>> AUGUST 1, 2013 <<
This is really two quick stories in one to start this off as I continue to get questions on which new super-duper piece of reel jewelry a fishermen should buy for cod fishing, and I keep saying that the reels from two decades ago are good enough to catch fish like this:
Now which reels am I talking about? The same reels I keep mentioning in various threads over the past two years!
Anyone who has fished with out group will see the same reels made up of 300 series Newells along with Daiwa 50H & 300H reels filled with 40lb test mono. These "old time" reels filled with 40 LB pound test mono is what we normally use for mid depth and offshore wreck fishing. They work just fine and result in fish like this:
Even when fishing wrecks at this depth:
If you do fish a wreck with bigger size cod and pollock, keep a reel in your tackle bag filled with 50 lb monofilament line, but this is not really necessary when you tie your rigs with either one or two hooks on 50 lb test leader material.
Don't get caught up in the big dollar reel hype for the wreck fishing we do in this region. Spend your money in going fishing and learning how to catch fish like you see in the above images. Take it from these guys who use these reels!
CAPTAIN JIM CICCHETTI of the ATLANTIC STAR & CAPTAIN BILL DOTTS
This weekend both Big Al and myself took a ride down to visit with Captain Bill Dotts who then took us around the Cape May area where we stopped off to see Captain Jim Cicchetti, owner and operator of the STARLIGHT FLEET.
Among the stories going back to the seventies when the worked deck together with Captain Robbins to Captain Bill eventually running the Applegate and Applejack and Captain Jim moving to the commercial fishing end for a number of years. Both of these captain have seen and personally found more then their share of wrecks, but there was something which caught my attention and it was a story about Captain Jim while pulling a scallop drag back in the day and hanging up just inshore of Wilmington Canyon in an area now known as the Cape May Rocks. How many BSB have been caught in this area during the winter since that time?
There was one other point that is a sign of the times in the for-hire industry, especially in the most southern part of New Jersey. His triple screw super cruiser the Atlantic Star, is the last of the big boats in this area.
One has to travel back north to Barnegat Light to find the DM and MBl which are the lone remaining offshore party boats south of Pt. Pleasant. Long gone are the days when the southern New Jersey offshore for-hire fishing fleet and noted captains such as Captain Teddy Weeks of the "THUMPER", Captain Billy Wolff of the "VIVIAN II", Captain Ray Ettel of the "WHITE STAR", Captain Andy Applegate of the "APPLEGATE", Captain Paul Barrus of the "NORTH STAR" and Captain Clarence Apel of the CAPT. STARN.
Hopefully Captain Jim will be making many more offshore tile and sea bass trips come this winter.
YOU MIGHT NOT LIKE WHAT COMES BACK AT YOU"
Question: Is their freedom of speech, thought and opinion on a internet website?
Answer: Obviously not.
Last week I received a long distance call about an email that was sent to him (and I should add myself), from a noted inshore captain who he had sailed with in the past. He couldn't understand why the email was sent out, nor how an advertiser to a fishing site could be banned.
You may be asking the typical gumshoe questions of who, what and why this would happen to someone who pays for advertising, and their right to expression cut off by a sites moderator(s).
I explained to him what I knew about this:
You have been banned by a moderator on XXXXXXXX.com.
BAN DATE: 07/15/13
REASONS: Starting trouble and disparaging members and moderators.
Oh dear, that thorny "the starting trouble" clause in the TOS (Terms of Service) that many websites insert into their registration sign up to make you aware that you can be cut off at anytime when your keyboard rants become "intolerable" to the "mods."
I have told this captain once before that he had become just a little too boisterous for the North Korean (style) moderating team at that website, and "to ease off, before he gets tossed off." More specifically, I told him "you are never going to win or make headway with the argument you are presenting there."
I do understand his passion and conviction for being one of the lone voices in trying to stave off the increased commercial fishing pressure to a fishery that is still in a state of rebuilding in his area....a fishery which has seen a noticeable renaissance since the mid-ninties when this particular regional bottom fishery was clearly both unviable and as much, unfishable, due to the conditions within that Bay.
