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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, August 09, 2016: While we’re already entertaining thoughts of September

Everyone on the force is afraid to ask Agent Chan how the hell he blows open locked gates that way ... 

Trying to convert his ballerina daughter into becoming a second baseman. Oh, nice going, dad!  

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I'm tempted to go middle-of-the-road for the upcoming election ... Then again ...  

Tuesday, August 09, 2016: While we’re already entertaining thoughts of September being just around the bend, that bend will soon be blurred by the heat. We have some serious torridness booking our way, arriving on the wings of day after day after day of south to southwest winds, right into next week. Nothing hard; light in the a.m. and maybe 15 to 18 late in the day.

The air temps will ratchet up to over 100 in the Pines by the weekend. We’ll be somewhat saved by LBI’s natural AC but a warm ocean and a bake-down sun will have the beach sand so hot there’s no safe barefootin’ across it. I bring that up since the wide-ass replen beaches have actually sent folks to the ER for second-degree foot burns. I was among the many who had some fist-degree blistering, in Harvey Cedars. 

As to this parade of south wind days also ushering in cold upwelled water, it’s not as much a given as we move later into the season. I’m not sure why that is but when we pass this certain seasonal point, south wind can drive in mild water -- especially in early fall, though that water can get a low-viz brown.

This photo of Nick H. and a beauty of sheepshead he caught down Stone Harbor way always gets folks asking about targeting these highly edible beauties, which sell for top-shelf prices down south. I always give folks an answer they don’t want to hear: You gotta dive for them, mainly on nearshore wrecks. I’ve done dives in the past where I saw them all over the place, freely mixing in with seabass and tog. The weird part is they wouldn’t go for baited hooks.

There is one place to actually fish for sheepshead but I think it’s off-limits right about now, that’s the “Causeway Big Bridge.” It not like they jump out there but I know the very few regulars, BHW boating folks, who faithfully work those concrete stanchions/pylons and they sometime get a dozen sheepsheads a summer, which is a dozen more than anywhere else. They fish them just like tog. A long-standing state-record sheepshead came from right there.

One time, I dove those bridge supports. I saw a sheepshead and some blackfish … and I was outta there. Year of underwater looking-about has given me a keen sense when an underwater area just isn’t right. I had that feeling so badly there I didn’t stay under more than five minutes. And I could have stayed as long as I wanted since I was using something called a Brownie’s Third Lung -- a so-called “hookah,” technically surface supplied air (SSA) system.  

Below: via http://www.onthewater.com ...William Catino of Ventnor, New Jersey, reeled in the new state record Sheepshead on October 14, 2014. The fish weighed in at 19 pounds, 3 ounces eclipsing the previous state record by 2 pounds. William was fishing off a dock in Longport using a rod and Penn reel when he landed his catch.

William Catino of Ventnor, New Jersey, reeled in the new state record Sheepshead on October 14, 2014. The fish weighed in at 19 pounds, 3 ounces.

William Catino of Ventnor, New Jersey, reeled in the new state record Sheepshead on October 14, 2014. The fish weighed in at 19 pounds, 3 ounces.

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My 14 lb 10 oz Flounder Story. So.... in 1972, right around this time of the summer, I was out fishing with my parent's on my Uncle's boat this time in Little Egg Inlet. We were going to move to another spot so we had to reel in our lines. I was having a hard time so my Dad thought I had snagged the bottom. After feeling the rod he said, no you've got something, reel it up. So I reeled and I reeled and pulled and reeled until finally some color could be seen. "Oh its just a skate" He says. 
At first. 
Then it was " *#@&* %^@*(# ! Raymond! Get the net!" lol Turned out it was the biggest Fluke (summer flounder) we had ever seen! 
So Uncle Ray comes over with the net for my Dad. All of a sudden, the fish came off the hook just as Dad scooped it up in the net! 
Then.... the end of the net snapped! Uncle Ray leaned waaaay over the side and caught the netting in his fingers and flung it back up into the boat. So hard, that the fish flew out of the net and was about to go over the other side of the boat! Fortunately, ( but not for her ) my Aunt Hilda was standing there and the fish hit her and fell down on the deck! The pic of me barely being able to hold it up with one hand was taken in front of the 27 Owens my Dad had before getting the 32 Pacemaker. And the newspaper clipping from the Beach Haven Times and Beachcomber newspaper from the Fisherman's Headquarters at the causeway, which is still in business there today. 
So there is my little trip down memory lane for this evening. And now you know.... 
The Rest of the Story
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What a privilege to fish with Nick Stanzyk. Two bites two fish great day! We all had an awesome time. You need to book a charter and experience swordfishing on the Freeman with Nick at Bud and Mary's.

