Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Below: This killer Dachshund isn't afraid of no ghost (crabs).
Below: Things instantly went downhill for Stu when his wife proudly announced she had parallel parked the yacht.
Another house where you'll never flip hotcakes alone.
Below: The man of the house, eh?
On a far prettier note ...
Tuesday, June 15, 2021: I think I’m one of the last seed planters, meaning I forego buying flats of pre-grown herb and veggie plants. By going bare roots, I have a strategy. The seeds grow so slowly that I know my ADHD will set in and I’ll lose interest in the slow growers. Thereafter, I won’t be bothered by a whole summer of tediously tending growths, including weeds.
Of course, I let the seedling commence with their growy thing, helped along mainly by summer rains. My hands-offishness make them grow up tough, having to do root combat with every encroaching weed.
If my seeds somehow miraculously grow -- and I do go with some Miracle Grow early-on -- they’re bad asses, meaning they more kick-ass health properties than their pampered equivalents.
And if the drought comes for July, August and September? That’s the one time I’ve been known to take some pity by setting up my power sprayer, so I can then non laboriously sit on my back porch steps and leisurely shoot some soothing spray over their way. I think some of the parched plants hang out their tongue just to get an extra drip.
But I digress – from what, I have no idea.
Below is a fairly lengthy fishing rundown. Prior to that, I talk about running down deer. No, not on purpose!
FYI, there’s a supremely high likelihood that anyone inclined to purposely run over or torture animals just for the sake of seeing them suffer has dangerous homicidal/psychopathic tendencies – and should, therefore, be … run over and tortured. Hmmm.
DEER DOs, DON’Ts, AND DENTS. The deer roadkill toll has been typically gruesome of late, as evidenced by DOAs lying on roadway shoulders, as if just comfortably resting, which is exactly what some friends of mine would tell their easily traumatized kids when passing sprawled out roadkills.
Considering how many folks pass through high deer-kill areas when driving here for visits -- with almost as many locally traveling Route 9, deer-strike central -- I’ll offer a quick primer on driving deer-safe in a state with more whitetails per square mile than anywhere else in the nation.
Unfortunately, there is no magical avoidance advice to assure motorists from what can be a very costly metallic meet-up twixt vehicle and a large, muscular, oft-bounding mammal. Yes, deer are very muscular, close to being hard as rocks when hit.
Obviously, driving vigilance reigns supreme when in known deer-crossing points. Those points can range from heavily pinetreed forests to increasingly common semi-developed residential areas ripe with heavily vegetated yards. That pretty much means that all of off-Island Ocean County presents a constant deer-crossing danger.
Per insurers, most deer strikes occur at sunset and throughout the night. That said, not long ago I cringingly watched a large doe get hit under the midday sun on Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor, near the golfer crossings. It seemingly survived, which is sometimes the outcome of deer hit at lower speeds. This evokes the old driving adage that speed kills. In the case of deer strikes, speed also costs, repair-wise. The speedier the hit, the more damage to all involved.
Now to some insider deer-avoidance advice, gleaned from chatting with those who contend with deer crossings at every local turn.
The most vital pass-along is the maxim, “It’s the second one that gets you.” So true. The deer seen crossing safely ahead often belies what is yet to come. Less verbalized are cases where it’s the third or fourth crossers that meet a car’s grill, ruining a ride. This time of year, subsequent crossing deer are frequently young with no road smarts whatsoever, often hot on mom’s hooves.
This youngster has unpredictability written all over it. Go into red alert if seen when driving.
Another bit of advice flies in the face of some piss-poor advice found at insurance websites, like Insurance Information, which suggests “Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away.” Another insurance company tries to go all naturey, advising, “Honk your horn when you see a deer near the road. This is the most effective way for deer to know where the car is coming from and where they are headed. Their instincts should do the rest.”
Oh, please. As if a deer – sporting hearing as acute as it comes -- needs to know which direction a vehicle is coming from … or headed. As to instincts, that’s what gets them suddenly bolting across the road toward a place they feel safer.
Do NOT beep the horn when Jersey deer are standing about on roadway shoulders. There’s a far greater likelihood of such a sound-off sparking otherwise calm deer into suddenly scrambling every which away – and all at once! Again, young deer are most inclined to bolt homeward, right in front of traffic, at the sound of a horn.