He stayed, watched, waited and picked away, trying to build a little-something out of what figuratively was nothing during those bleak years. The Bay gradually came back in health, both in water quality and as much, the bounty of flatfish that would migrate back inshore every spring. From what many fishermen have seen the last few years, It truly is one of a handful of successful fishery rebuilding stories in New England over the past two decades.
Sadly though, this has not been much of the case this season as catches have not been up to par with what had been seen in the previous years, with the finger being pointed by this captain to the directed commercial fishing activities (both legal and questionable), that has so far been done by the commercial day boat fleet in 2013.
Question is, can we say for certainty that the increased daily poundage catch limit on blackback flounder, being the "direct cause" of recreational fishing inside the Bay to not be as good as what had been seen in the previous years?
I posed this question to a well known captain who happens to be one of the best I know when it comes to flounder fishing, and his answer may surprise a few of you.
He directly stated to me, "NO." He said that in general, seeing catches fall off one season can be due to a number of factors, and with blackback flounders it could come right down to the conditions in a area/region just not being right when they are migrating either inshore or back offshore from within the bay areas. He added that to judge the health of any fishery, you would need a three year period to make such an assessment if a fishery was either declining or rebuilding.
In wrapping this up here, one has to look at both the big and small picture of what is going on within New England waters and along that coastline. There has been continual dislocation and displacement of fishermen from the New England ground fisheries over the past few years, and as much, the prospects in the coming years are more bleak then positive for a number of fisheries in that region. Fishermen in New England are in full survival mode if they are still in business at this time, in part to the Catch Shares polices put in place during Jane Lubchenco tenure as the head of NOAA.
Finally, for those who do want to get involved, here is a previous email he sent to me on this topic:
Many of you have responded to my prior email about my petition to stop commercial fishing for winter flounder in state waters (all states!) and the waters adjacent to state waters. Thank you!
This is not in any way a vendetta against draggers, gill netters, fyke or trap fishermen; it is simply a means to restore a traditional rod and reel fishery to what it was before the proliferation of modern commercial fishing methods with far, far too much gear in the water - The stocks simply can't take it!
The issue is that inshore commercial fishermen are targeting the exact same "inshore stock" of flounder that have been traditionally caught by recreational anglers to a point that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all no longer have a viable recreational fishery at all. They also have a two fish recreational limit as we in Massachusetts have in the Southern part of the state.
This past fall (October, 2012) the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Advisory Panel doubled the state boats daily quota for winter flounder AND the federal government gave the federal boats a 77% reduction in cod which was their primary target. Now many of those boats are focusing on flounder and that is fine as long as the stocks can handle it but the fact is that they are "working on" the very same fish that have been enjoyed by thousands of recreational anglers in Boston Harbor and all the harbors facing Cape Cod Bay and the Gulf of Maine for the past 10 years or so of recovering stocks.
Many, many thousands more anglers, perhaps millions, enjoyed recreational flounder fishing in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey too. We can bring that back! A boon to tackle shops, hotels and fishing businesses up and down the coast but 1st we have to bring back the flounder in other states and southern Ma. and to save what we have in northern Ma. However, at the current rate of destruction, there will be ZERO recreational fishery for flounder anywhere.
The petition is simple:
Stop all commercial fishing for winter flounder in all state waters (in all states) and the waters 5 miles beyond to protect the inshore stock of flounder that has traditionally been accessed by recreational anglers.
If there is any bycatch fishery, make it no more than 25 pounds/boat/day. All boats that wish to fish for winter flounder in waters beyond the state (and adjacent) waters must have a VMS (vessel monitoring system).
Please send me your name and home town and I will add you to the petition. Please pass this email on to all that may care-Thank you!
Anyone who needs more information and wants to be added to the petition, let me know and I will forward your name and hometown to this captain who has been working on this petition.