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I love taking friends fishing especially when they catch a flattie like this one!

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DEP'S ARTIFICIAL REEF PROGRAM RESUMES DEPLOYMENTS

COMPROMISE OVER ACCESS TO REEFS RESULTS IN RESTORED FEDERAL FUNDING


(16/P74) TRENTON - The Department of Environmental Protection's artificial reef deployment program is back on course as a result of restoration of federal funding made possible by a compromise the Christie Administration reached between recreational anglers and commercial fishermen over access to the popular reefs.


The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife plans to sink as many as 10 vessels by the end of fall to become part of the its network of artificial reefs. Two ships were deployed earlier this summer and the third deployment took place today at the Axel Carlson Reef, just southeast of Manasquan Inlet, with the sinking of the 65-foot crew boat NY Harbor Charlie. 


"Artificial reefs create important habitat for many types of marine life, and attract fish that are popular with recreational anglers," said Commissioner Bob Martin. "Our artificial reefs are an important part of the economy of the Jersey Shore because they are so popular with anglers as well as sport divers. We are grateful to all our partners in the recreational and commercial fishing industries for working with us to get this program back on track."


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing $119,250 to the artificial reef program because the DEP was able to reach a compromise that allows commercial interests to have continued access to portions of two reefs in state waters and calls for the construction of a new reef for recreational fishing, also in state waters. State waters extend three miles from the shoreline.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had suspended the funding due to concerns that commercial fishing was intruding on and hampering recreational fishing on artificial reefs in state waters, which are funded by excise taxes on recreational fishing gear and motor boat fuel. The compromise was reached in 2013, and codified in rule changes that were adopted by the DEP in November 2015.


Under the new rule, commercial fishing operations are permitted to continue using portions of two existing reefs in state waters off Sandy Hook and Manasquan. State waters extend to three miles offshore. Recreational anglers will continue to have access to all portions of these reefs.


The DEP is matching the federal money for the program with $39,750 from state appropriations and a donation from a firm that creates concrete reef structures.


As part of its efforts this year, the DEP's artificial reef program will perform an archeological survey on the new reef called for under the compromise, which will be developed off Manasquan Inlet. The program also will be conducting an archeological survey for construction of an additional reef in Delaware Bay, which the Division of Fish and Wildlife has been planning for years.


The Division of Fish and Wildlife currently holds permits for 15 artificial reef sites - 13 in federal waters and two in state waters. The reefs, encompassing a total of 25 square miles of ocean floor, are constructed from a variety of materials, such as rocks, concrete and steel, even old ships and barges. These materials provide surfaces for a wide diversity of marine organisms to grow, ultimately providing food and habitat for many species of fish and shellfish. The reefs are placed to be within easy reach by boat of 12 inlets.


DEP studies have shown that these materials are colonized quickly with organisms such as algae, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, blue crabs, and sea fans that attract smaller fish which, in turn, attract black sea bass, tautog, summer flounder, scup, lobster and other sought-after species.


"The artificial reef program has a long and proven track record of enhancing ecological diversity and productivity," said Brandon Muffley, Administrator of the Division of Fish and Wildlife's Marine Fisheries Administration. "Our studies have shown that colonization begins in as little as a couple weeks."


As part of a $250,000 broader assessment of marine resources currently under way, the DEP and Rutgers University will be evaluating which artificial reef structure materials attract the most fish.


Artificial reefs are extremely popular with anglers and divers, contributing to the state's economy through the creation of tourism opportunities and jobs. New Jersey's commercial fishing industry ranks 7th in the nation in retail sales, and supports $327 million in salaries and wages and nearly 13,000 jobs.


Recreational saltwater fishing brings in more than $640 million in retail sales and is directly responsible for nearly 10,000 jobs and more than $242 million in tax revenues, including $165 million in state and local taxes.


The Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club and the Ann E. Clark Foundation/Sportfishing Club were key partners in today's deployment of the NY Harbor Charlie.


For more information on New Jersey's Artificial Reef Program, visit: 
http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/artreef.htm


For related DEP news releases, visit: 
www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2015/15_0100.htm

www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2013/13_0025.htm
 and
www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2015/15_0012.htm


DEP Photos/Top: NY Harbor Charlie being deployed; bottom: Charter fishing at reef site
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Jerry Postorino added 3 new photos.
Fish Monger II Mon 8/8 - Rutgers research team back for another trip. Plenty to sample from at every place we went to... almost every bait down resulted in a fish. Seabass porgy blacfish fluke . Again glad to b a part of getting em the data they need ! Thanks guys

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Current situation

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Older pic but one of my favorite surf fishing shots. 





