Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
I was wondering why she's been leaving nonstop "Call me" messages on my phone lately ...
The same moral dilemma: Do you sacrifice an entire planeload of passengers to save a kid somehow stuck on the nose of a 787?
Tuesday, September 20, 2016: We’re in the clear – and ready for a likely decent stretch of angling niceness. Angling niceness is not the same as beachy niceness. In fact, cloudiness can be a friend this time of year, as opposed to high sun, which can spook stripers from getting to beach-based.
Yes, I’m beginning to think stripers, after getting that fine north end bass report yesterday. Those hookups were serious fish, inching away from the schoolies being reported along most of the beachfront.
This is a good time to segue into Loveladies surfcasting.
It looks like nearly all LBT beaches will be open to buggies on Oct. 1. Great news. I bring that up in relationship to Loveladies because it could be interesting to see what all that new and protruding sand might mean in relationship to the nearby Barnegat Inlet bass biomass. It might prove a sandy point of attraction for the famed inlet stripers – or a total turn-off. There’s no guessing – just fishing around for answers.
If I had to guess, I see the Loveladies “point’ as a sure-fire location for any choppers that come along. If we get any. I’m still stung by last year’s no-show of slammers.
I know the very mention of blues doesn’t sit well with bassers, but I like looking at the big picture, as it unfolds toward the upcoming LBI Surf Fishing Classic, where blues and bass are equally valuable.
But back to what looks to be very decent surf fishing weather arriving with light to moderate onshore winds. Those conditions spell jigs and plugs in the surf. I’m tradition bound to blue/white Atoms popper. However, there are now newer poppers, swimmer and divers that might chew up surfside bass. A perfect passage into fall includes testing new artificials until the cows come home…
The snapper blues, some too small to even smoke, are plentiful. It’s already a better showing than last fall, though this coming week will better indicate whether or not we’ll see a nice cocktail showing. I have me drier cleaned up and ready. I even bought a couple extra layers to increase my drying capacity. It that isn’t the kiss of death nothing is.
The insane rain should really pack down the loose sand, helping buggying. It doesn’t take but a now-and-again glance at the fuel gauge to see how loose sand eats gas like it’s going out of style … which it might be once they perfect electric 4WD vehicles, as is close to reality with Tesla. Just for grins, I preordered one. The Tesla 4-bys are projected to be no more expensive than many of today’s 4WD Chevy or Ford 4WD trucks, i.e. 2017 Silverado, 1500 Crew Cab, Standard Box, High Country, 4WD Price: $59,885.
Below: Great report from my buddies on the June Bug ...
June Bug Fishing Report
Saturday, September 19, 2016
The June Bug took a few friends offshore on Saturday. There were two reports for fish. The northern report came from a scallop boat captain friend who was talking to other commercial boats out near the 100 fathom line in the Toms Canyon. Those boats reported excellent quantities of Big Eye Tuna that were in several concentrated spots in the Toms. They are allowed to catch Big Eyes as by-catch and the boats found that the fish were taking lures and baits being trolled very close behind the transoms, less than 30’ in most cases. The boats were catching 3 to 5 Big Eyes in short periods of time.
Then other commercial boats reported heavy concentrations of Blue & White Marlin along the 100 fathom line from the northeast corner of the Lindenkohl Canyon up past the Carteret and halfway up to the Toms.
The other reports came from fish predicting services that were reporting the formation of an eddy off the mouth of the Wilmington Canyon. The water was warm there and late Saturday evening, that area was reported to be a parking lot albeit with few fish.
So we decided to go where boats had fish and were catching fish and went to the Carteret to start. We started fishing about an hour before daylight with none of the baits set more than 50’ behind the boat. We were in 400 feet of water. The temps were 71 degrees. We didn’t go a quarter of a mile before we had the first screaming runoff, a very strong Blue Marlin. Got it to the boat and released it quickly. Went another quarter mile and a second screaming runoff caused by another Blue locomotive took place. While that fish was still pulling line off, another Blue Marlin took a half dozen free jumps about 200 yards behind the boat. Same routine with this hooked fish. We got the fish to the boat quickly and released it.
