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Old 05-06-2005, 06:12 PM
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Default A Linesider in the sand.

A Linesider in the sand

EDIT** 8/01/08

The archive is gone but I actually still had the article and the Pictures.

A line(sider) in the sand
Whether it's striped bass or beach replenishment projects, Asbury Park Fishing Club president Joe Pallotto isn't afraid to fight for what he believes

Asbury Park Press on 05/6/05
BY D.J. MULLER
CORRESPONDENT
A huge striper, lodged between two big rocks, is wrapped around a partially submerged piling in an attempt to escape a menacing surfcaster's effort to capture it.
The great, wily fish has the caster beat. Or does it?
The caster, determined to let no fish beat him, throws his rod into the water while still holding onto his line. He jumps into the water and using his line as his guide, swims towards the titan.
As he gets to the end of his line, he dives below the surface and sees the huge striper in the rocks, gill plates expanding and contracting with each breath. The surfcaster reaches through the fatigued beast's gill plate with his arm, pulls it from the rocks and dogpaddles the fish back to the jetty.
One of his fishing buddies shows up to watch the end of the escapade.
"What the hell are you doing?" he yells. In response, the surfcaster throws the fish up onto the rocks.
"That thing looks like it's bigger than 50 pounds!" the friend says in amazement.
The fish actually hit the scales at 47 1/2 pounds, part of a typical day in the life of a young, zealous surfcaster.
Just another day in the life of Joe Pallotto.
Nothing but beach
Joe Pallotto's life has revolved around the beach from the time he was little. Whether he was fishing, working as a lifeguard or as the beach supervisor, Pallotto has put in hundreds of hours on the sand.
Out of that has developed a love affair, not only of the sand and surf, but of striped bass, and his name is well known in surf fishing circles.
Pallotto, who will be 60 this fall, started surf fishing about the same time he started working the beaches as a lifeguard, at age 18. He now is president of the Asbury Park Fishing Club, the oldest saltwater fishing club in the country, which was founded in 1889. Pallotto, who joined the club at 18, has been its president for almost 20 years and is still going strong.
He became a lifeguard in 1962 and worked for the Asbury Park Public Works department until he retired in 1999, becoming the head lifeguard and later the beach director for 20 years.
"Age and beach replenishment drove me from the job," Pallotto says. After so many years keeping watch over people using the beaches, the reactions are instinctive now, which is part of why he despises — and fights — beach replenishment efforts.
It created all sorts of rip currents and rough surf that pose a risk to swimmers, he says, and even going down to the beach daily irritated him.
His wife, Maureen, convinced him to retire because "she couldn't stand to see me getting aggravated every day," Pallotto says.
Beach replenishment also has destroyed a majority of the great surf fishing that existed along the jetties, he says.
"It ruined it, it has ruined what I know, and that is jetty fishing," Pallotto says. "It did a number on it, bad.
"It has taken a lot of heart out of me about fishing."
Sand now fills the flume entrances at Deal Lake and Wreck Pond, which makes it very difficult for spawning herring and other anadromous fish to move into the fresh water to spawn. With the lack of herring also comes absence of big stripers.
"The sand blocking the flumes gives the herring very little chance," Pallotto says, expressing dismay.
The jetties and beaches were filled in and the jetties buried, eliminating a major forage habitat. Small baitfish, crabs, eels and other creatures would hide in and around jetties for protection.
When the jetties were no longer available, those creatures had nowhere to hold onto, nowhere to hide. And where there's no forage, there's no predator.
This is what gets Pallotto's ire up. For a man who primarily live-lined herring, bunker and shad, his fishery has virtually been eliminated.
Still intense
Joe Pallotto was born in Newark and his family "almost immediately" moved to Asbury Park, where he has enjoyed his life on the beach or on a nearby jetty, ever since.
Since retiring, he spends his free time not only fighting striped bass from the beach or jetty, but fighting for the rights of surfcasters, a never-ending battle against regulations and access infringements that surf fishermen face.
He is older now, not as crazy, but his fire still burns hot.
"Even though he doesn't fish as hard as he used to, he still has fire for the (striped bass) fishery — there is no question about that," said Bob Matthews of Manasquan, a contemporary and good friend of Pallotto.
Pallotto has become the liaison and sounding board for local surfcasters.
He is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with groups like the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, and the state Department of Environmental Protection, to push for what he believes is right — just as he went toe-to-fin when he fought big stripers.
"I have never seen him back away from a fight," Matthews said. Pallotto has taken on the fight for "two at 28," the movement to change the state's striped bass regulations to permit anglers to keep two fish 28 inches or larger. The present regulation is one fish 24 inches to less than 28 inches and a second fish at 34 inches or greater.
Pallotto is a great leader and motivator, he can gain support quickly and decisively when he decides what needs to be fought for. He's also a man who's never short on words and is happy to give his opinion on many different issues.
For example, it's clear how he feels when he talks about how technology has changed surfcasting, particularly how cell phones have taken the discovery and the hunt out of the fishery.
"You'll be up there at (Sandy) Hook fishing and you will have the bass start blowing up on bunker, and sure enough there will be one guy on a cell phone.
"You turn around and there they are! It looks like the cavalry is coming, and it takes the heart out of you, at least it takes my heart away," Pallotto said.
"I'm not into the competition," he said, "I just want to go fishing." He sits back and laughs, yet there is a tinge of sadness in his voice.
He will talk about any issue related to striped bass, from the absence of sand eels to the way big bunker have returned thanks to New Jersey's fight against bunker reduction boats.
Pallotto has a lot of good insight due to the fact that he is there on the beach every day and has lived through the high times of striped bass fishing, as well as the horrible lows.
He also has a never-ending line of riveting and hilarious stories, and he seldom misses the opportunity for a laugh.
A fellow surfcaster and friend told me that one time up at the Hook, he was walking back from False Bar with his rod on his shoulder, the way many surfcasters carry their rods.
He said Pallotto came running up behind him and flicked the line off the bail of his reel, causing his lure to fall to the sand, unbeknownst to him.
They continued to walk and talk for a hundred yards or so when the surfcaster finally realized what had happened.
While the unfortunate fisherman reeled his lure back across the sand, Pallotto laid in the sand laughing at him.
Pallotto says greatest thing he has experienced is the sense of camaraderie that has been created through the years between him and his surf fishing friends.
"I have guys that I have been friends with for over 40 years, and it's all because of fishing," Pallotto says. "You meet guys and you stay friends for life with them."
This is the essence of what we do. The fish will come and go, the stocks will dwindle and the recover. Friends made on the sand last a lifetime.
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A jetty in Asbury Park is reflected in the sunglasses of fisherman Joe Pallotto (top), before one of the first rounds of beach replenishment was done.
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Pallotto, standing on the Eighth Avenue
jetty in 1999 with Dave DeGraw of Neptune, fought plans to cut the jetty and change the way the water flowed in the area. Now he has turned his attention to other issues, including striped bass regulations.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2005, 07:40 PM
SoleSearcher SoleSearcher is offline
 
