Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, September 10, 2015: Talk about just what I was talkin’ about

And on weekends she's a cheerleader ... 

(Actually, is might be kind fun for everyone in the stadium to yell "OG!" ... visiting team would be all, "Oh, s***!")


Thursday, September 10, 2015: Talk about just what I was talkin’ about. Yesterday, I wrote about fast-moving storm cells that drop gallons on one area and far less on others.  This a.m., we got a nice shower in Ship Bottom. Much appreciated. Then I drive just a mile away to Surf City and the roads were flooded. It got dumped upon, likely well over an inch in under an hour.

The weather picture has gotten very iffy with lows forming to the south. All it means is unstable weather through much of the weekend period. Still no much-needed protracted rains. North winds tomorrow could really honk. Light and fishable winds on Saturday and Sunday. Keep a wary eye on the skies … and radar. Pop-ups could happen at any time, though late-afternoon is most likely.

Hard west winds by Monday … and a true feel of fall at night. However, long-range forecasts are all over the maps, so to speak. Of course, every long-term forecast is a crap shoot, despite impressive advances in computer data that integrates weather events over the past 100 years. By categorizing patterns and tendencies, and matching them up with arriving and projected weather data, it allows for at least some semblance of an educated long-range forecast. In other words, data from, say, September of 1958 matches the set-up now occurring. Match that up with other Septembers and you develop viable options regarding what’s coming next.   

Big weather players, unheard of a century back, are jet stream patterns. I run with these a lot when looking at short-term long-range forecasts. Huh?!  Jet streams can offer future insights into overall weather patterns as far ahead as four to seven days. However, in the long-term, jet streams can also be capricious, i.e. they’re best held to short-term long-range forecasts.


As banded rudderfish, Seriola zonata, inexplicably cruise the surf line of NJ in hitherto unseen numbers, the question arises over their edibility. 

Well, they’re not particularly noteworthy as table fare. This makes sense being they’re kin to amberjack, a species I can’t suggest even as an occasional dinner entrée. I’ve tried baked amberjack (Florida). Not again any time soon. Then again, I was once given some that had been smoked and it was excellent – but with smoked fish you’re often getting the smoke and spice essence more than the fish flavor. Exception: Marlin, which might be the tastiest smoked fish out there. Oh, to have a huge chunka smoked black marlin right about now. 

Banded rudderfish apparently make an excellent chunk bait, based on a dozen or so report on them I’ve read from angling websites. To that I offer the obvious: fresh and bloody chunks of any fish can be a “best bait.” 

Below: Rudderfish via bassbarn.com 

I was contacted about my posting of what I believe to be the latest red drumfish regs in NJ , namely Regulation: Red Drum; No Closed Season; one fish 18″ not greater than 27.″

I can only read that as a what might be called a “true slot fish,” twixt 18” and 27”. In fact, it’s the slot size I’ve always supported in the striped bass realm. Some folks questioned this reg. Hey, I'm wide open for a correction.

THANK-YOU, LBT: Near the Holgate parking lot, I had a somewhat amicable beach buggy-related discussion with a middle-aged couple, both bearing NYC accents. Not that I have an accent-driven prejudice there. During my occasional trips to the Big Apple, I've been fully impressed with how friendly everyone is, a far cry from the way those cityites are portrayed.  

Below: Olden Holgate days. 

Anyway, this couple semi-relocated here a number of years back.  I say "semi" because they're seemingly doing one of those fairly common semi-retired split residencies. Hey, that's fine by me. It's really not much different than snowbird “locals” who bolt south the instant the last notes of Christmas carols with the kids fade away. Of course, the question of those here/there folks being able to vote both here and there?

Actually, I’m getting way ahead of the far simpler discussion we had, primarily regarding the use of vehicles on the beaches of Holgate. This couple had been told that it was purely fishermen who pressured the Forsythe Refuge – of which they’re “supporters” – into allowing vehicles on the beach. And, yes, that’s kinda true. It’s a historic usage of state land. However, there was massive support for buggying from many other local groups.

Below: When we separated the north from the south in Holgate. (Has anyone been watching the rebroadcast of Ken Burn's "Civil War" special on Public TV? Still utterly brtual!)

I obligatorily went into the Reader’s Digest version of why state-owned portions of beaches are fully accessible to the public, in fulfillment of the state’s constitution assuring same. I only touched on the Forsythe-owned area of Holgate being a “Wilderness Area” and therefore under stricter preservation guidelines than other areas of the refuge.

I skimmed over the part about surfcaster Edwin B. Forsythe himself trying to doubly assure perpetual usage of Holgate by mobile fishermen in his acquiring a “Wilderness Area” designation for it. To say it backfired is an understatement.

The LBI/NYC couple was more interested than arrogant – and actually listened … as a few more nearby folks gathered to listen in. (I have this uncanny knack of becoming the center of attraction, even though I can’t stand that position, never could.)

The only point of contention came about when an eavesdropper, out of the ignorant blue, suggested Long Beach Township, the legal overseers of that section of south end beachline, has, and I cringingly quote, “Never supported the use of vehicles on the Holgate beachfront.” Say what!?

I have always been proud of the fact LBT has absolutely and fully backed our offseason buggying rights thereabouts. So, to prove that cooperation, I resorted to promising proof – and, in the process, made more frickin’ work for myself. Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut?

Below: A young Edwin B. Forsythe. (Republican Edwin B. Forsythe, served in the House of Representatives for 14 years. He was an ardent fisherman and nature lover. He died of cancer at his long-time home in Moorestown in 1984. He was only 68 years old. He was succeeded (after redistricting) by our buddy Rep. Jim Saxton, R.)

