Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Last weekend's Long Beach Island Fishing Club’s 74th Annual World Series of Surf Fishing Tournament ... (I could use some info on who caught what)
Below: Jack Reynolds Photography
1050 Sailor Drive Manahawkin, NJ 08050
Below: Some of my feathery Holgate looks:
No that's not a cooked clam, but a rare red blue-claw. When it happens, it is usually caused by a strict diet of reddish stuff. In this case, I'm running with a simply genetic quirk.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021: My weekly column leads with the drop-off in the people presence on LBI. I had figured we would see yet another pandemic carryover of lingering peopleness, meaning post-Labor Day proved ineffectual in clearing things hereabouts. Well, I get a good Island read in my travels and this year is much like days of yore when a rapid clear-out is palpable, obviously excluding weekends – and sometimes extended weekends.
As I write, “There’s a ton of angling and aesthetic value to this quickie quiet-down, especially after the dull roar of what was a banner summer, all pandemic things considered. Near-bare beaches leave our sands wide open for surfcasting of the finest and quietest kind. Non weekend times will see the sudsline free of waders and bathers. I’ll dare to say it: This is lining up to be the fall of our surfcasting content.”
Rundown further below speaks of mainly kingfish and smaller blues, plentiful enough to make trips to the beach a bountiful affair come dinner time.
Cheering on fall solitude might sound mildly prejudicial, bordering on Island uppishness, but even a calmed down autumn still offers tons of open space for all those who can break to discover it is now, in fact, better in October … and beyond(?).
NO UPDATES: I have not gotten any official updates on the conditions of the folks involved in the vessel striking the steel lit beacon off bayside Haven Beach. The beacon remains damaged.
I’ll repeat that only family members can legally issue medical updates. With that in mind, I dutifully refuse to pass on any social media prattle – for good reason. I will only say with some certainty that the medical crisis is not over for some of the victims.
The following is NOT meant to be crassly money-orientated on my part. It is to answer a question coming my way from multiple emailers and coworkers:
“§ 74.01-20 Deposit of payment in special account.
Whenever an aid to navigation or other property belonging to the Coast Guard is damaged or destroyed by a private person, such person shall pay to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard the cost of repair or replacement of such property. The Coast Guard will accept and deposit such payment in a special account in the Treasury for payment therefrom of the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property. Funds collected in excess of the cost to make repairs or replacements shall be refunded.”
I’ll add this – unrelated to the crash -- since it covers individuals who create an aids to navigation hazard. This most often applies to sunken vessels or objects that are left in place by uncaring person, i.e., if you think you can just leave a sunken vessel to occupy bottom space, the tab could be onerous. I believe charges can be charged both coming and going – first for an initial aid marker and then a charge for the removal of said marker.
(§ 74.01-10) “Charges for the establishment, maintenance, and replacement by the Coast Guard of an aid, either permanent or temporary, to mark a sunken wreck or other obstruction to navigation are calculated to recover the Coast Guard costs involved in, or associated with, the marking process. These charges will be invoiced to the owner of the obstruction. Charges for the removal of aids to navigation established by the Coast Guard will be invoiced to the owner unless the District Engineer requests the continued marking of the obstruction. All charges will be assessed in accordance with Subpart 74.20 of this part.”
Right before the SS Sandy hit, we had been mercilessly put upon by the most aggravating invasion of outsider mosquitoes anyone had ever felt. Asian tiger mosquitoes made backyards unvisitable.
For overall aggravation, these tiny tigers outdid our world renowned, utterly ferocious saltmarsh mosquitoes – mockingly designated our “State Bird,” forsaking the gorgeous little goldfinch, which truly holds that title.
What made the Asians so hideous was both their minute size and their big bite. Frustratingly, their low-impact landing on the skin allowed them to insert their itch-causing anticoagulant long before they got noticed.
Sandy banged the crap out of the tiger skeeters, knocking them out of the picture in many of our backyards. Well, I’ve seen a few tigers returning, as have mosquito control folks. Our rather wet now-past summer played into the return.
The horrible Asian tiger mosquito ...
But we can help stem the resurgence.
Official mosquito fighters are begging for a literal outpouring by all us all. So, get out and empty every outside container, large or small, holding water.
