Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report


Photo by Jim. V. http://exit63.wordpress.com/

A Glacier Grows in Manhattan; The Fall Attack of Surfcasters

By JAY MANN | Sep 20, 2012

I don’t know if I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder or luxuriatein it. There’s something oddly soothing about moving onto the next subject while the one I’m on is still in the midst of explaining itself. Uh, hold that thought, dude.

I offer that as an ADD lead-in to a week that has fishing and nature subjects hitting me like hail. From Manhattan-sized icebergs to plugged gulls to a big-ass shark spotting to going crazy with a GoPro camera to an insane mullet migration to beach buggy banter to … you get the point. Fortunately, I scratched down some notes along the way.

I do have to begin at a cosmically frivolous level. I’m a firm believer in the Warholian concept that, in life, everyone will get 15 minutes of fame – and fortune. But how in bloody hell does Honey Boo Boo Girl get hers before I get mine? WTF!? Looks like I’ll just continue to bang out my low-fame column – as someone teaches Honey Boo Boo to count her redneck earnings.

NAME THAT GLACIER: On a seriously planetary level, a prominent scientist I know – and have actively debated over the speed of rising oceans – continues to suffer from advanced global warmingaphobia. Last week, he inundated me with technical updates regarding an ongoing melting glacier story cascading out of Greenland.

Seems Greenlanders’ prized Petermann Glacier had a huge piece of ice, “twice the size of Manhattan,” break free last month. I was mesmerized by the report, especially when it pointed out an even larger portion of Petermann, “four times the size of Manhattan,” had broken loose in June.

What an eye-opener. To think they actually name their glaciers up there. You know your winters are long and insufferably boring when you begin giving surnames to random pieces of ice. For the sake of their sanity, I’m cheering on global warming and melting glaciers. Hey, I’ve seen “The Shining” more than a few times. There’s something spooky about folks who just sit around watching ice crystals form – so they’ll have some company.

“Hello, Mr. Petermann, what will it be?”

“I’m awfully glad you asked, Lloyd.”

But on to the more serious, scientific angle of these melting glacier reports, namely, the sizes of those breakaway icebergs. Marvel: How the frig did “Manhattan” become the measuring stick for breakaway icebergs?!

Here on LBI, we live right down the road from Manhattan and I guarantee there’s not one of us who has an acreage clue as to what “four times the size of “Manhattan” means. Hell’s bells, mere Manhattan-sized chunks might be a damn good thing. Now, had a chunk been four times the size of, say, Chatsworth, I’d be sweating it.

Anyway, I told my glacier-gazing buddy I would mention this ice-melting development since he accuses me of never presenting both sides to the rising-seas story. I’ll even offer this quote. “It’s dramatic. It’s disturbing,” said University of Delaware professor Andreas Muenchow, who was one of the first researchers to notice the break. “We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before.”

FALL WELCOMING: As oft happens when we return to the “R” months at summer’s end, it gets very fishy around here.

While boat fishing now falls off a wee bit, surf fishing 2012 is about to detonate, not only because it’s lining up to be a classic fall, weather-wise, but also because there have never been so many surfcasters ready to rumble.

I know you’ve heard tell of ye olden LBI fishing days when surfcasting reigned supreme around here. In a classicist way, it’s very true that fall was once all but owned by surfcasters. However, those glory days were not overly populated.

I have mulled over dozens of old, fall, beach-fishing shots from LBI, when it was called “a secret island getaway.” You can see for miles between anglers. Gorgeous openness, bordering on nothingness. There was no jockeying for jetty space – or beach space, prior to the jetties (1960s). Back then, when you did happen upon a fellow caster, there was a brotherhood gleaned from the distances between.

Nowadays, each arriving fall attracts surf-fishing squads in record numbers. Sure, places like Beach Haven have always had a healthy quota of sudsers, but when you now factor in the entire 18 miles of beach between BL and Holgate, the total count of Island casters has become all-time astronomical.

Expectedly, there are instant elitists who openly fret over the escalating surfside angler presence. I cynically snicker over the fact that the most vocal moaners and groaners are the proverbial black kettles. They, themselves, are at the heart of the population over-boom – yet they want all others gone. Fortunately, they’re few and far between.

The incoming tide of casters poses no sweat for me. Despite my generally poor socializing skills, I sorta enjoy cruising the beach and seeing so many people have fishing fun. Fine folks, too.

Now, if I could only get more of y’all to climb aboard the annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic, sponsored by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. This epic contest is meant for all models of surfcaster. It’s an eelgrass-roots, eight-week challenge that thrives on new faces, many of whom become surprise winners.

This year the Classic runs between Oct. 8 and Dec. 4.

Myth buster: The Classic is not even remotely an exclusive or uppity event. In fact, the longer eight-week format is actually designed to allow the maximum number of anglers to get in, fit in, fishing sessions.