Nonetheless though, in this day and age fishermen have to realize where they are picking their fishery-battles. As I was told a long time back,
There is no fairness in fishery regulations.....
When it comes to your written freedom of expression, you have to understand that there are limits to what will be tolerated on any fishing forum based website.
I was thinking "King Cod" (Thanks to Robert for this shot)
KNUCKLEHEAD BISCUIT ON THE
SOUTHERN PEBBLE BOTTOM GROUNDS
WITH THE YANKEE CAPTS
Ever since I posted the PULLEY RIDGE trip here last month, the calls, emails and texts from a few guys out there poking around and asking questions on what Captain Greg of the >>> YANKEE CAPTS <<< fishes on to make the tote-filling catches he does each and every trip.
I have asked Captain Greg on more then one occasion to talk to this one noted captain from up this way, who has been asking about wreck fishing, and I keep telling this same captain that it is a little different in the Gulf of Mexico on where the YANKEE CAPTS travels to catch the big bottom fish you see in the pictures.
I can pass along here, that there is still some disbelief that you can consistently catch various trophy sized bottom fish by fishing ledges, hard bottom and other bottom anomalies along with wrecks in that region. I did refer this captain to take a look at the images Captain Greg posts in his YC report on the bottom he NORMALLY fishes during his trips.
As Captain Greg noted in one of his fish reports which should some of the bottom he fishes:
The other shots are from a new piece of mutton bottom I found out in the middle of the desert.
Don't get "hung up" on wanting to fish wrecks if you travel from these parts to fish on the YANKIEE CAPTS. Captain Greg will tell you that there is much more to this type of bottom fishing when you fish in the Gulf of Mexico!
CAPTAINS YOU NEVER HEARD OF
WHO CALL THEMSELVES "SPECIALIST"
It was two months ago that a retired New Jersey charter captain contacted me and asked if I knew about XXXXXXXX fishing operation.
My answer: I did not....nor did I know of the captain either.
This started a little rant from this retired New Jersey charter captain about how it used to be with guys "back in the day" coming up through the ranks (worked on party or commercial boats) and some eventually becoming a captain and/or owner of a for-hire business. Essentially, if you were around in a particular region, someone in the fishing business would know who you were and where you worked.
As he said,
Almost all the guys started "somewhere" and you earned the label over many years for your business and being known as a specialist in catching some type of fish.........
Over the last three decades, we can state that there are a number of fishermen who have:
1- a good amount of disposable income burning a hole in their pocket to buy a boat
2- armed with information on where to go to catch fish
3- the aide of modern electronics to get around and find fish
4- easy access to those "a captain in a day" type MMD schools
which has allowed almost anyone to start their own little charter business.
It should be noted that most of these captains just love to fish with a number of them being pretty decent operations, and I should add, darn good fishermen in their own right, easily putting together catches of what were considered the "specialist" inshore and near shore fish, most notably stripers, blackfish and codfish..........again snickers from the peanut gallery, especially those who ran boats during the "time and course" Loran A era.
Going back to those who grew up during the era post World War II, almost all of these top captains started working deck for some older fishing operation, and worked their way up to the big chair in the wheelhouse before getting their own fishing business if they chose to go off on their own.
This was the way it worked back in the day, and after kicking this back and forth with this retired captain, I said a good number of captains do becoming pretty sharp at catching a number of species, and that is why they call themselves or their business "top or bottom fishing specialist."
He understood................ to a point, but I know he was still annoyed about a number of these new jack "specialist", self-anointing themselves with this once honored for-hire industry label.
I ended the conversation with this captain by stating:
Yes "back in the day", being called a specialist of top or bottom fishing really meant something....these days it has become often used as standard marketing tool by many captains in their advertising to attract people to their fishing business....
Ps.....and can you blame these captains anyway these days with the way the for-hire has gone?
BREAK OUT THE BANANAS FOR THE BLUES
So far for the 2013 bluefish season, one of the easier fish to find and catch, has become as tough to find as a winter blackback..........
