Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fish Report 7/30/06

Fish Report 7/30/06
Flat Bass?      
Hi All,
This happened last year too. I don't know what to make of it. (except dinner!)
In the last few days sea bass have tapered mightily and flounder have come on strong. There's been a few dandies, up to 8 pounds, but most are a just an inch or 2 over the 15 1/2 inch size limit. There have even been keeper doubles. Two drops like that and you're bagged out ~ 4 is the creel limit!
Sea bass are still in the mix, but much slower. I'm fishing the same type of spots for both species. Today we had several mixed doubles - a good bass and a good flounder on one drop.
Believe me, it isn't 'red hot' fishing, but it has it's moments.
And now, having written about it, you can bet the flounder and sea bass will both flip me the fin! No worries, we'll find something to scratch a dinner up with. 
Any day now we'll find croakers thick. I like to lay into 'em and then go do something else. It's really nice when they cooperate! Not yet though...
If you're purely into sea bass, "...the best is yet to be." Mid September or October will see the start of the fall cbass crush - the weeding. It's coming.
My crew and I made the Washington Post today. Angus Phillips wrote a kind piece about his trip last Tuesday.
One of the things he was keenly interested in, besides Tucker and Chef's next crack(Boy, they were in rare form!), was our region's corals. He, like so many others, had no idea that we have coral reefs off the DelMarVa coast. (Video is still on my website - Yes, one day I'll make another! I wrote the script targeting management)
It really is odd; I mean you can review fisheries literature from around the world and see all manner of protection for coral reefs. If a ship strikes a reef in Florida people are getting fired and insurance companies are digging deep for restoration funds...
Here in the mid-Atlantic? No worries - there are no reefs. You can drag tons of steel or a trawl net across any piece of bottom. The only risk is losing gear.
The very best habitat source document for our region's seafloor is Frank Stiemle and Christine Zetlin's "Reef Habitats in the Middle Atlantic Bight: Abundance, Distribution, Associated Biological Communities, and Fishery Resource Use".
In that document there are two areas of rocky bottom mentioned - the Shrewsbury Rocks off of northern Jersey and "some rock deposits 35 - 40 miles off of Delaware" which would be the Cape May Rocks.
Great night! There's a lot of bottom left out of that picture! 10s of thousands of acres I'm sure.
The authors freely admit that there isn't much information to go on and that they're findings are only what is currently 'known'.
Oh, it's high time we learned a little more...
Anyway, I wonder if flounder eat 3 to 5 inch sea bass?
There's a lot to it. Increasing the footprint of our regions reefs through habitat protection would sure help.
High summer's no time for freezer filling, but there's still good days to be had.
I'll see you on the rail.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076
Fish Report 7/30/06

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