Friday, November 30, 2018

Concern for Menhaden (Bunker)

Over the years, I've followed the concern somewhat for our primary saltwater forage fish. Here's a link to an article from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Pine Snake and the Law

Sitting here bummed out a little, I reflected on my state and asked myself what to do next. I thought of posting my concern. I admit I'm a naïve sort. All of these years herping with my son, who no longer does much of this, now a Sophomore physics major at Boston University, I never managed to inform myself much on the law. I knew you can't keep reptiles from the wild, and we never had the slightest intention of doing so. But you can't "harass" non-game endangered species like the pine snake, either.

I believe 100% in a boy's natural inclination not only to look at such a snake, but engage with it. Of course, when Matt did just that, I was his grown-up father who had no desire to run after and capture the six-foot creature with the powerful jaws to get around without getting bitten by them, which Matt managed to do. I did put on the brakes for him. He saw the snake from the window as we traversed a Pinelands sand road with New Jersey Audubon, and before the car even came to complete sudden halt, his door was open and he was out running clad only in socks, having taken his sneakers off for some reason.

We did no harm to the snake. Matt held it briefly as not only I photographed it, but a dozen or so NJ Audubon members did so as well, not a word of protest from anyone about the broken law, only amazement, photos immediately circulating online. Actually, the link I've connected you to features a pine snake he caught a year later in the Pines, but the point here is moot. No law about "harassment," as if we had any such intent--no, not at all--trumps a higher natural law about boys and their engagement with nature. Nothing will ever prompt me to take this post I've linked you to, and the photo, down.

Who knows. Maybe Litton's Fishing Lines has never taken any awards--many other New Jersey blogs have--because we're too edgy. If you're with me, though, you believe not only in freedom of speech, honesty, candor, and rigor, but freedom to act, as well.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Shifting Borders

Another fall nears closing as once again the surf striper run on the Jersey coast has fallen apart. This fall, a lot of bass got caught three miles or so out to sea, but repeated nor'easters contributed to vacant surf lines. I don't know much of the whole story, but my brother Rick and I have been talking about surf fishing since August, so we were ready to take our opportunity, which never unfolded. He lives in Wall a mile from the beach, and he's been at the ready to say go.

We also hoped to fish Lake Hopatcong. I doubt he's even seen the lake since January 1978, but he's up for walleye and hybrids sometime. Our plan got cut short because Dow's Boat Rentals had to pull the boats, the lake level sinking too low. Every five years, the lake gets drawn down five feet so docks can be maintained.

I also hoped to fly fish on Wednesday, but rivers already high and off-color are flooding plenty now with the next heavy rain falling two days after the previous. More rain is in the forecast for later this week, too.

The climate is mixed up. It seems to me as if the bulk of the stripers weren't interested in the surf line this fall or last regardless of waves as high as 15 feet. Why specifically I don't know. And I don't know if climate has anything to do with it, just that my gut tells me it might. Borders will change as seas rise. The way maps divide regions now will alter.