noaa other way to say it - The Fisherman

noaa other way to say it

noaa other way to say it

On May 18, Scott Albertson celebrated the 35th anniversary of his and wife Maureen’s (Mo) beloved Scott’s Bait and Tackle in Mystic Island.  “It’s been an amazing 35 years,” Scott posted online for the shop’s milestone. Having grown up in southern Ocean County and keeping a boat in Little Egg for a number of years, I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Scott’s Bait and Tackle, whether picking up bloodworms for the early striper run at Graveling Point, or collecting gear for Great Bay summer floundering; sometimes, it was just pick Scott’s brain for valuable local intel.

In the very same celebratory post made on May 18, Scott also divulged some rather sad news for the entire recreational community.

“Four years ago, I tried to step away again and failed. Since then it has been a good run, but there is less and less business each year as the regulations and season closures are choking the life out of the retail bait and tackle business. In the year 2000, there were nine employees working here on a Saturday; last year, only two or three handled the customer flow efficiently. That is a pretty extreme change. In the late 1990s there was a 4th of July weekend where Russ told Danny Giberson that we needed 110 gallons of minnows for the weekend and Danny later told us he was thinking ‘Yeah, right’ and it turned out I think the final count was 114 gallons. Fluke fishing isn’t like that anymore!”

 “In the years 1999-2000 we would sell 3,000 shedder crabs a week, except for the random dozen crabs someone dropped off now and again, I haven’t stocked shedders in over 10 years. Again, a really big difference in sales when your weakfish are scarce and the bag limit is one. Around 2010, when the striped bass fishing in Little Egg Inlet was epic, we had back to back weeks where we sold 165 bushels of clams. In 2019, we were lucky if we were even able buy 165 bushels for the entire season, due to the lack of clams being harvested as well as no need for that volume of bait anymore since the big bass just have not returned to the Little Egg Inlet in the fall, possibly due to the change in the inlet structure. Back then, a quality shop like Fisherman’s Headquarters would weigh in more stripers for the LBI surf derby on LBI on a Friday afternoon than the entire derby weigh-ins for the whole fall tournament last fall season.

 I suppose my point is, fishing in south New Jersey has really changed.”

You can read the post in its entirety at Scottsbt.com; it’s a sobering manifesto about the state of our recreational fishing industry which should be required reading of those who work at NOAA Fisheries and in the halls of Congress.  The fisheries laws developed in 1996 and 2006 aimed at sustaining vibrant fishing communities have clearly failed the communities themselves.  As recently reported at Breitbart.com, NOAA Fisheries records show that as many as 50 party boats closed up shop in New Jersey from 1996 to 2019; honestly, the COVID-19 crisis has since threatened the rest.

Scott did tell me the shop is not for sale; he also mentioned that he and Mo are still around, doing repairs, selling a few rods/reels and Pop’s rigs, as managing Mystic Reel Parts.  But he plans on slowly reducing the other tackle and getting out of the bait side of things.  And so, it is with genuine sincerity that I wish my friends Scott and Mo the very best in the future.  And who knows, maybe soon I’ll actually bump into Scotty on the fishing grounds rather than just behind the counter he’s manned nearly every single day for the past 35 years.

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