The Fish Story

Mighty Fine Boulevard Splash; Getting Dander Up Over Urban Pants and Burkinis

By JAY MANN | Sep 20, 2016

In case you weren’t splashing around the Island on Monday, that was some damn decent flooding, the type flooding I thought we might have seen with that recent flub of a tropical storm. Over three inches of rain fell … rapidly. However, that’s just a drop in the bucket for a tropical system.

The Boulevard went way under in many Island areas, even the north end. I’d rate the worst spots as experiencing near-serious flooding, but only for roadways. “Serious” flooding, when used in an overall sense, means houses are entertaining water intrusion.

This flooded road event proved, for the umpteenth time, our vulnerability when it comes to sudden weather attacks. All routes of escape, i.e. one, immediately submerged. The majority of lower-profile vehicles were SOL if evacuation had become critical. I’ve long said the immortal “Big One” will come out of the blue. I saw that with the totally unpredicted March Storm of ’62. Sneaker storms have our number.

When I think “Big One” I stray a bit off the beaten path by including the possibility of a tsunami. These once-called tidal waves are truly absurdly low on the likelihood scale, especially when compared to the ultra high chance of an everyday run-of-the-mill killer storm inundating us.

I attribute my tsunami fear to my Hawaiian surfing background. I became all too familiar – and regularly freaked – by monstrous “outside sets.” Those are waves far larger than the day’s norm. When sitting on a surfboard and seeing a massive Hawaiian wave set building on the horizon, it is the epitome of an arriving tsunami.

Monday’s flooding was primarily rainwater, not saltwater, though the runoff was trapped on the road top by a high tide, bayside.

While we badly needed rain, it’s far more advantageous getting it in friendlier doses. Still, this dousing will greatly hike the sagging water table. The bay won’t fare as favorably. We had been dry for so dang long that roads, yards, even rooftops had gathered loads of chemical crap, which became instant pollution when suddenly rinsed into the bay.

One bayside upside to a mid-September flood is the lack of hot weather in its wake. Beat-down heat can spark algal blooms feeding off the assorted organics ushered in by runoff, like fertilizers and even petroleum byproducts, which some algae savor. Nonetheless, the bay is going to be a bit of a mess for many days to come. I even see the potential for some horrid grass problems in Little Egg Inlet, as sea lettuce and such, washed off the mudflats, sloshes in and out of the inlets with the tides.

I’ll be interested to see if the masses of blowfish continue to hang around inside Barnegat Inlet. Not likely, though.

I’M BUSTIN’ OUT THE SIXTIES: Apparently the old Sixties-me isn’t entirely dead. Over the weekend, I got into a flashback dash of freedom fury. It was over those absurdly low-slung, oversized, urban-based pants worn to shout out bad-assedness, while allowing said bad-assedness to hang out, literally.

That droopy pants look has snaked out of its urban birthplace, emerging upon the kids of midtown suburbia. The loose-fitting look is now being stumblingly strutted by skinny, white, gangsta wannabes – better make that neverbes.

I’ll bet the split-level you didn’t know that wearing low-slung pants has a street name. It’s called “bustin’ slack.”

Actually, that name is kinda cool, visually. If it didn’t look so damned stupid, I’d like to bust some slack just to tell folks that’s what I’m doin’ – before also explaining why my Hanes six-pack briefs are hangin’ out, uh, chillin’.

It’s not like I really give a rat’s ass about such odd attire. I was among many hysterically laughing over real-life videos showing petty hoods trying to bust slack while being chased by cops – making it a few yards before getting leg-lassoed by their own further-falling britches. Even the cops were laughing their butts off.

But, here I am, suddenly rearing up in defense of the right to freely bust slack. It stems from a you’ll-love-this-Jay email I got about some back-asswards Alabama town, Dadeville, which is hell-bent on banning bustin’ slack.

While the Confederate flag-waving Deep South, despite its blind patriotism, has never been overly large on First Amendment rights, I was blown back to the Black Ages by Dadeville’s Bible Belt criteria for banning overly slack slacks. One of the town councilors, Frank Goodman, went so far as claiming divine motivation in his effort to reel in britches.

