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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, March 19, 2019: Outside of the showy prescribed burns and the complex open/closed/maybe of the Holgate ...

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Keith Thomas
Painted up a mid-night trout. 

Hitting giants in the dark is just around the corner.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019: Outside of the showy prescribed burns and the complex open/closed/maybe of the Holgate far end, I’ve been quietly and quite contentedly taking in this now lengthy stint of sunny and uneventful weather.

And on that note, I’ll allude to the possibility of quite some blow hitting the Eastern Seaboard by late week. We might be in store for a fairly typical nor-easter sky setup.

However, there’s just as much chance of the system – which will surely form somewhere – veer seaward south of us, as has been the penchant of southerly storm cells for many years now.  If it goes straight out to sea off the Delmarva, not much will come of it for us -- except some serious groundswells as it moves out to sea and detonates. The winds from the offshore system could make waves all the way down to the Caribbean, possible showing on Florida’s Space Coast.    

Other computer scenarios have the low-pressure energy fixing itself far to our north, where it has the potential to epically bomb/explode over the Canadian maritime. Nearby New England could take an historic hit, should the storm absorb arctic energy – and coldness.

If things go ballistic to the north, we will be forcefully impacted by wicked wraparound winds -- very much like what we saw a couple weeks back. We could experience 24 to 36 hours of 60 mph westerlies, with steadier high-mph winds than we saw during that last tree-leveling wind event.

And talk about a bayside impact in the making. As the winds howl to high heavens, we will be already be experiencing radically low astronomical tides, moon-wise. If you thought the previous blowout tides were low, we could see a bay blown dry. OK, that’s an alarmist exaggeration but things could truly hit a new all-time low after the first 24 hours of cranking westerlies.

When the bay barely showing, keyhole rake clamming can be done off virtually any LBI bayside street end. Yes, it’s legal. Nearly all bayside waters adjacent to LBI – excluding any lagoon areas – can be clammed between Nov. 1 and April 30. This refers to zones covered by Classification Charts 8 through 10. Please see: www.nj.gov/dep/bmw/nssphome.html#charts.

Back in the day, I would dig bloodworms like crazy during such blowouts. With winter flounder fishery so restricted,  the demand is no longer there, though the value of the worms has gone gonzo.

Please note: I use very little if any Photoshop. That said, my camera does all the heavy lifting when it comes to make things look spot-on.

Requested clarification on Holgate refuge area: It is still open to hiking as of 3/19/19. But don't say you saw it here. It's getting kinda politically gritty out there.

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TWO LANES …  ALL THE WAY: As the “Big Bridge” Causeway project moves along, I need to offer some insights about other insights that have gone amok. I’ll explain.

When the entire Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge Project is done in a coupleish years, there will never be more than two lanes of traffic in either directions – except in emergencies.

I’ve heard a ton of folks, including hardcore locals, implying there will be areas of three lanes. Nope. By keeping it two lanes, there will be no hazardous funneling effect, where three lanes angrily merge into two.

The mistaken three-lane perception comes from how amazingly wide the roadways will be over the two Big Bridges sister spans.

I’m toying with calling them the “Old Big Bridge” and “New Big Bridge,” though I can understand “Eastbound Big Bride” and “Westbound Big Bridge.” The NJDOT is sold on the more technical eastbound and westbound “Manahawkin Bay Bridge.” Hate it.  And whatever happened to honoring my dearly departed buddy Dorland!? How quickly we forget.

The Big Bridges are truly wide. Curb to curb, each of the big bridges will be 49 feet in width. This will accommodate two 12-foot lanes for general traffic flow, along with a 12-foot left shoulder and a 13-foot right shoulder, to be used during the likes of evacuation of LBI. Notice you never hear talk of the mainland having to evacuate onto LBI. I have to think on that.   

The rehabilitated Old Big Bridge (westbound traffic) will also have a six-foot sidewalk on the north side. Usage-wise, the one sidewalk handles people going both ways.

I’m not sure what will come of the existing sidewalks on the south sides of the little bridges. They are sometimes used for fishing. Also, the existing sidewalk on the south side of the trestle bridge closest to LBI is used by Bonnet Island residents. I have calls in for info on those narrow sidewalks.

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Jean Deery Schaum

I’m assuming this soot is from the controlled burn. All over the beach today.

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March 18, 2019

Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

Beach Access Bill Violates Public Trust

Today the Assembly Appropriations Committee released A4221 Aca (1R) (Pinkin): The bill provides for protection of public right of access to certain public trust lands.

