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Thursday, September 30, 2004: Waves: Diminishing 4-6 foot northerly ground swell. Light winds this a.m. ? going south later. Water clarity: Poor in many areas.

As I fished and threw net yesterday I realized the wind and rain mucked up the water a lot worse than I thought. The viz was way down with some brown thrown in. There was also the expected showing of grass bits and pieces common with a blow. While things will improve today for the nearshore waters, the beachfront water is going to take at least another day to clean up.
The bassing took a beating yesterday as huge waves and mucked up waters made plugging tough and bait fishing an ordeal. I had one small bass in Holgate ? in my castnet. The 16-incher ripped a nasty hole in my Bett?s, which will take some serious sewing to de-hole. I also saw a striper of equal size jump out of the water chasing the loads of peanut bunker than moved inside Little Egg Inlet, likely to avoid the storm.
During rising tide, the folks plugging for bass had very little to show and most made a short day of it after grass and dirtiness made it a tough throw.
Winds kept most boat anglers at bay. A few weakies were caught in protected zones but that bite will take another day to get back to the briskness of pre-storm.
I was asked by a few folks if the trophy tag program is in place. Yes, it is ? kinda. I was told that those folks with tags can keep an extra bass but no new tags will be issued this year. I will call yet another time to confirm this. If you have a tag you may keep a fish over 28 inches. That is what I was told all along: 28 inches. Some folks are saying the trophy tag fish must be over 34. I never heard that from any state authority. The 28-inch trophy tag fish actually represents the size which will fill the established state ?commercial? poundage of bass for this year. As you know, that?s the commercial quota which goes over to the recreational sector since Jersey has gamefish-only status for stripers. The size should not be affected by the ASMFC recreational mandates, which led to our change in bass laws.
Of note: NJ technically has bass ?laws,? while other states have bass ?rules and regulations.? This is because the state?s Legislature determines the disposition of striped bass ? as we learned all too well in recent months. This setup reflects the Gamefish Only status of the species, a status which was established by the Legislature, thusly becoming its domain. Yes, the bass responsibility could probably be voted over to the DEP, which would control the bass via the NJMFC. However, that council is made up of an equal number of commercial and recreational representatives, meaning some serious decisions on the species could come down with a huge commercial say. Commercialites have long been bitter over their inability it keep (and sell) even by-catch bass. This could lead to some odd tweaking of the bass regs if the NJMFC ruled the species.
More update stuff later today.
Holgate stuff: The beach was totally overwashed during the storm but the beachfront erosion was not extreme. There are still very skinny spots which go under fairly quickly with the rising tides. The main overwash took place at the south end, where high tide water created lakes over toward the refuge. No serious impediments to driving, though.
Please contact me with reports or comments at [email protected]

[ 09-30-2004, 07:59 AM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
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