We decided to circle the area and promptly had a While Marlin attack. The fish hooked up and then started a jumping display that had us wondering where it got all of that energy. The White was not easy to get to the boat but we finally did and released it too.
All of this happened in about 2 square miles. We circled the area without another strike so we started moving north. We were just inside the 100 fathom line at the south edge of the Toms when we started to notice large circular areas that seemed to be revolving in the water. We went through a couple and the water was moving up in very strong upwellings. The sounder marked heavy concentrations of bait between 75 and 200 feet. Quite a few of these areas had a lot of heavy marks inside the thick band of bait.
There were no commercial boats in the Toms, at least none that had their AIS systems turned on nor did we see any. We had not heard any radio reports of Big Eyes but the marks in the upwellings suggested the tuna were there but feeding in the thick bands of bait and didn’t care about what we were pulling.
We worked the Toms for 4 hours without any success other than a 10 pound Mahi that we caught off a pot. Then we started working our way back to where we had started that morning.
When we got back to where we had released the White Marlin, a big Blue Marlin that we sized at about 400 pounds came out from under the boat and hit a spreader bar headed the other way. We set our 50s with strike drags of 17 pounds but that didn’t’ seem to make any difference with this fish. The angler on the rod tried cranking on the fish after it seemed to have slowed down but found that the reel, a Shimano Tiagra 50W, was seized up but the fish was able to pull line off. We just couldn’t turn the handle to get line back. The guys in the cockpit tried to hand line the fish but after 10 minutes or so of that, the line must have chaffed off. They wrapped the line around a 5 gallon bucket so the line wouldn’t interfere with boats or fish.
We no sooner got the baits reset when another hefty Blue Marlin came down the starboard side of the boat, accelerated, and grabbed a bait as it went by. This fish sped up, ran a couple of hundred yards, and that Shimano Tiagra 50W seized up, the rod bent double, stayed bent while the line stretched, then the line popped like a rifle shot. As soon as the line popped, the Marlin started a jumping display that lasted several minutes. Even more astounding than the White Marlin’s display.
After getting sorted out after losing another big fish and losing a reel for the day, we got the baits reset and continued to work the same area. About 20 minutes later, another Blue Marlin, the largest of the day, again came racing from under the boat. It too grabbed a bait on its way by but on this fish, the reel gave up about 100 yards and then seized up like the other two. The rod bent hard and the line popped. All of our 50 Wides are Shimano Tiagras that have been serviced faithfully. All 3 reels’ handles will not turn nor will the spools rotate by hand in either direction. Our fourth Tiagra was already back at the shop that had serviced them since it stopped going into full free spool. The surprising thing was that the tackle shop that did the work, refused to work on them unless I paid another service fee. We had another local tackle shop replace the line on all of our 50s and found that on one reel, that when about 300 yards of line was taken off the reel, we found 2 ends buried on the reel. So the line of that reel was in at least 2 pieces. We had supplied bulk spools of brand new ProSpec HiVis and I certainly doubt that the manufacturer loaded a bulk spool with multiple pieces of line.
After all of this, we got back to fishing and within a few minutes a smaller Blue Marlin whacked several baits but finally hooked up. All of the remaining outfits had Penn International old style 50s. We didn’t have a lick of trouble from any of those the whole day including on this fish. We got the fish to the boat quickly and released.
Just before quitting time, we had a large White Marline come into the baits. This White did what Whites like to do. It whacked a bait, moved sideways and whacked another bait. It then sank and watched the baits from 50’ down. We circled the area and that fish stayed with us for at least 10 minutes coming in and whacking a bait every few minutes. It finally hooked up after 3 circles of the area. This fish never jumped. We released this one too.