“We oppose this bill. This legislation violates the public trust and closes the door on public beach access. Through the amendments the bill has so many loopholes big enough to fit a bulldozer through. We feel these changes have undermined the public access to beach and waterfronts that belong to them. Overall, this legislation is a step backwards. With these amendments the DEP and the legislature is taking the side of wealthy property owners over the people who those beaches belong to. This reinforces the fact that they want our money to replenish their beaches while keeping the public out,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

New Amendments to the bill in section d. state “[The] Pursuant to the public trust doctrine, the State of New Jersey 1[has a duty to] [shall] has a duty to promote, protect, and safeguard the public’s rights and 1[to]1 ensure reasonable and meaningful public access to tidal waters and adjacent shorelines

“Changing may or shall from having the duty to, makes the bill too vague. This language can be subject to challenge and can end up in courts. Using this kind of language makes the bill open to interpretation. Who is going to interpret these language changes? Deal, Avalon, or the developers?” said Tittel. “That is why it is so important that the new amendments changed the language to a shall. Whether it’s some of the wealthy home owners in Edgewater who we have been battling for years for public access on the Hudson or down in Long Beach Township. If it the law becomes a may, they are not going to do it.”

The new amendments also stated that The Department of Environmental Protection [has the authority and the duty to] shall protect the public’s right of access to tidally flowed waters and their adjacent shorelines under the public trust doctrine and statutory law. In so doing, the department [has the duty to] shall make all tidal waters and their adjacent shorelines available to the public to the greatest extent [possible] practicable.

“The bill still gives DEP flexibility in granting permits. The legislation has too many exemptions for DEP in granting permits too. It’s good that the language for public trust doctrine will be expanded to include groundwater, surface water, and tidal water. However, we are concerned with language change from possible to practicable when it comes to protecting access rights. Practicable is one of those words that is open to interpretation,” said Tittel. “The bill also states the DEP may produce rules. Instead it should say that DEP shall produce rules.”

Other new amendments to the bill state that in determining the public access that is required at a property, the department shall consider the scale of the changes to the footprint or use, the demand for public access, and any [adopted] department-approved municipal public access plan or public access element of a municipal master plan.

“It is important that the new amendments will review beach replenishment and maintenance. However, DEP reviewal is only considered when it should be mandated. DEP also only have to consider certain permits instead of requiring certain permits. The legislature must make sure that language in the bill is not up to interpretation or optional. Who will decide, will builders decide? Too many times people give restricted access to these areas that we all own. We need to codify the Public Trust Doctrine to help ensure access. As taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars for restoring our beaches, it is even more important for the public to have access to them,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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The track and strength of a fast-developing storm near the coast will determine the extent of snow, rain and damaging winds in the northeastern United States prior to the end of this week.

The latest indications are that a storm will quickly form near the coast of Virginia and North Carolina on Thursday, one day after the official arrival of spring -- a point in time that historically has seen significant snowstorms a....

The potential late-week storm is forecast to spin up just as a shot of colder air migrates southeastward from central Canada.

Should the cold air catch up with the storm quickly enough, it may give the storm a boost of strength and cause it to hug the coast and track northward, rather than remain weak and drift out to sea.


Should the storm fail to strengthen and/or remain offshore, the weather will simply trend blustery and chilly with rain and snow showers on Friday to Saturday.

At this time, the hug the coast scenario or even a track slightly inland seems more likely than a path out to sea.

With the hug the coast idea, rain will break out over eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia during Wednesday night and spread northward.

During Thursday, that rain will reach the upper part of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England. At this point the rain will become heavy at times and winds will increase.

The rain is likely to spread as far west as parts of the Appalachians in the mid-Atlantic states during Thursday to Thursday night.

A brief period of minor coastal flooding can occur in the Northeast. Winds may become strong enough to cause sporadic power outages during Thursday night in New England.
Winds near the cost are likely to blow from the east and southeast during this time. Northeast winds will set up farther inland.

NE Friday Snap Shot 3 pm


All or mostly snow is likely from northeastern New York state to northern New England.

A foot of snow may fall over the Adirondacks and Green and White mountains with several inches at lower elevations from later Thursday to Friday.

Somewhere from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and eastern New York state, the air will become cold enough to allow snow or a rain and snow mix.

Heaviest Snow NE

It may be a close call for rain versus rain and wet snow mix versus an all-out change to accumulating wet snow over the northern part of the Alleghenies, Poconos, Catskills and Berkshires. An "elevation storm" may unfold, where heavy snow falls over the ridges and mostly rain falls in the valleys.

"The exact track of the storm, say right along the coast or a bit farther inland, will determine the rain and snow line and where the heaviest accumulations will be over the interior Northeast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Wimer.

"In the United States, the heaviest snow from the storm may be over northern Maine or it may be over northeastern New York state or somewhere in between," Wimer said.

"At this juncture we are probably looking at an AccuWeather StormMax™ of 16 inches in the U.S., but close to 60 centimeters (2 feet) in eastern Quebec."

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How strong the storm becomes will determine how blustery and cold the weather becomes Friday and Saturday throughout the Northeast.

