal the rivers."
Oysters act as natural filters for the waters they inhabit. Each oyster can clean up to 50 gallons of water a day. That natural filtration not only removes suspended sediments and algae, which make the water clear, it also helps prevent algae blooms and low oxygen conditions -- which may be linked to recent fish die-off incidents in the river and last year's stinging jellyfish invasion.
This summer the Littoral Society and its partners will begin an experimental program to determine if oysters can still be found in the river's waters. The project will involve hanging shell bags from docks. Those bags will then be monitored to determine if live oysters take up residence.
The bags will be filled with shell from the Littoral Society's "Shuck It, Don't Chuck It" shell recycling program, which has been spearheaded by Doug Douty, owner of The Lusty Lobster seafood company in Highlands, NJ, and a Littoral Society trustee. A number of Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ restaurants participate in the shell recycling program, including Red Bank's Oyster Point Hotel.
Other participating restaurants are: Molly Pitcher Inn, Navesink Country Club, Rumson Country Club, Inlet Café, Woody's Ocean Grille, The Tiger's Tale, 2nd Jetty Seafood, Taka, 26 West on the Navesink, Moby's Lobster Deck, The Old Causeway, Mud City Crab House, Anchor Inn, The Shady Rest Restaurant, and EvenTide Grille.
Additional program partners include The Grove at Shrewsbury and Brook 35 Plaza, both managed by Metrovation, as well as a host of private and corporate dock owners in the Two River's Area and the National Park Service for providing a secure place for curing recycled shell.
The oyster shell recycling program is supported by The Lusty Lobster in Highlands, NJ and a grant from the Marta Heflin Foundation. It was created as a way to reduce waste going to landfill and as an inexpensive method to obtain material for building oyster reefs.
"I'm a life-long resident of this area and have enjoyed swimming, fishing and boating in these rivers since I was a kid," said Doug Douty, owner of The Lusty Lobster and a Littoral Society Trustee. "I'm happy to be part of the work to clean up these waters."
Baby oysters need calcium in order to grow their own shells and a hard surface on which to grow. Oyster shells provide both of those, making them a perfect foundation for new oysters. As a result, the "Shuck It, Don't Chuck It" oyster shell recycling program is a win-win for oyster lovers, businesses and the water in the Two River's estuary.
Efforts are underway to create an educational component that will involve local students playing a role in monitoring the shell bags, which will be checked periodically to determine whether oysters or any other critters are calling them home. The education component is being funded through a grant from The Stone Foundation of New Jersey.
All of this is toward the effort to improve the water quality in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers, which have a long history with oysters.
Historic records show that some of the earliest human inhabitants of the area, the Lenape Indians, considered shellfish from a primary food source. During the 1800s, Navesink Oysters were served in New York City's best restaurants.
However, pollution, disease, and over-development brought an end to commercial shellfish harvesting in the river during the mid-20th century. Since 2015, shellfish harvesting of any kind has been prohibited in most of the Navesink estuary because pollutants in the river make human consumption a health hazard.
The June 2 press event will include the opportunity to join us on the water as we hang shell bags on the dock at the Oyster Point Hotel and other nearby sites.
Dock owners who would like to participate in the Operation Oyster study should contact volunteer coordinator Jen Portman, of Synergy Hot Yoga, at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Bag sponsorships are also available. You can sponsor a bag through the
Littoral Society website or by contacting Laurie Bratone at
Operation Oyster Press Conference
Time: 2 p.m.
Place: The docks at the Oyster Point Inn, 146 Bodman Place, Red Bank, NJ
For more information: Contact Pim Van Hemmen, Asst. Director of the American Littoral Society, at 732-291-0055 or email