“I prayed about this. I know that God would not go around with pants down,” he told reporters, further adding, “It’s one of the things He did not do. It is not in His orders to do that to gain eternal life.”

Wow. There’s some slack bustin’ out in that dude’s brain.

Upon reading about this oddly counseled town’s outlawing low-slung pants, I heard my past calling out from the great, tapestried beyond. 'Twas a time I modeled many a garment that wasn’t in lockstep with The Man. In fact, the freedom of wearable expression ruled the radical roost during my Maui days. I might not have worn my pants down to my crotch seam, but I was no less showy. What’s more, God didn’t seem to mind – though I did come close to getting my oddly attired ass whomped in certain sidecar American towns.

Anyway, screw any bustin’ slack bans. Hell, future presidents and even a future managing editor or two might currently be bustin’ slack.

OH, THERE’S MORE SLACK: No sooner do I calm a bit over the bustin’ slack hubbub, than I read about an oddly related European wear-war over burkinis.

In case you haven’t heard, burkinis are full-body swimsuitish attire for beachy Muslim babes. The head-to-toe outfits are simply tuned-down burkas, the traditional Muslim lady’s hide-all coverings.

Burkinis, by my American thinking, are no biggy. But au contraire, mon amour, in the Old Country.

Muslim beach bunnies in burkinis have become a French Riviera look to die for – a tad too literally. The semi-sacred beach garments have riled the hell out of less-Muslimish beachgoers, so much so that French authorities are poised to, imagine this, force Muslim women into removing some of their coverings. That’s a directive one wouldn’t think necessary in an oft topless, swimming suit-optional zone. And, just like that, there goes my moneymaking scheme of creating a series of Wet Burkini Contests.

All snickering aside, the removal of a Muslim woman’s right to un-bear arms on the beach has become serious stuff. In Corsica, beach brawls have broken out between families of North African (Muslim) descent and local French youths. The mayor there has been moved to ban the burkinis.

I know what you’re thinking: How serious can a beach brawl over burkinis get? Well, according to a BBC reporter covering the battle, “Hatchets and harpoons were used” in one exchange.

I have to self-servingly admit that it would be quite a sight to behold, you know, lazing in a Mediterranean beach chair, sipping a blood-orange mimosa cocktail, and nonchalantly looking up from a copy of the “Riviera Sun ’n’ Fun News” to see a group of guys with hatchets and harpoons crazily chasing a drove of gals in burkinis. Hell, I’m rushing right over to the front desk to pre-register for the same week next year.

BURKINIS ‘R’ US: To cleanse my mind of the mounting madness within the realm of politically correct clothing, I retreated back to what is usually a soothing angling and outdoors domain. I was searching for a pair of sometimes-called “sun pants.” These are long, lightweight, fly-proof pants that will allow me to stand my ground against greenhead flies during hours of throwing net. I’ve been getting ferociously welted by biting flies recently.

So, I enter a famed web-catalogue and what jumps out at me, big as life? Nothing short of an angling burkini! I kid you not!

Oh, it isn’t being called a burkini. Nonetheless, I looked on, in ironic awe, at a full-body, sun-protection angling get-up that is more burkini than anything being hatcheted and harpooned in Europe. This light, airy, nondenominational angling garb is equipped with full head and face coverings. In many ways, it’s the spittin’ image of a niqab, the strictest show-nothing garb worn by hardcore Muslim women. However, these splashy anti-sun outfits have the drab burkinis beat six ways to Sunday.

With freedom in mind, I couldn’t help but see the irony and dichotomy in the way I can likely bypass the burkini ban on the Riviera by simply carrying a fishing rod. Of course, I also picture a group of confused, harpoon-dragging French guys walking step-by-step beside me, all “WTF!?”

ISIS MORONICS: I just have to add this postscript.

Just last week, ISIS leaders began banning burkas. Yep, the same imbecilic “morality police” folks who had threatened to execute any women not wearing the full-body covering are suddenly doing a highly un-jihadist 180.