So the day was certainly worth it. We chose the better location even though the tuna were missing in action. Several people in the party had never seen a live Marlin so they witnessed an outstanding show by some very aggressive fish. 3 Blue Marlin released. 2 White Marlin released. 1 Mahi for dinner.
Today, we are taking the 4 Shimano reels to a different tackle shop for analysis and repairs.
Fish Monger II Tues 9/20 - Here's a few more pics from Rutgers research trip today. Crazy bottom fishing with both porgies n Seabass... at one point there was 50 ft of porgies under the boat n u only had to go down 10 ft to get one on every hook. Another drop was loaded w 30 ft of biscuits... double header seabass everytime down. So plenty for the research team to sample from. Once again glad to b part of the project and helping em get the data they are looking for!
Barnegat H.S. Fishing Club hosts it's 8th Annual Fisherman's Fleamarket
ITCHING INTO MADNESS: Whenever I talk about clamming the mudflats of Holgate, I instantly get ghost itches, essentially fingernail flashbacks.
Among the worst nights of my life were those spent scarfiyingly scratching at the weeping bites from unmerciful mud-based parasites common to our bayside mudflats. I’ve self-scratched myself so badly that the lower parts of my legs were rendered human hamburger meat. I carry lifelong scars from those “bites,” as do most folks who have been attacked.
The malady has been called “swimmer’s itch,” though such a name belies the complex environment needed to nurture the underlying creatures.
Science blanket terms the “itch” as cercarial dermatitis. The raised red pinpoint rash is quite similar to the look and feel of harvest mites (chiggers), though times ten on that “feel” part.
As studies continue on the rash, it appears it’s a worldwide bitch of an itch. In some places it’s called “rice paddy itch,” and, gospel truth, “Clam diggers’ itch.”
I’m told that in Jersey it has been dubbed “duckworms” -- though I’ll be danged if I’ve ever once heard someone say, “Be careful of them-there duckworms.”
However, the “duck” angle actually plays well with emerging science.
The specific creature causing the skin-top chaos of clam diggers’ itch is the trematode parasite. These scum-suckers reach humans via aquatic, migrating birds, i.e. ducks and stuff.
The life cycle of near microscopic trematodes is complex. They don’t just jump off wading birds and tear into our legs. They arrive as eggs within the waste from birds. The eggs hit the ground, in this case muck, and quickly hatch into something known as a miracidium.
The miracidium aren’t yet a threat to our skin. They have gooier haunts on their mind. They seek a singular type of host, namely snails. They came to the right frickin’ place. We have so many small, black marine snails along our bay banks that it must be heaven to duckworm miracidium.
Seldom having a problem finding mollusk hosts (snails), miracidia climb into their skin and undergo some bodily changes. They emerge as a motile cercaria larvae, i.e. skin terrors for you and I.
Upon their arrival in the outside world, the larvae seek that big host in the sky: a shore bird. However, these larvae aren’t the brightest Crayolas in the box. They can’t tell a human from a heron if they tried. They’ll burrow into our skin as if we had “duck” painted all over our legs.
Although they quickly wish they hadn’t hopped on a human – dying within us – the damage is done from our skin’s point of view. Our body’s immunity system has utter conniption fits trying to eject the ugly irritant. Out, out, damned duckworm!
Whereas chiggers literally eat the surface skin of humans, driving us nuts trying to scratch away the superficial anticoagulant they use, duckworms have climbed inside and died. Our body won’t be satisfied until we’ve quarried down to carcass. And I have considered explosives to mine down more quickly.
While cercarial dermatitis is primarily a summer conditions in many parts of the world, we’re just hitting our miracidia stride, as migrating birds touch down.
The only prevention is prophylaxis. Quit you giggling. You won’t be so giddy after you’re put upon by voracious hordes of miracidia. Always wear boots and clothing whenever in the personal presence of bay mud. One prophylactic slip up and you’re screwed.
I recently got a glancing blow – likely one lone duckworm -- to a single finger. It already looks like leprosy. That’s why I can write this with such firsthand conviction.