The 2012 brochures and sign-up forms for the 2012 LBI Surf Fishing Classic will hit the participating tackle shops shortly. Those are: Surf City Bait & Tackle; Fisherman’s Headquarters; Jingles Bait & Tackle Shop; Oceanside Bait & Tackle.

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: I’ve been going “pro” in Holgate, though definitely not fishing-wise – though I have been catching more fish than usual, which isn’t saying much. Thanks to my new GoPro camcorder, I’m seeing – and capturing – the south end in a whole new light.

You’ve surely heard of GoPros; tiny, ready-for-abuse, high-def cameras, developed by Woodman Labs in Half Moon Bay, California. They’re right up the extreme angling alley.

Admittedly, my first YouTube creations via GoPro are so far from pro that the YouTube people debated banning me for at least two months on principal alone. Not true. It turns out YouTube is actually run by the cameras themselves and show no prejudices.

Despite my shaky start in the videography realm, just the recording process itself was a blast. I got to drive along the south end beach while sticking the GoPro out the truck window. Now that’s “raw footage.”

Check out my maiden YouTube voyage by going to YouTube and type in “First Day Drive On Holgate.”

The audio for my “drive on” was some self-humming along with riveting choruses in deafening Windese.

I have quickly elevated my camcorder game by doing YouTube stints using a GoPro headband attachment. I’ve focused on casting net for mullet – from the eyes of the tosser, i.e. me. Check those out at YouTube by typing “Net mullet Holgate” or, better yet, go to www.jaymanntoday.ning.com and check blogs with YouTube links.

The latest one, YouTube titled “trip to rip raw,” shows the insane mullet run we’re having.

By the by, I have to explain the weird rusty water color in those netting scenes, since the main feedback I’m getting is focused on the odd, tea-colored look of the bay. While that bay water sure looks identical to every and all Pinelands lakes and creeks, similar coloration does occasionally show up in our bays. It’s almost always the result of downpour rains and runoff from the mainland. The tint can linger for days and weeks after the source storm. Importantly, there’s not a thing wrong with that water, as evidenced by the torrid fishing action near where I recorded my mullet netting.

For real-time Holgate updates, check with tackle shops or my blogsites.

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA: Leaving Holgate last week toward dark, I clearly saw a truly massive shark right in the first cut. It was maybe 20 yards out, if that. It came up in a wave and its dorsal fin broke water. It was pushing 8 feet – maybe larger. I kid you not. I don’t kid about that stuff.

I grabbed my Canon, jumped out of my truck and waited over ten minutes for it to show again. No luck. Drat!

It was high tide and the huge shark seemed to be interested in that fluke-heavy cut right next to the beach. Hey, there’s many a shark that loves fluke, especially sand tigers.

I’m guessing it might show again.

BUGGY BANTER: I took part in a minor dig-out on the beach on Friday. A smaller, Wrangler-type Jeep had gone a-bog.

A fellow who knows how to drive the beach had carefully dropped his tires to 15 psi – and confidently zipped on. He didn’t make it far before he had buried the rear part of the Jeep’s chassis.

He had forgotten to put the Jeep into 4WD.

That hit kinda close to home. I’ll bet I’ve done that over a dozen times. However, in his instance, his buggy had meaty, all-terrain tires, with enough bite to gnaw through granite. Before he could detect the 2WD under sight, the rear tires bulldogged into the sand. Futilely spinning tires marked his arrival in downtown Bogsville. Say “Hey” to the pharmacist there for me.

His sinkage looked to be a simple pullout matter but it took an odd turn, becoming a heart-to-heart matter.

Another buggyist had stopped a tad before me to help the fellow, handing him a shovel. As I walked up, the stuckee had already begun to dig but I immediately had an eerily bad feeling. I all but grabbed the shovel away and volunteered to assume digging duty.

I was immediately thanked and rather calmly told by the fellow he had just had quadruple bypass surgery. I kid you not. We’re talking only days before. But damn if he wasn’t about to take responsibility for his buggying blunder by digging for all he was worth.

It’s the thought that counts, my friend. And it ends in a heartbeat. Gimme the frickin’ shovel.

As is often the case, a couple other vehicles stopped. The available manpower went through the ceiling, as some muscle joined the extraction team.

For my part, I did a fair spurt of digging. No biggy. I actually enjoy the hell outta digging, always have. Others also moved sand from beneath the hung-up frame.

The small Jeep was fairly quickly ready for a gang push. After some serious heaving, it broke free.

The loosed buggyist stopped a short distance away, got out and offered a deep thank-you bow. He noticed we had all worked up a bit of a pant. Looking over at us he said, “Hey, if anybody needs some nitro pills, I got plenty.”

I laughed all the way off the beach.

POGO JR. ON-BOARD: I had a cool animal experience last week.

