Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, February 03, 2016: What a sweet little rain ... Booms are natives ...

Almost time for racing season to return ... Keep an eye open ...

 Wednesday, February 03, 2016: What a sweet little rain. No, it’s not aggravating. It’s finally rinsing off the briny reminder of snow and frozen roadways. Good riddance … and may the riddance carry us into spring. 

I know you plow-guys would like to flatten me when I talk non-snow smack. Still, I’ve never been into the white of winter, at least not since I realized those seemingly gratuitous snow days from school had to be paid for later … when times were warmer. Might explain why I bolted for Hawaii at the ripe old age of 17.

Anyway, it’s not the worse thing to get a nice natural rinse and there is that minuscule chance of a white Friday. 

Out of weather boredom, I’ve been mulling over weather computers and I see a whole lotta normalcy, with some dabs of slightly below normal chilliness and also some above to much-above temps. It’s almost like we’re already into the spring see-saw weather. Meteorologically speaking, spring begins on March 1, just a month away.

I was chatting with an angler over at Shoprite and he asked if the rapidly approaching SRHS Fishing Rams Flea Market will have any sellers featuring custom-made plugs. I didn’t know. I was glad I didn’t know because further conversation had him remark, “What do those handmade plugs cost?” He then guessed at a price that assured me he absolutely doesn’t understand artisan handcrafting.

Southern Regional High School Fishing Show Market set for February 13th

            Southern Regional’s annual fishing show is one of the largest fishing shows in Southern Ocean County.  The event will be held in the Southern Regional Middle School cafeteria on Saturday, February 13th from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM.    New and used fishing gear and services will be available from vendors tables. Informational seminars from local experts presenting expertise at 9am,10am, and 11am.  Seminars topics will address boat, surf, and trout fishing techniques in your local waters. All proceeds benefit the Southern Regional High School Fishing Club.  Admission is $4. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. 

            For additional show or vendor information contact Jason Hoch, 609 597-9481 ext. 2120 jhoch@srsd.net .

I know I often wax poetic on artisan lures – from wooden plugs to flies -- but they really are admirable works of folk art. And I like to think I have a good nose for art … after decades of dabbling in the discipline. Sufficed to say you won’t be getting one for “twenty buck or so.”


Sweet flys tied by Andrew Warshawer

Andrew Warshawer's photo.

I also had a comment emailed me about hand-carving plugs. An older fellow does just that – and has since kid times. His problem is one that I had, namely the eye screws. When first screwed in they can handle even a crazed bluefish. However, within a year, they loosen, likely because of the water leaking into the wood where the eye screws reside. That must be a fairly common problem for plugs that don’t use the through-and-through wire set-up. I say that because one of the larger supply houses is hyping new and deeper eye screws that hold better.

SENECA BOOMS BOOMING: Here’s one to rattle your cosmic thinking. Do you recall last week’s so-called “sonic booms”? Of course you do. You were among those secretly fearing the end of the world, as is common among folks who have little or no experience with ends of worlds – or what they first sound like. Well, bizarre oceanic booms like those are far from sonically new. Neither are the associated touches of human histrionics over things that go bump in the day. In fact, booms from the great beyond have roots so deep that archeologists come across them.

Ponder a possible Native American expression, sounding, to our ears, something like “uhwatchda ukfu was that!?” Oddly, the closest permissible anglicized term is “Seneca Guns.” I’ll explain.

The term Seneca Guns harkens back to the Native American Seneca Nation – and Seneca Lake, a huge, glacial finger lake in New York state.

Dating back to the days when woolly mammoths ruled that region’s roost, way-back peoples of the region have heard monstrous booms and rumbles issuing forth from the lake. It is spoken of in chants and casual conversation around the water hole.

Short of highly immature suggestions of mammoth woolly mammoth flatulence, all the Seneca people could figure was their god, Manitou, was acting up over some godly thing or another.

Upon white man’s gun-toting arrival, Native Americans quickly equated the sound of musket blasts with those uhwatchda ukfu sounds they had been hearing all along. “Hey, our Manitou had guns long before you pale faces arrived. Just sayin’.”

When the settlers first heard the rumbles and asked, in colloquial tongue, “Uhwatchda ukfu was that?!,” the locals tried out their English, calling the booms “Seneca guns.” It stuck.

As word of Seneca guns spread, it turned out that Seneca Lake wasn’t cornering the mystery-boom market. In fact, its gun-ish glacial lake sounds were no match for the odd oceanic booms spoken of by other tribes along the Atlantic, especially from New Jersey down to North Carolina.