Returning to my office, I had to sort through piles of paperwork to come up with LBT’s legal action (resolution) in support of a Forsythe Refuge “Option” allowing assorted beach uses, including buggying, on the state-owned portion of Holgate. The resolution is down below.

I split it in two. Hopefully, it can be viewed on a computer screen -- or enlarged on a handheld device. I could not find the original documents offered by the Forsyth Refuge, which obviously had presented a series of options.  However, in this instance, all I was trying to do was prove LBT’s position on public and buggy use along certain portions of the frontbeach adjacent to the refuge. 


Hi Jay. Here's a quick report on Monday Fishing on Miss Barnegat Light, 8-1 trip. Fishing was slow. Only 2 fluke keepers that I saw. We bagged 5 cocktail blues, enough for dinner. Most went home empty handed. Sea Robins skate and a few sea bass but the bass are out season now so all went back in the Atlantic. The one exceptional event was that someone nearby me on the boat hooked a Manta Ray. The mate cut the line since the fish was estimated to be near 100lbs. I saw it come to the surface and it was magnificent. I felt bad that it left us with a hook in it. I was with my 23 year old daughter. A Labor Day party boat trip has become something of a tradition for us. Both of my girls are Township lifeguards and the only day I was able to get them both free has been Labor Day. My younger daughter (19) was already back at Rutgers and she was sad she missed the trip this year. Regards, Brian


The crowds have left Long Beach Island, and with fall about to arrive, Beach Haven is still enjoying the bites of the summer fish species while noticing the arrival of some fall action. Captain Bob Gerkens on the “Hot Tuna” reports his last overnight trip to the canyons was slow on bigeye tuna but other fish picked up the slack. His crew ended up with 10 yellowfin tuna and a half dozen skipjack tuna. Before heading in they stopped to pick up a couple of tile fish for great eating later. Captain Bob says the bigeye tuna are still around and he has plans to pick up more of them in future trips. He also is pleased to see the yellowfin tuna show up to provide some variety. He has also been hearing some reports of longfin tuna showing up on the chunk and troll. Captain Carl Sheppard of the “StarFish” continues to load up on the fluke at the inshore artificial reef sites while also finding some good action on small panfish in the bay. Two families from New Hampshire, the Riddles and the Hogans, fished with Captain Carl for two straight days. Denny Riddle topped all of the anglers with her 26-inch fluke in the ocean while her grandson, four year old Liam, performed well in the bay on blow fish and small black sea bass. Captain Fran Verdi on the “Francesca Marie” is hoping to get as many fluke trips in as he can before the season closes on September 26. Already Captain Fran says he is looking forward to the fall striper season as well as black sea bass re-opening on October 22. He is still running his annual contest of a future free open boat fishing trip for the largest fluke caught for the year. Currently Dan Wade is in the lead for this year. There will also be some new Sharkbite bucktails going to the winner. Additional information on the captains and boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.bhcfa.net


Fatty mahi

Dante Soriente's photo.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Delaware Online] Molly Murray, The News Journal- September 10, 2015 
If it seems like there were more sharks than usual near the coast this spring, that’s because there were. A team of federal researchers, part of the longest-running coastal shark research program along the East Coast, captured and tagged more than 2,800 sharks — the most in 29 years of population monitoring before the summer season got underway.
“We caught fish throughout the survey,” said Lisa Natanson, a scientist at the Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center and leader of the coastal shark survey. “Sandbar sharks were all along the coast, while most of the dusky sharks were off North Carolina. We captured a bull shark for the first time since 2001 and recaptured 10 sharks previously tagged by our program and two sharks tagged by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.”
No one is sure why the numbers were up. It could have been the fish were simply concentrated in the study area from Florida north to Delaware during the time the sampling occurred. That could have been driven by any number of factors ranging from water temperatures to availability of prey, said Shelley Dawicki, a spokeswoman for the science center.
Scientists continue to review the data. In addition, dozens of sharks were tagged and that will allow researchers to monitor those animals.
“Sharks are very vulnerable. Even though they are at the top of the oceanic food chain and can live for decades, they are fragile in the sense that compared to other fish they grow very slowly, reproduce late in life and have only a few offspring,” said Karyl Brewster-Geisz of NOAA Fisheries Office of Highly Migratory Species. “An increase in the numbers caught and tagged during each survey indicates a slow climb back. It is very good news for shark populations and for the ecosystem.”
During the last coastal shark survey, in 2012, 1,831 sharks were captured and tagged. In this survey, the team captured 2,835 sharks. The most common species were sandbar, Atlantic sharpnose, dusky and tiger sharks, but 13 different species were captured in all. In addition, there were 16 species of other fish.
The survey, which started in 1986, is done every two to three years. It covers the coastal waters of Florida where sharks congregate in the winter and spring, north to Delaware, where many shark species migrate in the spring and summer.
When the survey started, there was no management program for the species and the population was in decline, Dawicki said. Federal management began in 1993, and the researchers started to see the capture numbers rise in 2001, she said.
The survey period for 2015 range was from April 4 through May 22 and used long-line fishing methods where individual, baited hooks are spaced along a long line.
“The number of fish this year was amazing. We captured and tagged more fish than ever before, but once again weather was a factor. It started off nice, but conditions worsened as we headed north,” Natanson said.
This year’s shark collection included three white sharks, each of which was tagged and released. All were less than 8 feet long. In addition, a bull shark was captured. Both have been rare in recent sampling efforts. The largest shark was a 12.5-foot-long tiger shark captured off the coast of North Carolina.
“All the survey data are provided to NOAA Fisheries managers to monitor the health and abundance of shark populations in the Atlantic,” Natanson said. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of sharks in every survey since 2001; that reflects management efforts to conserve the populations of various shark species.”

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