Even stranger is what can be described as 2013 has seen the biggest boom in the sand eel population in this region in what seems decades.
It has made a few guys here in the Bay say,
Time to break out the banana's!
First a little, true story.....
A number of years back, one of the bottom fish operators switched over to bluefish, since all the bluefish boats were railed each and everyday and the bottom fishing was very slow.
After the ad was put into the daily rags pointing out that the boat switching over to blues, a customer calls up and gets the captains wife on the phone. Part of the conversation was about the fare for the trip and how the fishing was, and then the customer asked if they carry banana's on the boat.
The captain wife paused, then said that she didn't think they carried any fruit in the galley to the best of her knowledge but she would ask her husband if it was possible for someone to go down to the fruit store before the trip left in the morning so that banana's would be available for any of the customers to buy if they "wanted to eat one during the trip."
The customer then said to her, "what the heck are you talking about lady....I'm talking about the fishing lure, not the fruit!"
The name "banana" was a pretty appropriate name to give to a long rubber-like tube lure designed by Don Bingler for catching the gorilla bluefish that came around in the seventies. At the time these bigger bluefish were literally swallowing diamond jigs, and that was becoming a very expensive proposition. In the many conversations I had with Donald "Duck" Ambrico, he discussed with Don Bingler about coming out with a longer lure that would not get bit off as much as the standard diamond jig would when squidding for bluefish.
After some trial and error, Don came up with a latex tube roughly 10 inches long (almost 12 inches in over all length) with a special bent shot shank Limerick hook which was attached to bead chain instead of the common barrel swivel, and with 2.5 to 3 oz lead weight molded at the eye of the hook connected to the bead chain.
The lure was a success for a number of reasons especially during those years when there was a large boom in the sand eel population, especially when the target audience for this one lure was the for-hire party boat super cruiser fleet. What many may not remember that during those years, the only high speed party boat reel was the Penn Jigmaster. A few years later Newell Reels came out with their variation with the 300 series models and Daiwa came out with their workhorse conventional aluminum framed reel, the Sealine 50H.
During those years, the standard rental rod customers typically given out was a rod with a Penn 60 or Penn 65 reel attached to some stiff boat pole, and squidding with one of those two reels put these customers at a very big disadvantage at catch big bluefish with diamond jigs.
The Bingle banana became the "equalizer" lure that gave the rental rod customers a chance in catching big bluefish since the banana was relatively easy to cast out, then allowed to sink through the water column and then reeled in slowly. Most anyone with a heartbeat along the rail could follow this technique of squidding since the lure had what we term "built in action" due to the bent Limerick style hook that swiveled freely on the ball chain. It was the fishing textbook example of a lure that "matched the hatch", since the lure when reeled in with the slow retrieve Penn 60 & Penn 65 went through or better yet, "swam" through the water column like a sand eel.
For a period of roughly a decade, both the familiar 'forest' green and 'fire engine' red color latex tube banana were the must have colors to carry on a party or charter boat targeting bluefish....and they caught big blues!
As the sand eel population decreased during the eighties, the Bingle banana was used less and less, with most fishermen returning to using 4 and 6 oz diamond jigs with a flo green or red tube on the hook. During the nineties and beyond, the Bingle banana was rarely if ever used, and its been years since we have heard of anyone breaking out a banana lure when they go blue fishing.
But I should add there was a funny line concerning the Bingle banana written in one of the daily news rags a few years back:
Diane Santos and her son, Joseph, made the long bluefish trip aboard the Brooklyn VI on Friday and took home their limit of 8-14 pound blues using the new Bingle green banana lure!.
I highlight this fishing report from July 2000 and the mention of "NEW" BINGLE GREEN BANANA!
I would recommend for those fishermen, normally the older fishermen who still have a few Bingle bananas still laying around, to carry them in their tackle box and to use them these days. Sand eels and the Bingle banana were made for each other.
I do hope to get a chance to use a few of these Bingle banana's which the "Old Sage" passed along to me the other day. There is no doubt that these lures from a few decades back still will catch big blues these days.
