Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fish Report 3/23/06

Fish Report 3/23/06
Hi All,
Last weekend's toggin' was pretty decent - all the more so because of a super light rail. Old Man Murphy (you know him - he wrote Murphy's Law) rode along with us on Sunday feeling jestful. As is often the case, a father and son team came fishing too; by mid-day Murphy was swinging from the outriggers in a belly hurting, knee slapping guffaw: he just couldn't stop! Finally he did though ~ then dad caught a few. Might even be a family Thanksgiving story there for them...
We caught boat limits both days and tagged 29 & 71 respectively. There were also 3 more tag returns - I'd wager they were tagged at the same spots and will find out soon enough.
The Coast Guard inspection went perfect - it's fishing time now. We'll go tog fishing with an eye out for boston mackerel - that is, if I see some I may try the mackerel for a 1/2 hour or so. I've been hearing some interesting reports on them and, since I've forgotten what they look like, would like to nick a few. If it looks real good I'll switch over to them with the next email - or not!
We're fishing Friday, Saturday and Sunday - March 24, 25, 26th from 7AM to 3PM - 16 People sells out the rail - We may try the macks for a 1/2 hour but otherwise these are tog fishing trips - a variety of crabs provided. 
I have beat the drum for the idea of protecting the 'live bottom' - natural reef areas - along our coast for a number of years. I've researched, written and filmed these areas and notified every possible governmental agency ~ I mean, coral is protected by law...Yawn.
Spring is upon us; there's more interest in fishing and writing about it. I spent a good while talking with one fellow about the regions coral beds and how they have remained unprotected. He writes for a weekly and was sure that it would make a heck of a story - I agreed. Then I got a call from his editor - seems protecting seafloor isn't a good idea at all 'cause that would end up bringing the dreaded MPA to our region - the evil greenys will make it happen. An MPA is a Marine Protected Area. Some hold that any MPA will close fishing to everyone. I don't think this has ever occurred in any MPA but that's what the guy thinks. And, sure as Hoover dam blocks water, that story is dead. What's really needed is a GPA - Gear Protected Area. It's unconscionable to destroy essential fish habitat to gain a day's catch. We have a GPA right in the back bays of OC. About 40% of the bottom is off-limits to hydraulic clam dredging and that protects the submerged aquatic vegetation areas, or SAVs.
Evil greenys - enviros - tree huggers; I wonder what they think of a bunch of folks that love to go fishing and don't mind the signs posted warning anglers not to eat more than 2 meals a year or wear gloves to handle your catch.
Looks to me like a lot of fishers are turning pretty green - I think I'll be a fish hugger with a lean toward consumption. But isn't that a conservationist? Yep - pretty sure it is... I bet we even buy magazines!
Anyway, another writer called, looking for material for his outdoor column and said "...coral? off Ocean City?"
We'll see - I think there's cause for hope if he'll run with the idea - dern sure it would take a lot of juice to pull this guy off a story. His circulation falls right where it could do a lot of good too!
Why bother?
Just as a for instance, long years ago an 8 knot boat took folks twice a day from Indian River to nearshore parts of the Old Grounds. He'd come in when everyone had a bushel of sea bass.
I'm pretty sure that there's a long way to go before that kind of fishing can be replicated with any consistency in the 1/2 day trade.
But it is possible! Fish populations can be rebuilt.
The stories from many decades past are worth looking into - there's a lot of knowledge tied up in the memories of the old salts that still fish today.
Who knows, maybe one day we'll fit that piece into the puzzle.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076

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