It seems the burka is now on the other foot, so to speak.

Anti-ISIS soldiers have been going beneath the burka to covertly infiltrate ISIS strongholds. Some devastating strikes against ISIS have been via burka-based intel.

Who knows, skin-tight burkinis may be required clothing in the ISIS future. Whoa, maybe there’s still some hope for my wet burkini contests.

WHAT’S HOOKIN’: I have to return to tales of copious blowfish … again. Not only are they still in Barnegat Bay but also a boat of a church friend scored over 70 of them in the same area as he scored 50 last week.

This almost too-mild weather is likely sending mixed migratory messages to the puffers.

On the other panfish hand, the kingfish showing, which had been stellar on the north end, has faded rapidly. A couple/few smaller kingies were being caught along the south end, but nothing like what was expected in the wake of those near five-gallon bucket-filling surf sessions in Harvey Cedars last week. The kingfish might show a bit more on Sunday with this somewhat calming ocean. It is a lot easier besting kingies when the surf isn’t riled.

Surf fluke are showing like crazy – and nary a take-home in the lot. There was a four-pounder and a five-pounder caught in the suds recently, but I’m hearing almost exclusively about the slew of shorts being hooked, north to south. Prime fluke baits include the fillets off the large mullet now being taken. Fake-o baits on jigs are also working their magic when it comes to total numbers of fluke taken.

I saw a 16-inch Holgate fluke taken on a hardhead minnow, technically a striped killifish (seldom used name).

Speaking of which, there are some unusually large schools of hardheads lulling about in the extreme shallows. Yes, lulling. They’re certainly not the speedsters of the minnow realm.

There is a long-standing debate about whether or not hardheads are good bait. The consensus is more than obvious because you virtually never see them used, even when there is no other live bait around – and plentiful hardheads can be caught with just a simple scoop net.

Female hardheads can grow to over six inches, which qualifies them as live-lining material, and they’re hearty as hell, to boot. Still, no anglers take them for a swim. Just for kicks, I’m gonna live-line some mungo hardheads this week, just to see. If even blues turn them down, you know they must be rank in some unseen way.

I should mention that many of us have seen hungry gulls ignore hardheads, even when they’re dumped floppin’ fresh on the beach after accidentally being netted. Just as weird, last week I watched some wading birds working a tidal pool, chasing the forage fish trapped within. Damn if those birds didn’t nab every spearing and rainfish while not so much as touching the far slower – and way more plentiful tiny hardheads. Hmmm.

The mullet run remains noncommittal. There are long pauses in the schools. When they do show, it’s nothing to shout about. They are also jumbo-sized, not good for mullet rigs. They’re best fished as chunks or, filleted, with the two matching fillets fished together, making something like a mullet meat sandwich.

Do not try to jam an overlarge mullet on a mullet rig, so it forms a “U” or “J” shape. Even blues look at that contorted mullet and sense something is not quite right. They pass on it.

The entry forms for the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic are in participating shops. Sign up early.

GUARDING OUR 18-MILER: It sucks that terrorism is so upon us – even locally (as close as Seaside) that we might need to fret over the vulnerability of our upcoming 18-Mile Commemorative Run.

Some folks might not realize that this now fairly famed run is dedicated to the 11 Israeli athletes slain by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and later for the thousands who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It is oozing symbolism – and we’re highly proud of that.

Please don’t tell me that I shouldn’t bring this up because it might give nutcases some ideas. We’re learning the hard way that we have to beat terrorists at their own game, by staying one step ahead of their diabolically scheming thinking. Should we pretend this run could never be a target and play into sinisterly plotting minds? Not on my watch.

I’m absolutely NOT for canceling the run. I’m just guns-out for being utterly cautious, especially at the starting point – the Holgate parking lot with its jammed-in crowds and, let’s say, “inviting” port-a-johns. It’s a point of vulnerability.

If civilian “eyes” are needed to help authorities assure the run is safe, count me in … and I’m highly observant. In fact, we’re all obligated to display due diligence in many public ways.

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