Our Lenape folks traditionally told of ocean rumbles, booms, and even explosions that would scare their breechcloths clean off. They tried their hardest to figure out what the menacing sounds might be, but the best they could come up with was via a smallish brave named Atronamus – who looked into campfire smoke and envisioned “huge metal birds, flying faster than shouts … that will issue forth explosive noises when entering into Mach 1.” When the campfire laughter had receded, the brave was immediately condemned to living well outside the village – where he went on to found a chain of very successful yoga retreats. Hey, Lenape folklore is open to a wide array of interpretations.


Once we sympathetically relocated all our Native Americans to Oklahoma so they would no longer be frightened by Seneca Guns, the booms just kept coming. From colonists to currentists, tales of mysterious booms coming off the ocean have abounded. Today, even the United States Geologic Survey has been keeping close track of sundry boom sounds. While many are explainable – especially when the likes of secret offshore military testing is factored in – as many as half the booms are unexplainable.

I have to offer a local interlude. Way back in the ancient 1970s, my surfing buddy, Mark C., and I were waveriding the locally famed Bergen Avenue break, Harvey Cedars – milking a decent but highly inconsistent midsummer 4-foot swell just before the lifeguards came on. It was so calm we could barely see the waves through the glassiness. Then, truly outta the blue, it hit us: a freight-train boom from the southeast. It punched our faces and chests, coming in loud enough to cause ear ringing. What’s more – and hopefully some oceanfront homeowners will recall this – it actually broke ocean-facing windows. Be it Seneca Guns or Atronamus’ birds, it was one helluva whwatchda ukfu moment.

That said, there is not a dyed-in-the-wetsuit LBI surfer out there who hasn’t been hit in the face by odd off-the-ocean boom sounds fairly frequently. I have noticed that they are most common in summer and seemingly show on calm mornings during soon-to-be-sizzling days. Of course, that was back in the glorious days when I headed off to Hawaii every winter, so I wasn’t overly aware of any similar booms in cold times.

Anyway, the recent, much-publicized off-the-ocean reports – including Thursday’s freaky seven-boom salute over a one-hour period – were unlike any LBI Guns I ever heard. Most waveriders will agree, early-day booms are usually singular in nature – though I have heard them have something of a boom-boom echo effect.

I did marvel over the plethora of guesses as to their origins. Among my favorites are “meteorites zipping across the upper atmosphere” and “ghost sounds from the Challenger disaster.” Closer to Logicville were those folks thinking in terms of earthquakes. That earthly possibility was soundly defeated by well-tuned seismologists – who, nowadays, have equipment so sensitive it can just about detect a drop in the stock market.

It then comes down to supersonic booms from frolicking USAF aircraft, doing their thing off the coast. Where I remain somewhat skeptical of anything so luxuriously simple, I have managed to mystify that possibility enough to make it real sexy. Unbeknownst to the world in general, our nation has climbed aboard the drone bandwagon at warp speed. Where it was first envisioned that tiny stealth drones could keep an espionage eye on enemy goings-on – from the comfort of homeland easy chairs – the outside-the-box boys at Roswell and such instantly went the large route. The most advanced supersonic aircraft could be droned out, so to speak. What’s more, they could be designed to do things no human could endure, Mach-wise.

Below: the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System, 

Ah, all you mystery-boom conspiracists see where I’m going, right? And I have damned good reason to go there. You might recall that our nape of the skyways was set aside exclusively for drone testing. Well, Amazon and FedEx testing notwithstanding, methinks the state of the world has led to drone testing being taken to new heights … and speeds.

That would explain why we’re suddenly getting shaken from above, even though we’ve had Air Force military tests of every ilk around here for decades, mainly over at the Warren Grove (gunnery) Range (WGR). WGR is where our guys from the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard work out. I single out the WGR because it was mentioned, by name, as a site-specific location for drone advancement … though initially deemed as a site for “domestic” drone testing. Hey, “domestic” takes a jettisonable backseat as long as ISIS is in the air, so to speak.

Now that I’ve left you seeded and fertilized with my fully conspiratorial – but is it? – theory on non-Seneca Gun booms, I have to throw in just the merest touch of science. Go with it since I’ll possibly be calming your just-born fears that mind-rattling booms will continue to thump us, day in and day out – for as long as Mach-speed drones are required for future distribution in the Middle East.

Enter atmospheric inversion layers.

Layers of humidly thick air, i.e. inversion layers, can literally hold incoming sound waves close to earth. The atmosphere above the ocean, in particular, can develop inversion layers out the kazoo. Arriving scalding-hot days can go inversion-layer crazy over the ocean, possible explaining the commonality of truly mysterious Seneca Guns on summer morns.