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Great write-up. Oh to see some of the things those eyes have seen. Of course he has seen many worse times than the current I'm sure. Good post, the great among us deserve the recognition.
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Old 05-07-2005, 09:31 AM
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Ed White Ed White is offline
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I grew up around Asbury, caught my first sunny's in Deal Lake right across from the 8th Ave flume, my brother and I would stand down on the old boat landings for hours. I think it's prettty cool that the oldest surf fishing club is right here, so close to home. Jim, do you have any idea if the club has a web presence? I have tried a few different searches, but only found references to the club, but no official site.

Ed
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Old 05-07-2005, 11:09 AM
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Although as a member of Shark River Surf Anglers I'm the enemy (in a very friendly sort of way ) I'll be the first to say that Joe is good people and more than deserves the recognition. The man is tireless in his efforts on behalf of the fish, the fishermen and the environment.

As for a web presence, no they don't.
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Old 05-07-2005, 04:08 PM
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Thanks Sudsy.

Ed
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Old 08-01-2008, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: A Linesider in the sand.

Asbury Park Fishing Club
Quote:
"You'll be up there at (Sandy) Hook fishing and you will have the bass start blowing up on bunker, and sure enough there will be one guy on a cell phone.
You turn around and there they are! It looks like the cavalry is coming, and it takes the heart out of you".
Joe Pallotto
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: A Linesider in the sand.

it is the way of the clubs. they split up and then one calls in the infantry. same with the foreigners and the googins who've banded together with thier trebble hooks and 15# test line. omfg, a trebble hook costs 5 or 6 bucks in the tackle shop and they will never be true fishermen as it is all they (want to know) shame, as they will see how fun it might be but are butchers and gluttons with no sense of scrupples or morals. just get a fish and who cares what happens to it. the tackle shops should make each trebble hook ten bucks each as to deter that mentality. i give it 2 years before they do away with that nonsence. circle hooks required and a stiff fine for snagging an anadromous fish by accident. saw one noob snag a bass by the back and he thought he had a monster but pulled the short in sideways and let it swim away immediately thereafter. it died for sure. that is a knucklehead. and proceeded to try and get another. (sure he wanted bunker but i know damn well he wanted another bass like that. i give up.



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