Egged on by the smell of fresh mullet in the back of my truck, a rambunctious adolescent possum climbed into the bed after dark and got hung up in my cast net – which I had carelessly thrown in the back.

When first uncovered, the little bugger went into a “play dead” mode.

By the by, that survival device is not voluntary. A possum literally passes out, as in, “Oh, my god!” Clunk. In this case, its tongue came out and its face and eyes took on the look of a college freshman after a frat party.

To remove Pogo Jr., I didn’t even have to don gloves.

Nature note: You do not want to get tagged by a possum. Talk about wicked-sharp incisors.

It turned out the explorative marsupial wasn’t actually entwined in my net but had gotten under it and likely panicked. I’m guessing he freaked, passed out, slowly woke up, looked around, freaked again, passed out, etc.

Slowly lifting the net, I picked up his psuedo-rigor mortis body by sliding my hand underneath. I then kindheartedly walked him over to some thick bushes – and boot kicked him in. Not true. I rolled him under the plants.

By the next morning, he was gone. He did, however, leave some soily reminders of his visit to my truck – along with indicators he might not have been acting alone. My hood and front windshield had a party’s worth of perfect little possum tracks.

Hey, it’s all good with wildlife – except for biting insects from hell.

Similarly …

A TOUCH OF HUMAN KINDNESS: Jim V., of http://exit63.wordpress.com fame, rescued a young herring gull with the treble from a plug fully impaled in its beak.

Comforting his daughter, he named it: Nacho CheezIt.

Hell-bent on helping the distressed gull, Jim applied the recognized towel head covering technique to marginally calm the large and bitey bird before grabbing it.

Then, instead of undertaking a fairly advanced in-field hook removal, he went the extra mile(s) and rushed the weakened shorebird all the way over to Barnegat Animal Clinic.

He found salvation at the clinic.

In Jim’s words, “These have to be the greatest people on the planet. Even though they had a packed office on a busy Saturday afternoon, they let crazy old me bring in a Herring Gull, and they fixed him up like new. They were genuinely happy to do so and sincerely sympathetic to poor little CheezIt’s situation. They refused to accept any money for what they did. I strongly suggest you send these people extravagant gifts and thank you cards for all they do and their willingness to do it. I know I’m going to.”

The eventually released CheezIt was a total success. The bird quickly settled down to munching itself to full recovery.

You can get an amazing photo timeline of the rescue at Jim’s website.

AFTERBEAK: Beak-hooked birds are the stuff of professional extractions. I was taught – and have oft performed – the proper and humane hook-removal method. The problem is it requires heavy-duty wire clippers or barb-flattening devices, to keep things minimally destructive.

In an outback crunch, one can try a standard dehooking method, like that used on fish. However, birds are way less tolerant of such power hook removing.

Unlike tough-mouthed fish, a bird’s beak is downright delicate, particularly if yanked to-and-fro, while being cursed at. Beak hinges only go up and down, not sideways. If that hinge goes belly-up, so goes the bird.

Hopefully, I don’t have to remind anyone that you can’t just cut the line and leave a rig/hook in a bird’s mouth, expecting it to “rot out,” vis-à-vis fish.

When you’ve accidentally hooked any bird, you’ve involuntarily bonded – in both a kindly and legal way. It becomes your responsibility to humanely free the animal, even if it means calling a cop or calling it a day and heading to a veterinarian.

By the technical way, the word is vet-ER-inarian, not vet-in-arian. It’s one of the most mispronounced words in the English language if I do say so myself.

RUNDOWN: After offering panfishermen the best summer in years, if not decades,kingfish are about to move out. The ones remaining are large and meaty. Prioritize searching for them if you want to land one of the best-tasting fish along our shore.

Bluefish have been spurting through our waters. The tailors (2- to 3-pounds) have shown up in huge numbers – an instant hookup per cast – but have totally disappeared just as quickly. Tiny snappers are ruling the roost. Too boring to target, per se. Bait fishing easily outfishes plugs.

Small stripers are going for artificials. Overall, very low showing of bass due to this 70-degree water. I’m thinking next week or the following before bass in numbers arrive.

Weakfishing is peaking. It’s restricted to bayside and inlets. Boat anglers could soon see the first schools of migrating weakies, off the water tower, south end. This year the stocks are so thick it becomes a yawner once you’re on the bite. Still, only one per angler. The biggest I’ve seen was 8 pounds.

Fluking is running out. Not the fish but the season. However, the overall hooking has also slowed a bit. It won’t be gone for many weeks to come.

Here’s a doormat blog from my website: As I was leaving Holgate, I saw Dante S. coming on the beach. Then I got this Facebook read – and ogled over the photo from Oceanside. I wouldn’t know what to do with a 10-pound fluke.

Dante’s 10-pounder from the beach! Live mullet. Magic man lost a big one this morning then got it back tonight! Luckiest jerk I know! Val.

Photo by Jim V. 

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