Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have You Seen that Boat Off Deal Lake Jetty?

Hey, What’s That Boat Doing in My Fishing Hole?

Fishermen casting off the jetty by Deal Lake, erroneously known as the 8th Avenue Fishing Pier or Beach, say the presence of a fishing trawler with the sign “107” on its cabin is scaring away their catch.

Around dawn you may have heard or felt the rhythmic compression of the little boat’s hefty motor, which powers a giant claw that roils up the sea bed, sending schools fleeing. Hence, the fishermen’s gripe.

They speculated on Tuesday about the closeness of the boat to the beach, what some thought might be a violation of the two-mile limit. We got curious and checked with the DEP.

The boat, called The Skimmer, is licensed by the NJ Division of Fish and Wild Life, under the authority of the Department of Environment Protection, to dredge up bait clams in condemned waters, according to Conservation Officer III Clint Dravis. Bait clams are the big-shelled monsters that sometimes end up in chowder – usually tough as shoes. The skipper of The Skimmer can legally do this from Sandy Hook to Cape May, year round.

What about the two-mile limit? Along the coastline the borders that define condemned waters vary, with the limit for Asbury Park and Deal extending only a half-mile into the ocean, which keeps him close to our shoreline here - Sorry, guys! By comparison The Skimmer can go out a full mile from Sandy Hook's shore. After that point, boats licensed to harvest edible clams take over the territory.

As for the fishermen’s complaints, Dravis says bad fishing doesn’t usually follow The Skimmer. In fact where the condemned and open water lines gets close, those edible clam hunters may actually follow boats like The Skimmer to pick off the large fish often drawn by the stray bait clams that can get away. Maybe it was this wild weather approaching that drove the fish away, fellas.
Maureen Nevin - Asbury Radio

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