Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fish Report 5/13/08

Fish Report 5/13/08
Murphy's Gale
Tying It Together
Hi All,
Interesting start to the sea bass season. Hasn't been the jumbo front runners I have always seen come in first. Instead, a decidedly mixed run of sizes.
Unable to look around much though; weather has repeatedly held me tight to the beach with a greater focus on tog.
When we did get offshore Saturday, and despite weeding through shorts, some folks got into the 20's, but not quite a 25 fish limit.
The downpours on Friday.. Severe weather advisory - half my fares declined the trip: Tog only. Guys soaked to the bone irregardless of what foulweather gear they had. Caught well. The bite seeming to taper, I thought it imprudent to have my deckhand, Capt. Tucker, pull and reset anchors in the wind, rain and lightning and so called it a day.
Naturally, by the time we got in it was sunglasses around.
Sunday I again felt that the forecast warranted having an escape route very handy. A series of moves - one 4 lb. bass and dinner around, plus good toggin. Darn the luck! We had a lady hooked to a 'Sam Sized' fish..
Everything needs to be perfect to catch the brute - it wasn't. Broke off...
Soon, May 16th, tog go to a 2 fish limit. Ease up on 'em; not a bad idea.
As I write, sea heights are diminishing. Monday's sea heights were 20.3 feet in winds to 47 knots. The first deployment of rail-cars was supposed to be Tuesday. Eh, not so much.
Trying again on Friday. I'm already sold out, so no fundraising opportunity. No matter, pretty sure that our course will somehow have us near the rail-cars going in....
I've had far more tag returns this spring than ever before. Chef, used to work deck for me, was out on his cat and had a remarkable 11 returns in one day. While most of these recent returns were initially released in the last few months, some tags are several years old.
Any return tells us something, the longer a fish has been 'at liberty' the deeper the information can run.
One tag return Sunday ran a little too deep; the ink on the tag completely worn away.. Ah well, more lost data..
There were also two Virginia tagging program returns; one a tog, the other a bass. Don't have the info back yet. Fairly odd to have either species caught off the beaten track. That is, judging by the majority of tag returns, tog seem to be stationary; sea bass migratory, but only to the deep side of the shelf waters -very near, even into, the canyons- come winter, then returning to 'their spot' come spring. 
Virginia tags; had to have come from at least Chincoteague; mouth of the Bay more likely.
And cod. Real cod. I know of codfish caught on 4 of our reef sites this spring. A few years back we caught a tagged cod not far off Assateague  Island. It had been stuck in Canadian waters in the Bay of Fundy some 560 miles away as the crow flies, but a fish couldn't possibly have swum.
I'm only talking about a dozen fish; don't plan on putting one in the box. My point is -just barely scratching the surface at that- is artificial reefs we are building add to the greater marine area's habitat; that reef is being used by species in ways no one envisioned.
Everything has to be back in place or better before we can see balanced fisheries restoration. Our focus on flounder and other high profile species fine for our short attention span, press release world, but we have got to 'pop the top off' and have a serious look around in order to
begin sincere restoration. It'll start when scientists and managers get curious about our corals.
We'll be getting close to done when white marlin are commonly caught at the Jackspot again...
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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