Fish Report 9/2/07
NE Winds, Much Better Fishing and MARI
Although there's still precious few sea bass to be had; contrarian anglers were rewarded this week. At least the ones that had agreeable weather! Wednesday Capt. Tucker had the helm and stopped on a nice mess of croakers (aka hardheads) before going offshore.
Later that same morning my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed a 1/2 day inshore shark trip with Capt. Mark Sampson on the Fish Finder. What a treat to have such a knowledgeable captain explain all things shark while bowing up at a steady pace. Catch, tag ~ release. Truly fun.
Thankfully, the croakers stayed right there for a few days. Many boats were able to show OC visitors good to great action on 'em.
Stopping on the way out and getting done in about an hour is a fine way to start a day. It's fishing as I'd like it.
Moving offshore from the croakers; the flounder fishing wasn't perfect for everyone, though I had several long time customers tell me it was the best they'd ever had.
So that's what we're doing. Or trying to! Saturday's switchy NE winds, rough but doable, made the croakers hard to find. Caught flounder and bass ~ couldn't hardly buy a hardhead. Sorted 'em out first thing the next morning though. Nice.
What is trying about targeting flatties a little later in the day is that they'll scarcely ever be as 'cooperative' as the croakers.
You can simply drop on the hardheads. A practiced angler may bow up more, but everyone else will catch too.
Not so with the flounder! You have to work 'em. A little luck won't hurt either.
Last week, despite numerous good fish in the boat, we had a very skilled fellow catch 7 skates and one fluke. On his next trip he dern near limited before I caught my first...
Yup, little luck doesn't hurt...
With the weather either! Forecasts of 10 to 15 NE (north east) are fairly common this time of year. It's impossible to call. The prettiest day this week had such a forecast and so to the roughest day we fished in August. Same exact forecast...
Getting the wind speed wrong is one thing. Happens. 10 to 15 turns out to be added together -25- or, far better, subtracted. What's sometimes the case is when it's 'switchy'. Instead of the wind holding a perfect compass point, it will shift 15/20 degrees either way. Makes a huge difference in sea height and period (how close together the waves are). 10 to 15 NE and switchy can be a very pleasant day, especially in the early fall when it's cooler breezes are welcomed. 15 to 20 that's really a gusty 25 and locked in at 60 degrees on the compass... Eh, gotta do maintenance sometime.
Gotta do meetings too. The Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative Committee (MARI) meet for the 3rd time last week. It's a group of active fishers and a variety of state and even federal employees. This year that program will eclipse all the reef that's been built before in the Chesapeake. Perhaps already has.
All Woodrow Wilson Bridge so far. Big dagoned bridge ~ still a lot left. It would be shortsighted, however, to think that is the sum of available materials.
This project is burning through some cash. You can not have tugboats, barges, cranes and scores of men working on the cheap! (Visiting the CCA website http://www.ccamd.org/MARI/MARI_home.htm is an easy way to donate to that effort! ~ http://www.ocreeffoundation.com/ for our local efforts focused on the Atlantic side)
Great news that came out of the last MARI meeting was a contribution of $417,000.00 for the monitoring component by the Board of Public Works. Deeply appreciated!
Artificial reef monitoring can be as simple as 'did the material get placed on site' and 'is it still there after hurricane X?' or as complex as 'carbon absorption per square meter'...
I have read every book, article and paper on artificial reef construction and monitoring that I've been able to find. Don't understand it all ~ keep plugging at it. I've been very fortunate as some of these obscure texts have been lent to me from the personal collections of those long in the business of reef building. It's almost exclusively marine. There's precious little in the literature that deals with large estuaries.
Some of it, a lot really, is transferable to work in the world's largest estuary. Especially useful is the knowledge from earlier Chesapeake reef constructions available from long-time users.
There's a terrific amount of interagency cooperation going on. Side scan sonar surveys of existing reef sites have strongly supported the anecdotal accounts I've heard.
This is the time -right now- to begin seriously cataloguing the new work and to go back and compile past efforts into something more usable. Overlay it on existing charts of historical oyster abundance so thought can be given to what can reasonably be restored. As time goes along, it's much easier to learn from mistakes/successes if they're written down.
Point is, here's a committee that meets once a month. A couple fellows from DNR work it into their busy schedules and get help from other agencies when crucial.
To do this right -to really use the tool of artificial reef in restoring the Chesapeake ~ both her fisheries and biofiltering capabilities- there's going to have to be full time personnel. An office full.
It's far more than an odd job.
When the book on estuarine artificial reef does get published, much of it will have come from work in the Chesapeake.
Hope it's a good read.
Hope the one on the mid-Atlantic's coral ecology comes out first!
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076