Yes, this is a familiar preventive request but more so now. Fall is a prime time for mosquito to begin reproductive preparations for next year.
Get this: “Mosquitoes overwinter as adult females that mate in the fall, enter hibernation in animal burrows, hollow logs or basements and pass the winter in a state of torpor (these are the mosquitoes one might see on a warm January or February day),” per a mosquito control project.
Of concern is how many folks have left LBI, with water collectors of many an ilk left behind. For those of you yet to depart, please turn everything catchy over -- or onto their sides.
Below: Egg laying on a plate left outside ...
We’re getting into possum-crossin' time. Although these silent night cruisers are always around, they’re somehow out in force come fall, as in double time. Of course, double time to them is what we would call a leisurely stroll on a fine fall day. The difference is they’re strolling at night -- and seem infatuated with walkabouts that include highway crossings.
By now, just about everyone should have seen public service announcements singing the much-deserved praises of these plentiful short-lived marsupials. Their untiring licking up of ticks is a thing of beauty for those of us of an outback persuasion. Then, there’s the way they can fend off the worst snake toxins known. This possumy ability has led to lifesaving insights into treating snake bites. They are also premier scavengers when it comes to removing roadkill an d other decaying matter.
While a cornered opossum will present as just about the nastiest most gnarly creatures out there, I can attest that it is almost all show. They are as passive as the night is long.
Event account: Wearing thick gloves I use for digging in old bottle dumps, I once needlessly toyed with a large late-day possum on the lower branches of a tree in Little Egg. As I reached toward it, the show was on. It hissed, almost manically, while fully baring its 50 stunning white teeth – some of the whitest teeth in the entire animal kingdom. As I went as far as poking at it, it reared up and lunged toward my glove – but it didn’t chomp down at all, it only used its nose to deflect my hand away.
This is not to say they won’t bite; it just proves that is not a priority.
We parted on fine terms, with me confirming that possums are pretty much pacifists, allegedly going as far as playing dead, I’m told. I’ve never once come across one that strategically keeled over.
Anyway, there’s a good chance you’ll come across an autumn possum, too often as a failed road crosser.
If you’re driving and see one in the midst of crossing, do not figure it’ll move quickly out of your lane. They can be sorta speedy but win very few foot races in the wildlife realm. Give them some crossing hope by, yep, braking a bit.
RUNDOWN: How about those bluefish!? Eater-sized tailors/cocktails are making a showing to crow about, a term I use a lot having a couple fish crows who regularly visit me at home – for reasons best left undisclosed.
Through social media grapevines and shop websites, I’m seeing surfcasters and boat fishermen are limiting out on cookie-cutter blues in the two-pound range. Ideal for smoking and such.
In Holgate, some casters at the Rip tapped into a brisk bluefish bite being supplied by slightly smaller one-pound models. The packed in blues were going for small metals, exclusively. I took a couple minutes from netting to unproductively try poppers, rattletraps, shallow swimmers and even snakely topwater “walkers, like Heddon Spooks, my all-time favorite for small blues and bass. So much for the maxim that feeding bluefish will hit anything.
Kingfish are still there for the taking. I got a baiting update upon hearing that some of the best kingly action has been taken on kingfish rigs graced with pieces of bunker and mullet. I was even told that the southern type kingfish are more meat eaters than worm grabbers. Hmmm.
Bass are a bit deadbeat. A few smaller models are showing, seemingly more active around schools of spearing and rainfish, as opposed to mullet, which hints at the best plugs to use.
Every year it seems I have fewer and fewer plugging sharpies to chat with, a couple of them having gone to a far better place, one to Tampa Bay and the other to Costa Rica (permanently!).
After a quick burst of spot in the surf, I’m not hearing of a whole ton of them recently – and it takes a ton to make a meal, similar to white perch. Per usual (on my part), they should positively be cooked whole to respectifuilly maximize their utilization.
Jim Hutchinson Sr. email@example.com
The big news this past week for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association was the deployment of 16 concrete reef balls at the Little Egg Artificial Reef. This is the second major deployment engineered by the Association and its Junior Mates Program.
These reef balls will provide fish habitat to improve the fishability of the reef site. Captain John Lewis, president of the BHCFA, was quick to praise local community members and business owners for their financial support of the program.