Here are a few notable stories which I will keep my eye on..
From this JUNE 2013:
The plain fact is that installing solar panels, especially in the northern hemisphere, makes about as much economic sense as Iran heading up a UN Human Rights Commission (which it has done by the way). Equally, the viability of windfarms has always been the renewables industry’s worst kept secret.
Did you know that our beloved COX LEDGE has an area sectioned off to WIND FARMS?
I know a few of you progressive fishermen out there will Google in this issue and see the top searches showing: Cox's Ledge Removed from RI Wind Farm Project . Well someone has been doing the devils work:
The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. BOEM will auction the area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres.
Full size NOAA CHART found here: North and South Lease Areas within the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Wind Energy Area
I would refer to the story in the July 2013 - COMMERCIAL FISHERIES NEWS, PAGE14 by MIchele Hallowell; fourth column at the top:
Unfortunately, BOEM did not remove ALL of COX'S LEDGE, which any fisherman can tell you is incredibly important to multiple fisheries.
How about this one New Jersey fishermen:
The proposal by Liberty Natural Gas would include a port at sea to extract liquefied natural gas from specially designed ships that convert it back into a gas form so it could be pumped to shore on Long Island to serve the New York market. The system, which would use two buoys to connect with ships, could receive about 45 vessels per year filled with liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, mostly during the peak demand periods in winter and summer.
Called Port Ambrose, the system would be constructed about 19.5 miles off Jones Beach on Long Island and 28 miles east of Long Branch on the Jersey coast. It would require construction of a 19-mile pipeline buried in the sea floor and encased in concrete. The line would connect to the existing Transco pipeline 15 miles east of Sandy Hook.
Here is something ALL OF US CAN USE:
SCUTTLE WOODEN VESSELS ON ARTIFICIAL REEFS?
Here is a good one, and I might hear something from Captain Monty on this one!
Campbell said he tried to donate the New Hope to the Ocean City Reef Foundation, for the purposes of sinking her offshore and making it into an artificial reef. But the only boats they’ll take are made of steel.
I don't think you will find a finer collection of sharp images of shipwrecks.
ITS POLITICS THAT CONSUMES THE NEWS THESE DAYS
Do you know what I find amazing? No, not the Zimmerman verdict, but why some individuals on another fishing site are so giddy about what goes on at FISHING UNITED.COM. I guess I/we do offer something here for them to click on the FISHING UNITED website link!
Anyway I have been doing my share of reading the news stories about our Dear Leader, President Zero and the support given by those in the Jackass Party to the perv-twins, Weiner shrinking lead and Sptizer's swollen head......, but what is even as contemptible, a number of Re-pubic-cans who continue to not uphold the convictions and values that were once the platform of the party of Lincoln.
So as we are looking at the 2014 midterm elections, let me start this off by supporting any other republican senatorial candidate in the state of South Carolina who runs against a total buffoon, Lindsey Graham who made this statement the other day:
The United States should consider boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia grants National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden asylum.
This is what we have in congress...someone who will literally take away the great sacrifices by athletes and their families have made over the past few years due to the federal government not paying attention to whose minding the store at the NSA. Is it their fault that our government keeps giving out those top-secret security clearance like PEDs were sold at Biogenics?
It is headlines like this coming from the Rhino-wing of the party that has drawn my attention away from writing much "Insider" fishing news lately. Anyway, each week we should have a new "purge the beltway or state government" story to point out that we have to change this entrenched stench that we have in government, come 2014.
It is a truly a national disgrace on what is going on within our county at this time.
I had a number of emails and other stories that I am not going to post here at this time since I just want to get this NY BIGHT INSIDER out.
The big story within the next few days is Captain Greg and the YANKEE CAPTS returning from PULLEY RIDGE sometime tomorrow around noon. All I will say here, I wouldn't miss the report and pics, and as much, not to miss this type of trip in the future if your in Key West.
Anyway, time to get out there and catch some fish....you never know what you will put in the pail........