Alert: Strong, damaging winds anticipated with storm

The latest indications are the storm will reach its maximum strength somewhere over Maine and New Brunswick on Friday. In this position, high winds are likely throughout the Northeast and whiteout conditions will develop over the northern tier.

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Reel Fantasea Fishing Charters
Check out April’s edition of Saltwater Sportsman for all things striped bass! What a great honor to have been part of Mr. Saltwater himself George Poveromo’s article!!!
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Nielsen Study Finds Consumers Care Most About Buying Local

March 18, 2019

“Locally caught.” That could be a selling point for many consumers, according to a new study from Nielsen.

Nielsen reports that a “conscious awakening” occuring within the U.S. consumer packaged goods and food grocery landscape has increased shoppers’ desire for better food options. These shoppers are now socially aware of many causes, including the decline in bee populations, GMO in foods, antibiotic use in animal production, and much more. However, “buying local” was the topic with the highest consumer awareness in Nielsen’s latest study.

“It is clear that consumers are aware of the importance of buying local and continue to show a hunger for hometown, locally grown products, especially for items such as produce, baked good and eggs,” Nielsen reports.

According to Nielsen’s study, dollar sales of locally grown or sourced food has increased 3.6% during the 52-week period ending December 29, 2018.

Buying locally was also a hot topic and highlighted during the “Emerging Trends Panel” at the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference this past January. More shoppers are going to local fish markets than ever before to not only buy local catch, but learn about where it came from and how to prepare it.

Amanda Buckle

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Jim Hutchinson Jr.
So I'll just leave this up for debate - but ask yourself, what if the Danish studies on flounder avoidance to electromagnetic fields associated with windfarm cables is accurate? Why aren't the wind energy folks talking about "the wall" effect that could impact our future fluke migrations due to hundreds of offshore windmills along the Jersey Shore? Comparing Block Island's handful of windmills to the hundreds proposed off New Jersey? As one NJ Marine Fisheries Council rep said last week, "that's like comparing toothpicks to a forest."
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A New Jersey assembly committee will vote on a bill Monday that would prohibit the selling, trading, distribution or possession of any shark fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing.

The bill is part of a larger national and international movement to crack down on illegal shark finning, but fishing industry members here say this particular bill will also hurt local fishermen not involved in the illegal trade. 

While the shark fin bill doesn't make it illegal for fisherman to have shark fins that were "lawfully-obtained in a manner consistent with licenses and permits," it puts the burden of proof on the person to demonstrate the fins weren't separated from the shark prior to lawful landing.

Jim Hutchinson Jr., the managing editor of "The Fisherman" magazine, said the bill will result in unnecessary penalties for fishermen who catch a legal shark and remove the fins in order to clean a shark, a routine practice by fishermen engaged in legal shark fishing.

 At the very least, he said, it could cause fishermen to incur legal costs to defend themselves in court.

"The burden should be on law enforcement to prove the fins were taken illegally," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the bill could also end the tradition followed by many charter boats of nailing a shark fin to a dock piling to advertise a shark catch.

The bill has already passed the NJ Senate.

Shark finning, the practice of cutting the fins off a shark and discarding the body at sea, however, has been banned in U.S. waters since 1993.

OCEANA an international advocacy organization for ocean conservation, said fins are still traded, imported and exported throughout the U.S., including from countries that do not have adequate protections in place for their shark species.

According to OCEANA, the fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year.

A bill called the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which bans the buying and selling of shark fins in the U.S. was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in January.

Greg DiDomenico, president of the Garden State Seafood Association, said the act will harm the legitimate U.S. fishermen.

"The U.S. is a leader in shark conservation and this legislation causes waste in U.S. fisheries," DiDomenico said.

DiDomenico said the association supports a similar act called the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act that was introduced in 2018 but stalled. 

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Maria Martucci Handley is with Joe Handley Jr.
The point was going off. Red fish everywhere!
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Easy Oyster Stew

This delicate yet creamy broth provides the perfect base for sweet oysters. Easy-to-make with only a few ingredients, this recipe is a family favorite.

Photo by Penny de los Santos

Oysters are abundant and affordable in Seattle, and this recipe is a family favorite. Small, sweet Pacific Northwest oysters are perfect here. Larger, brinier East Coast oysters might overwhelm the delicate broth.

How to Shuck and Cook Oysters
Ingredients
  • 16 West Coast oysters
  • Bottled clam juice (if needed)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
Directions

Shuck oysters. Strain liquor to remove grit. If necessary, add clam juice to liquor to increase volume to ½ cup.

Heat butter in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add celery and shallot. Cook until tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add half-and-half and oyster liquor. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes, but don’t let boil. Transfer to blender. Purée mixture, and strain back into pot. Add oysters and heat just until edges curl, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 2.

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