Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: I haven’t forgotten this blog, a favorite pastime of mine ... Sunworship the hell out of COVID-19

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This is a picture of an asteroid crater in Arizona - Look how close it came to hitting the visitors center!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: I haven’t forgotten this blog, a favorite pastime of mine -- as much to offer some info to readers as to help me record life, a bit journal-like. Admittedly, there's a ton of writings and memoir stuff I can't share. I feel I've lived through more than most folks. 

The 900-pound virus wafting about America has utterly consumed my work time, while adding enough of an extra newspaper workload to exhaust anyone in this business. Entire days are needed just to sort through the incoming press releases being nervously issued by every governmental, business and organizational agency near the shore. This weeks SandPaper will surely display what I mean. 

I reject any press release offerings that take an overly prophetic look into how the upcoming summer might go. Admittedly, it momentarily looks egregiously awful for our tourist-driven bars and restaurants, a lot can change between now and, say, July 4th -- the traditional start of what I’ll call high summer. Now through May is preseason, i.e. low summer. June is this odd and unpredictable month, replete with a once-rowdy Memorial Day holiday. However, it can go touristy -- should the weather allow -- or run close to winterishly slow, if cool and drippy.

Of obvious summer impact is the growing likelihood that schools will not return to normal hours. How does that hit here? While home schooling is in place, it won't take parents long to feel saddled with kids who are becoming growingly rammy in closed-in home environments. Parents and kids alike could see the coastal and near-coastal homes as a perfect place to home school -- while offering some out-and-about time to essentially air-out the kids.

Anglers out of work or with reduced hours, will get word of the brisk spring bass bite (see below) and hear shoreward. 

There is already an odd influx of summer season folks, based on license plates and also, in my case, lights on in houses that have been dark all winter.

As if things can get any odder than these days of COVID-19, I think we might have an abnormal showing of day hoppers, as opposed to stayers-over. While a cohort feels the beaches may be bare, I’m as much as marketing – in an altruistic way – the bennies of avoiding The Virus by sun worshipping and ocean plunging.

In fact, down below I’ll offer a small section of my weekly SandPaper column -- while hyping our paper’s website as the finest place you’ll find for localized COVID-19 updates.  Click ...  https://www.thesandpaper.net/

First, here’s a quick angling look-about:

RUNDOWN: There is a goodly load of winter flounder working their way out of the bay mud, slowly heading for the inlets. They’re hungry and easily drawn into a ground mussel or clam chum line – to then be coaxed to suck in small pieces of bloodworm on small hooks.

When the sun is out, it’s a breeze for all anglers onboard a vessel to legally bag two blackbacks per angler, per day. Minimum keeper size is 12 inches.

Without jinxing it, early indications hint at one of the better winter floundering springs in many years. That could also be a sign that the unusually warm bay has them making a mass exodus, which can end in nothing flat.

The bayside striped bass take is exceptional when taken as a big picture, going from Cape May northward, pretty much following the Intracostal Waterway to northern Barnegat Bay.

As is oft the case with early-season stripers, plastic offerings, jigged at a slow to moderate jump, are drawing all sorts of bassly attention.

Of regulatory note: 2019 striped bass regulation apply. Anglers can still keep one fish 28" to less than 43" and one fish 43." On April 1, 2020, New Jersey recreational striped bass regulations in all state waters will be as follows: One fish 28" to less than 38". That means you have a couple weeks to break the world record – until more sensible size limits return.

The 2020 NJ striped bass regulatory process jump-started interest in the state Striped Bass Bonus Program (SBBP), which was often mentioned during the reg-making process.

Applications are currently NOT being accepted for 2020. What’s more, 2019 permits are no longer valid. I called the state and was told it shouldn’t be much longer before you can apply, i.e. April.

One would think there will be quite a rush for the right to catch a 24- to < 28-inch slot fish, beginning in May. Stay informed and apply as nj.gov/dep/fgw/bonusbas.htm.

 Jack L Taylor updated his cover photo.

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FRESH AIR KILLS … VIRUSES: Huddling indoors is not fighting the good anti-virus fight. It’s better to metaphorically fight fire with fire, by getting outside at the height of day to buddy up with a virus’s worst enemy, the sun.

Viruses have long feared the lethality of the sun. In fact, that might be how they got to our planet from out-there space, i.e. while trying to get away from the sun.

Oh, yes, viruses are extraterrestrial, though not in an ET or UFO way, but more in a constantly-cruising-the-cosmos vein. Don’t balk. Many fine minds have dubbed viruses as being inconsistent with any other earthly things, thus their unearthliness. They are neither animal nor mineral. They’re so out there that it’s spacey, ergo …

That sun-cure concept is right up our socially distanced beach alley. Along with known recuperative values of filling lungs with fresh coastal air -- an invigorator of mind, body and antibodies – absorbing sun beams imbues us with Vitamin D, best taken in via as little as 45 minutes beneath a midday sun.  