Thinking in terms of deer seen lollygagging about on the shoulder of a highway, most motorists, upon smartly slowing, can often get a read from a deer’s eyes and body language. Seriously, you don’t need to be an animal behaviorist to detect a deer with spooked eyes or, most of all, tensed body posturing, both being signs of a bolt-ready creature.
Below: These deer are observant but not overly antsy. Bolt across threat is low to moderate. Which one is most tensed? Drop to 30-mph-ish.
FACTOID: A deer on the brink of bolting offers virtually no bodily movements or changes in stance indicators … before going balls out, even in the case of a doe. Never should it be said, “It was standing perfectly still so I didn’t expect it to jump out.” A dead-still deer indicates it’s emotionally locked and loaded.
This deer is eyeing the road with bad intent -- Do not trust that look for an instant. I'd drop to 10 mph.
Just as telling – and relieving – is a deer calmly feeding roadside, head bent toward the ground, barely raising head or eyebrow with a vehicle’s approach.
Returning to a motorist’s observational skills, a deer chewing on grass, even with head raised, is almost always a safe drive-by.
This brings up one of the long standing potentially deadly motoring decisions regarding deer – or any form of wildlife – suddenly bounding across the highway. Should a driver swerve to avoid a strike? I can only offer logic and the law of survival averages, which dictates never swerving off the road, or, seemingly obvious, into oncoming traffic.
Just the headline from an theyeshivaworld.com/ article says it all:
"Large Family Hospitalized After Their Van Swerves To Avoid Deer On Garden State Parkway."
(Photo is after Jaws of Life opened the van like a tin can.)
Remember that Geico commercial were squirrels were purposely forcing vehicles off the road to then give each other high fives? Not that funny when you listen closely to the subsequent screech of brakes and the breaking glass impact when the driver goes the swerve route. It’s always a motorist’s call but heaven forbid there’s family onboard and a swerve route is taken.
Circling back to the fact that most deer v. vehicle incidents happen in low light or night conditions. If there’s an upside to nighttime strikes, it’s how quickly they play out, seldom allowing for swerves or such. However, I know of a nearby nighttime case where two bicyclists were hit when a small truck swerved onto the shoulder to miss an injured deer in the road. The driver never saw the bikers, who had stopped to help the deer.
As to what should be done when a deer hit has occurred, the advice of insurance companies is to get pics, take down information, and contact the local police. Do not approach a downed deer -- though one famed case has a damaged deer instead approach the driver. Here's something from Buzzfeed:
I’d say most deer hits go unreported -- at least officially, to the police. Reports to insurance companies is a whole other almost-always-done matter.
Please realize that there is a degree of human kindness in reporting a struck deer to police since the animal might have only been injured, not killed. Worse, it might still be in the roadway, presenting a road hazard, as was the above-mentioned accident scenario.
Another assistance police can offer is how to utilize a DOA deer, as in butchering. On that subject, things get a tad complicated.
Per an nj1015.com/ article,
“The Garden State is one of 27 states in America, according to NBC News, that has some kind of roadkill consumption law on the books, but is the only one that restricts regulations to deer only.
“J.B. Person of Game Butchers in Lebanon both processes locally-killed deer, and sells legally inspected venison meat from New Zealand.
“He said anyone who wishes to have their deer processed, whether it was hunted by someone with a valid license or just picked up off the road, must either call a special state hotline (855-I-HUNT-NJ) or go online to register the animal.
“As far as roadkill is concerned, Person said it's helpful to know what town you're in when you pick up your deer. ‘Road kills can be processed as well, but whoever picks it up or wants it done has to obtain a possession permit from the local police department,’ he said.
All that information can be found in the state's annual Hunting & Trapping Digest, issued by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Read More: Roadkill deer in NJ — You can eat it, but there are some rules | https://nj1015.com/roadkill-deer-in-nj-you-can-eat-it-but-there-are...
Below: Should I wonder if this would still qualify as surfcasting? I say it does, more so on the premise it's surely not boat fishing.
