Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fish Report 2/7/06

Fish Report 2/7/06
Caught Tog - Going Fishin
& What the heck's an HAPC?
Hi All,
Last Saturday was a decent day. Some fellows picked on 'em all day, others didn't get it going 'till late. 12 pounds or so was the pool winner with several north of 10. We tagged 5 fish over 20 inches and a bunch more over 14. For now, I'm not tagging shorts - just legal ones.
The forecasted heavy wind held off 'till the bitter end. It came on good too ~ right in the heart of the best tog bite I've seen in some while! As the wind picked up the anchors stretched tight and that was that - off the spot. Ah well, we'd had a day. I wasn't willing to stick around and see if it was really going to blow 35! Got home just a tad late.
The course home was really frustrating though. Concerns about the wind prevented me from slowing to look at 3 whales. Then, like a dagger in the heart, we went past a flock of over -way over- 1,000 gannets plunge diving into feeding striped bass. On radar the birds painted like a small thunderstorm. And, also on radar, I could clearly see that the birds were just outside the three mile line. I mean a couple hundred feet inside the protected zone ~ Darn the bad luck!
Sure was cool to see though!
We'll go again this Saturday and Sunday the 10th and 11th. It looks as though the NW winds will be somewhat diminished and temps in the upper 30s. I'm going to really restrict the rail ~ 8 people sells out the boat. This is so I can hunker everyone in the lee of the cabin - out of the wind! A reservation if you'd care to go - crabs provided - 7 to 3. There's no heat - dress in layers!
HAPC - That's guvmint speak; it's a Habitat Area of Particular Concern. Unlike an MPA -Marine Protected Area- (where those stripers were hiding last weekend) the HAPC has been used to protect habitat. If your activities don't impact habitat within one of these areas then you'll not likely have trouble with one.
The Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) is a tool in the managers kit that can be used to protect sensitive habitat. In Maryland's coastal bays the inshore clam dredging fishery offers an example. Areas that support sub-aquatic vegetation (SAV) -the grass beds- were delineated and declared off-limits to hydraulic clam dredging when it was shown that the gear damages the habitat. Commercial and recreational crabbers can still set pots there, gill nets can be set all season long, and a recreational flounder fisher can still make a drift - it's just the gear type that can be clearly shown to have an impact on sea grasses, a clam dredge, that is excluded.
For now, an HAPC is the only thing out there that can protect any of the coral bottoms in the region. It's down the road, way down, but a place we need to go.
First, I suppose, there needs to be some discovery of the corals and other bottom types that drive many local fisheries.
Might just help with that...
Looking forward to a warmer forecast!
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076

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