Tom Lynch photo.
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Today's dive at Beavertail yielded my Photo #7 in The Fishing Photo Challenge. This school of stripers was exactly where I expected to find them...working the edge of a rocky crag that dropped off into deep water. There was plenty of suspended matter in the water making it difficult to get a clear picture, but what you are looking at is the way it looks down there when a school of linesiders scour a reef for food. I nominate 
Samuel Orr to join in the challenge and start posting photos each day.
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Call them bait. Call them forage species. In any case, now they're protected.

They’re known by names like greeneyes, pearlsides and halfbeaks, and they’re not marbles nor birds nor precious stones.

They’re fish – more specifically, forage fish, little guys that the big boys like tuna, marlins and whales gorge on out in the ocean.

You can just call them bait.

On Monday, a regional fisheries panel took a historic step to protect them – not just for their own good but for the good of the food chain in which they’re a vital link.

In a hotel conference room overlooking the ocean, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council adopted an amendment to safeguard more than 50 species of forage critters.

It’s the first East Coast panel and only the second of eight U.S. regional ocean councils to decide that creatures like sand lances, horned lanternfish and warty bobtail squids deserve a protection plan. The council that oversees the waters off California, Oregon and Washington paved the way with a similar action last year.

Monday’s decision was “a huge leap forward in fishery management,” said Joseph Gordon, who helps oversee ocean-related issues for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“These little fish are the unsung heroes of the ocean,” Gordon said. “They’re what feeds everything, from seabirds to seals to whales to sharks. They’re the lifeblood of our Atlantic Ocean.”

Now, commercial fishermen in federal waters from New York to North Carolina can’t start targeting dozens of these lower-rung species in the ocean food frenzy without scientific evidence that it wouldn’t harm the larger ecosystem.

Rick Robins, the mid-Atlantic council’s chairman, said the panel is trying to get ahead of fishing demands.

“Too often we’ve had fisheries that developed relatively quickly in the absence of any science and the absence of an adequate management plan, and those fisheries had to be rebuilt as a consequence,” Robins said.

He knows from firsthand experience. The Suffolk resident is in the seafood processing business and was at the forefront of an explosion in the harvesting of a small shark known as the spiny dogfish back in the 1990s. The species was decimated by overfishing before regulators could develop a long-term protection plan.

Unlike dogfish, not many of the creatures on the list approved Monday are eaten much by humans.

But some could be, and others might become targets for processors of fish oil or fish meal. Already, a fish called menhaden is harvested in huge numbers for such products. That species and some other forage fishes already have management plans. Because of that, they weren’t included in Monday’s action, which applies to what’s known as “unmanaged species.”

The list of the newly protected – not just fish, but squids, krill and other creatures – was whittled down from more than 270 candidates.

What’s left reads like a fantasia of the scary, strange and stupendous – despite their relatively small size.

The neon flying squid can soar in schools more than 100 feet above the ocean at speeds of more than 11 meters per second – “faster than Usain Bolt!” screamed a headline in Britain’s Daily Nail newspaper, referring to Jamaica’s record-setting Olympic sprinter.

The fluorescence emitted from the eyes of a fish called the shortnose greeneye allows it to unmask even-tinier prey hiding in the bluish depths.

The American sand lance congregates in large schools near the surface, but it also burrows in the sand.

Sea angels are slugs that can swim far more daintily than their order would suggest.

No one dissented Monday from conveying these creatures new protections.

But the meeting wasn’t without controversy.

There were debates and impassioned speeches about whether to include several species at the larger end of the spectrum.

Representatives of some commercial fishing companies argued against including bullet mackerel, frigate mackerel and false albacore, also known as little tuna.

They’re forage staples for some larger fish, conceded David Wallace, a Maryland-based consultant to fishing companies, but they’re also ferocious predators themselves, he said. In reality, he said, “Every fish is a forage fish except orcas, and they’re not fish.”

Recreational fishermen and some conservationists argued to retain all three species on the list.

The council voted to keep the two mackerels on the list but jettison the heftier false albacore, which can weigh 20 pounds or more.

Council members also voted to set a limit on harvests for one other fish – the chub mackerel – for which a small fishery now exists, but which hasn’t had a management plan.

The few disagreements shouldn’t overshadow the larger consensus for forage fish protection, Gordon said.

Robins agreed, and said he was gratified that in his eight years as chairman – a tenure that ends with his departure from the council later this week – the panel has continued to move toward a more holistic approach to fisheries management.

Last year, council members voted to create a 38,000-square-mile zone of protection for deep-sea corals. That zone works out to nearly the size of Virginia.

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