Some of the reef balls placed this week were sponsored by Jingles Bait and Tackle, the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club, and Johnson and Towers. Cost of sponsoring one of the balls is $500, and Lewis will gratefully accept any donations.
One of the reef balls was given in honor of local fishing enthusiast Dave Bohan who recently passed away.
Future plans call for more placements at the Little Egg Site, the Garden State South Reef, and perhaps other area sites.
In recent fishing action Captain Brett Taylor of ReeI Reaction Sport fishing had Alex Gal and his wife Sharon on a 4-hour light-tackle charter. They worked a few spots to boat “a ton of northern puffers” keeping 25 for the table. They switched gears and hit a few different manmade snags in the bay. They released over a dozen female blackfish to 14.5 inches and a few sea bass. The trip ended with a nice sunset as the couple celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org .
2021 LBI Surf Fishing Classic by Jim Hutchinson Sr. :
Night temperatures are cooling, leaves are turning color, and football games are filling stadiums. Fall is on its way, On Long Beach Island that means the LBI Surf Fishing Classic is fast approaching.
The 2021 version of this historic fishing tournament promises to be an exciting one with cash and other prizes awarded for four varieties of fish. Striped bass lead the way with prizes also available for bluefish, kingfish, and red drum.
This year is the 67th annual running of the contest with a starting date of Saturday, October 9, and ending up Sunday, December 12. Entry fee is $30 for adults with those seventeen and younger paying just $15.
Anglers can sign up at any of the three official weigh-in stations on LBI including Jingles Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, and Surf City Bait and Tackle. Official Classic 2021 hats and decals are available to those who register early.
Once again there are daily, weekly, and grand prizes available along with special “Bonus Prizes.” There are also special prize categories for junior anglers seventeen and younger, “Senior Citizen” prizes for those 62 and older, and “Ladies Prizes.”
Prizes range from $50 daily awards to $100 and $250 weekly prizes, $500 and $1,000 for 3-week segment winners, and $1,000 for the grand prize for bluefish.
Local fishing experts are optimistic about this year’s fall fishing run on Long Beach Island and its impact on the Classic.
Steve Palmer, owner of Jingles Bait and Tackle, is looking forward to the upcoming action. “I have a gut feeling this will be an exciting tournament. We have had a good spring and summer on other fish, and I expect it to continue.”
Palmer advises anglers to be ready to “put the time in.” He likes the prospects of action at Holgate to lead the way for surf fishing. He notes strong showings of mullet and other baitfish in that area already.
Greg Cudnik from Fisherman’s Headquarters also expects good surf fishing this fall. He points to a strong run of striped bass in the spring and feels the new striper regulations seem to have resulted in more fish already.
Cudnik is expecting a good number of new entrants this year. He has seen an increase this year in anglers new to the area and looks for many of them to enter the contest.
He too is encouraged by the amount of bait in area waters and is keeping his fingers crossed for good weather conditions. “We have had good, clean water all summer. We now have plenty of anchovies and mullet around and as long as they are here, we should have fish feeding on them.”
Sue Castrati of Surf City Bait and Tackle points to striper action already happening around Barnegat Inlet and the LBI Causeway with good numbers of schoolie stripers showing up. “We are having a good start already on bass, and the amount of bait in the water is encouraging.”
Her shop has already had a goodly number of anglers signing up for the Classic and attributes the interest to “a great annual tradition.” She saw an increase in new registrations in 2020 and is hoping for more again this year.
Last year was the first to offer prizes for kingfish which will once again be included. “Adding kingfish was an attempt to get an early start to the Classic,” observes Jim Hutchinson Jr., chairperson of the Classic committee. “This move stirred up interest and developed winners right from the opening bell.”
Hutchinson points to outstanding support from not just local bait and tackle shops but also, “the entire business community.” Some businesses supply bonus prizes. “All money raised goes to prizes and tournament expenses. There are no salaries, and we award scholarships to members of local high school fishing clubs.”
In prior years there has been a free surf fishing seminar to kick off the Classic. Plans for this year’s seminar are still in the air with the current health restrictions, but a decision should be made shortly.
Registrations and information for the Classic are available at any of the three official weigh-in stations. Information can also be located on the tournament website www.LBISFC.com and Facebook page, LBI Surf Fishing Classic.