Marine Layer Information

Anyway, when inversion layers are gathered just so, they can become a diaphragm for noises, intensifying sounds like some giant atmospheric reverberation unit, one that a heavy metal band would die for. Hypothetically, a beep can become a boom. Sounds from guns, aircraft, storms, or (never forget) the complete unknown can be exaggerated to building-rocking amplitudes.

While testing aplenty might be going on right in our front yard – I always imagine the ocean as the out-front – it will take just the bright inversion to usher home the booms, or whatever sounds hitherto-untested aircraft make.

But I refuse to depart on such a dryly logical note. Despite my theorizations, I haven’t come a jot closer to explaining alien ocean booms, the Seneca Guns, heard since times immemorial. Those Manitou-ish wonders can’t be remotely explained by remotely controlled aircraft.




The Summer Olympics are coming!!!


North Atlantic Absorbed 50% More Man-Made Carbon in a Decade Study Says

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] February 3, 2016

A University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science-led study found that the North Atlantic absorbed 50 percent more man-made carbon dioxide over the last decade, compared to the previous decade.

The study, titled “Rapid Anthropogenic Changes in CO2 and pH in the Atlantic Ocean: 2003-2014” analyzed data collected from the same locations, but 10 years apart, to identify changes caused by man-made CO2. The data were collected during two National Science Foundation-funded international ship-based studies, CLIVAR (Climate Variability CO2 Repeat Hydrography) and GO-SHIP (Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program). 

“This study shows the large impact all of us are having on the environment and that our use of fossil fuels isn’t only causing the climate to change, but also affects the oceans by decreasing the pH,” said Ryan Woosley, a researcher in the UM Rosenstiel School, Department of Ocean Sciences.

According to UM, the oceans help to slow the growth of human produced CO2 in the atmosphere by absorbing and storing about a quarter of the total carbon dioxide emissions. The North Atlantic is an area of high uptake and storage due to large-scale ocean circulations.

The uptake of CO2 has many impacts on ocean-dwelling organisms by decreasing the pH researchers added. These findings have important implications for marine organisms, such as corals and mollusks, which require a certain pH level in the surrounding water to build their calcium carbonate-based shells and exoskeletons.

Researchers plan to return in another 10 years to determine if the increase in carbon uptake continues.


Microplastics Damage Oyster Fertility

Plastic litter affects offspring of exposed marine animals.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Nature Publishing] Daniel Cressey - February 3, 2016 
Oysters that consume the small pieces of plastic that are littering the world’s oceans produce fewer and less-healthy offspring, a study suggests — fuelling concern that the material may be damaging marine life.
Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year; one recent calculation suggests that, by around 2050, there will be more plastic than fish, by weight. But researchers are increasingly concerned about the effects of tiny ‘microplastic’ fragments — those smaller than 5 millimetres — which are created when larger objects break apart, or manufactured for industrial products including cosmetics and packaging materials.
Arnaud Huvet, a scientist at France's national marine research agency (Ifremer) in Plouzané, and his colleagues placed Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) in water laced with micrometre-sized spheres of polystyrene, at levels similar to those that have been recorded in the wild in some locations. After two months, oysters exposed to the plastic produced fewer and smaller egg cells, less-mobile sperm and fewer offspring than did animals raised in water without the plastic1. The offspring themselves grew more slowly, the researchers report.
Microplastics have been shown to reduce the fertility of other marine animals, including tiny crustaceans such as copepods2 and daphnia3. But the latest study broadens the case file to oysters, says Huvet.
The oysters’ digestion might be disrupted when they eat the plastic, he says, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are known to affect reproductive systems, might be released from the plastic particles into the oysters' digestive tracts.
Plastic problem
Awareness of the biological damage caused by microplastics is still in its infancy, says Tamara Galloway, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Exeter, UK. By contrast, there are well-publicized images of birds and turtles choking on larger pieces of plastic.
Galloway says that the oyster study is “extremely comprehensive” and adds to other evidence for the negative effects of microplastics, reinforcing the need to act on the problem of marine litter. “Anthropogenic litter is something we can do something about quite quickly if we want to,” she says — by using less plastic and being more careful about waste disposal.
Wild populations of Pacific oysters are not in decline, says Huvet, but the study suggests that plastic could have long-term effects because oysters are a vital food source for many other animals. What’s still not clear, says Huvet, is whether the microplastics that accumulate in oysters could be harmful to the humans that ultimately eat them.


Andrew Warshawer's photo.

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