An NPR news story headlined “A Bit More Vitamin D Might Help Prevent Colds And Flu” reads, “The sunshine vitamin can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu — especially among people who don't get enough of the vitamin from diet or exposure to sunlight.”

Getting a bit more New Age, taking immersive dips in Jersey’s piece of the Atlantic is akin to utilizing the world’s biggest saline neti pot. In fact, some sinus rinse products, like Ocean Relief, play on the sinus purging benefits from sloshing about in the sea. The trick is to start with clean and curative ocean water; just what NJ has in abundance. Daily dosages of rushing ocean water can power-wash the most virus-grabbing area on the entire human body. Sinuses are like ripe and ready petri dishes, culturing antigens galore, before infecting the entire body. Taking a quick dip to cleanse sinuses, followed by breathing in spirit-uplifting ocean breezes, is a proactive form of fighting the good anti-virus fight. See you in the sea.

By the by, it’s little known that LBI, especially Surf City, was long ago seen – and marketed – as a sanitarium for improving health and wellness. Hmmm.

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New Regulations To Take Effect April 1

April 2020 Council Meeting Will Be Conducted By Webinar Only

Due to public health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April meeting will be conducted by webinar only. This webinar-based meeting replaces the in-person meeting previously scheduled to be held in Galloway, New Jersey. Because of the revised format, several non-essential agenda items have been postponed, and the meeting has been shortened to occur over two days (April 7-8). A revised agenda and webinar connection information are available at http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/april-2020.

We will make every effort to accommodate oral public comments during the meeting. However, we strongly encourage members of the public to submit written comments in advance to be included in the briefing book. Comments may be submitted using our online comment form or via mail, email, or fax (instructions and comment deadlines are available here).

Potential meeting participants and members of the public are encouraged to check the Council’s website frequently for information and updates.

Questions? Contact Mary Sabo, msabo@mafmc.org, (302) 518-1143.

The annual meeting originally scheduled for March 21 has been postponed until April 25, 2020 due to concerns regarding the CV-19 virus. The venue and start time has not changed. Please refer to the web site for more details.

Obviously there is many unknowns at this point in time and things have been changing rapidly. Another change/modification may be needed. Hopefully soon things will begin to change for the better. Regardless we will continue to monitor the situation and update our member clubs accordingly. Please keep a close eye on both the website and Facebook page over the next couple weeks.

Thanks for your understanding and stay safe as we work to get past these trying times.

Greg O
Asac President

I’ve been social distancing since March 1st

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(20/P10) TRENTON -Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today that public may still access the State Parks, forests, recreation areas and Wildlife Management Areas, including roads, parking areas, trails, lakes and other open space areas for healthful passive recreation.

However, campgrounds, visitor centers, nature centers, restrooms and similar facilities at state parks, forests, recreation areas, Wildlife Management Areas and historic sites are closed until further notice in order to protect public health and safety as the state works to address COVID-19.

Given the lack of services for the public, entry fees normally collected by state parks will be waived. Additionally, permits typically required including but not limited to mobile sport fishing permits (i.e. beach buggy permits) are still necessary.

This approach will allow important access to outdoor activities such as walking to continue while limiting potential exposure and spread of the virus.

"Keeping state-owned open spaces available to the public is important so people can continue to enjoy the healthful benefits of recreation and being outdoors," Commissioner McCabe said. "We advise the public to practice social distancing while enjoying our open spaces."

Staff and Law Enforcement Personnel will continue to conduct routine patrols of open spaces to ensure public safety and general wellbeing of the visiting public.

In addition, the DEP is postponing all upcoming events, programming and camping reservations in State Parks and Wildlife Management Areas through April 30. Refunds will be issued, and events rescheduled at the appropriate time.

For updates, please visit https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fu... .

Like the New Jersey State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites page on Facebook at https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fu... .

Follow the State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks.

Follow the Division of Fish and Wildlife on Instagram @newjerseyfishandwildlife.

Video: A Message from On The Water
A Message From OTW
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As restaurants and stores temporarily close or restrict hours, it’s important to remember that fishing remains open for business. As we all work together (by staying apart) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we can still find solace and escape by finding time to make a few casts.

Like many businesses big and small, On The Water is implementing measures to minimize the health risks to our employees. Our headquarters is closed to the public, however we will continue to make Striper Cup, magazine subscriptions, and OTW gear available online, and we’ll continue to produce Northeast fishing content. Please bear with us, as there may be some delays in customer service.

Stay safe.
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