RUNDOWN: Speak of the devils and they arrive … speaking of bluefish. While a good week doth not a spring season make, a surge of medium-sized blues, mainly cocktails with some near slammer size mixed in, suddenly showed up, especially around Barnegat Inlet – or is it Bonicutt Inlet? The arrival delighted anglers who had been trying day after day to find these toothy critters.
Last week, while rating the bluefish season as piss-poor overall, I had mentioned a serious push of blues up in the Raritan. While it doesn’t seem likely that same biomass sank down this way, going counter to spring’s northerly migration pull, it’s not impossible for these super speedy buggers to change venues in a matter of nothing flat. More likely, though, ours was a different impulse of fish, possibly coming out of the east.
Regardless of arrival direction, some folks maxed out on them, a tasty accomplishment, though bluefish flesh does not always freeze up that well. It’s far more functional to dry, smoke or jerk. Amazingly delicious.
Bigger bass are persisting along the beachfront. I saw pics of a couple impressive cows, one caught on a green-tailed Ava jig. That’s an oddity considering the fish was pushing 50 pounds, a size rarely taken on metals. Other smaller bass have also come to light. That makes it well worth getting the heck out there to throw some bait and plugs -- before things get too touristy to easily ply surfside waters.
I saw a photo of a major tiderunner weakfish. It was a bona fide beauty, though an accompanying comment, “Maybe they’re making a comeback” might be pushing things a bit. It’s still fine to see such meaty weakie.
Anglers working The Dike at High Bar Harbor have had no such luck with weakies. If there is a comeback in progress, Myers Hole should be loaded with sparklers. Nonetheless, that one big hookup has sparked me into getting back to throwing jigs at Myers, though it’s tougher and tougher to find a time when boats haven’t settled in thereabouts, anchoring almost flush to shore, dropping off beachgoers. No, I’m not griping. I’ll never stop enjoying the sight of folks having a slew of fun. I can always get up at sunrise on a weekday if I wanted plugging solitude.
A highly noticeable slew of comely black drumfish moved into the Island Beach State Park surflines. At least one of the dozen or more taken by surfcasters was pushing 50 pounds. I know of only two recently caught on LBI.
Looking a load into it, these black drum might be a whole new pulse, above and beyond the push earlier this spring. That’s a potentially very good sign. Times ago, when this was a prime gamefish species on LBI, anglers reported they traditionally arrived in waves, right into summer -- where it was alleged that they fouled up bayside clamming. Crabbing, maybe. Clamming, nah. Rays present a far greater threat to clam beds than black drumfish ever did.
I realize the following might seem dry reading to some folks but the essence is huge for the millions of Americans who regularly dine of aquaculture products, especially salmon.
Recognizing that “unsustainable and irresponsible practices across the aquaculture feed-supply chain risk undoing the positive impact of the farming industry,” ASC's new standards requires feed mills to meet a series of “strict environmental and social requirements; source ingredients from socially responsible suppliers; and use environmentally responsible raw materials.”
The standard addresses issues at both the supply chain and raw material levels, according to ASC, and its requirements on reporting of performance can enhance “the transparency of the industry, reward environmental sustainability, and assist future research into responsible feed.”
A 14-month “effective period” for the standard has been enacted, giving auditors, feed manufacturers, and suppliers time to acclimate themselves with the process and prepare for certification. Once the period concludes, the standard will take effect in autumn of 2022, when feed mills become eligible for certification, ASC said.
“Farms will then have 24 months to switch to ASC compliant feed in order to continue meeting the ASC farm standards,” the certifier noted.
ASC said the Netflix film “Seaspiracy” has inspired “much debate about the impact of the marine ingredients used by fish farms.”
“ASC’s feed standard makes clear that while certified mills must source increasing levels of environmentally sustainable ingredients, marine ingredients in fact make up a minority of feed ingredients, with around 75 percent of global aquafeed ingredients derived from agriculture – crops like soy, wheat, and rice. These have their own impacts, notably deforestation and land conversion, which are often overlooked in debates about the industry,” it said.
ASC CEO Chris Ninnes said responsibly-sourced aquaculture feed is necessary for feeding the world's increasing population.
“Aquaculture is already providing over half of the seafood consumed around the world, livelihoods to millions of people, and without it we will not be able to achieve food security for a growing global population with a low carbon footprint. But this positive impact will be undone unless the feed used by the industry is sourced responsibly. ASC has spent the last decade incentivizing producers to reduce the impacts of their farms, and now we’re spreading this approach to the wider supply chain,” Ninnes said. “Marine ingredients play an important role providing vital nutrients to farmed fish, but like everything they must be used and sourced responsibly. Rather than driving substitution of one type of ingredient with another, the ASC feed standard recognizes that all ingredients – marine and agricultural – can have benefits as well as impacts, and must be addressed holistically.”
Many seafood producers and feed manufacturers “are already taking this issue seriously,” Ninnes said, adding that with its new standard, ASC seeks to “reward them and incentivize others to follow suit to tackle what could be the biggest threat to the industry’s reputation.”
The ASC feed standard essentially extends the certifier’s approach to responsible aquaculture to aquafeed-producing feed mills and their ingredients suppliers, ASC said.
“These mills will be the facilities audited against the standard, but they and farms will be given time to ensure their supply chains meet ASC requirements. The standard will also incentivize more feed mills to work towards certification to meet growing demand from ASC farms,” ASC said.
Social responsibility factors into the new standard, ASC said, with independent auditors required to verify that feed mills are not using forced or child labor, are paying and treating their staffs fairly, and are not discriminating on any grounds.
“They must also be responsible neighbors, communicating proactively with their local communities,” ASC said. “Certified feed mills are required to conduct due diligence on their supply chains to adhere to these principles as well, ensuring an impact in areas where the risk of these issues are more prevalent.”
Additionally, feed mills certified under the standard must show they’re working to reduce aquaculture’s carbon footprint along the supply chain by recording and reporting their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. ASC said feed mills will also have to work to improve energy efficiency and use of renewables, and reduce their water usage.
An improvement model for marine ingredients is used by the standard, requiring feed mills "to source from more sustainable fisheries over time,” ASC said. ISEAL-member organizations the Marine Stewardship Council and MarinTrust “play a crucial role in this mechanism,” according to ASC.
“Intermediate steps are recognized fishery improvement projects [FIPs] leading-up to each scheme. Ultimately, the major volume of marine ingredients needs to be derived from MSC fisheries,” ASC said. “The model offers a unique opportunity for feed mills to work together with their fishmeal and fish oil suppliers to meet the increasing requirements over time.”
MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes said the organization welcomes the ASC feed standard as “an incentive to drive progress in sustainable fishing.”
“Improving the sustainability of fishfeed [and] marine ingredients has a vital role to play in tackling overfishing across the globe, due to the large volume of wild-caught seafood required for aquaculture. We therefore welcome the launch of the ASC feed standard as an important step forward in improving the sustainability of this fast-growing seafood sector,” Howes said. “The launch of this new standard will give MSC-certified fisheries a preferred status with feed producers, many of which have ambitious objectives to only source certified sustainable marine raw materials in their feed. This should serve as a powerful incentive to other fisheries across the globe to improve their sustainability credentials, and in turn, help protect marine environments.”
Plant-based ingredients, too, are subject to requirements under the standard, ASC said.
“For plant-based ingredients, as with marine based, mills will have to record and report all ingredients that make up over one percent of a feed, and will need to take steps to ensure they have been sourced from supply chains with low-risk for illegal deforestation,” ASC said. “Additionally, they will have to assess the risk of high-risk and high-volume ingredients contributing towards deforestation or land conversion, and must commit and report publicly to transitioning to a supply chain free from these key negative impacts. This mechanism is based on internationally recognized steps by the Accountability Framework initiative (AFi) to work towards ethical supply chains.”
Moving forward, ASC plans on providing additional documents for auditors and feed mills with guidance on the standard’s implementation.
“ASC is also working with mills to ensure these documents are appropriate in a practical setting, and looking at ways to make the audit process as efficient as possible,” the organization said. “During the currrent period, alongside this guidance workshops will be held for stakeholders to learn more and ask questions. ASC staff across the world will be reaching out to their stakeholders in various sectors to explain the benefits and requirements of the new standard, and how they could be impacted.”
Photo courtesy of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council