Monday, September 01, 2008

Fish Report 9/1/08

Fish Report 9/1/08
Flounder Improve
Small to Medium Croakers
A Spiny Surprise
Hi All,
An improvement in the last week I'd say. Wednesday's flounder fishing was just fine. Still haven't limited the boat, but some passengers were. Many a tagged flattie went by the rail too.
Friday was slower with a better grade of fish - to 8 lbs. Saturday's fluking a bit better than Wednesday's with more sea bass.
Sunday - eh, can't be all gravy. A dicey forecast --weather warning prior to departure-- got noticeably rough; then turned into a beautiful day. Most came out of it OK fish wise - don't know about those who suffered reverse digestion syndrome. 
Our Labor Day trip was enjoyed by all - 30 tags before I invoked the federal paperwork reduction act. (Yes, all those +-11,000 tags mean paperwork and I aim to reduce it!)
The September 1st trip also saw the first shot of croaker on my boat this year. Spent about 40 minutes on 'em. Nice pick of medium & smalls.
Had some sea bass on each trip too.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is an improvement. It's not "hot"- definitely not "red hot!"
But there were times when a well presented bait wouldn't last long - or even hit bottom.
Flounder.. Yes northerners, flounder. We call summer flounder -- flounder. Who'd a thunk it. Since we call our winter flounder 'extinct', or nearly so, there's no need to differentiate between winter and summer flounder.
Taste the same as fluke. No, really, they are fluke.
And here come a whole string of hurricanes and tropical depressions that create swells that fluke don't like.
Time will tell.........
So with global warming we'll have a red snapper/grouper fishery here directly I suppose. I read a report by a scientist who I highly regard stating that red hake (AKA ling or ling-cod - and not at all the southern ling which we call cobia, and especially not the west coast's lingcod which, I 'magine, we'd have to call alien. Must be why they use Latin designations in the thick books) Anyway, the report anticipates that red hake will draw north as waters warm.
But the scuba community testimony I get isn't about warm bottom temps. It's chilly down there.
Earlier in the week I heard accounts of small spiny dogfish in the area.
Yeah right.
November a few. Maybe. Heart of winter loads of them, holding sometimes into early May.
This cold water pain in the neck - spiny dogfish - isn't showing his mug off OC in August.
I took one off my hook today.
Little guy, but Wow.
I came through a pocket of 84 degree surface water Saturday. Gulf Stream current influences the surface, Labrador current the bottom - heck of a thermocline in between.
Some models of increased glacial melt show decreased water temps along the north and mid-Atlantic coasts.
With dogfish here in late summer, maybe red hake will move south too? Along with a rebounding cod population? Ah sheesh, might even have to start calling our flounder fluke as winter flounder reinvade...
The spiny dogfish stock assessment a few years ago that lead to practically closing the commercial fishery: did they look south of where they might normally be to calculate biomass?
Was 'Sherman - 1991' right about the elasmobranch expansion - that skate, ray and dogfish populations are expanding into habitat vacated by other species. Habitat vacated because fishers caught them up, of course. 
Are red hake and scup holding north due to water temps or is there a specific problem with this region's stocks.
Are spiny dogfish in need of strict management or prolonging --perhaps preventing-- rebuilding efforts of other species.
I know where I'd put my money...
I've never been able to find long term bottom temp readings such as can be found for surface temp. The only way I can think of to create such would be from scuba diver/club log books. Sure would be a handy bit of information to fishery managers.
All the years we did catch red hake for most of the summer; no spiny dogfish. Ever.
Don't think I'll have to worry about those snapper/grouper regulations any time soon.
At least not inshore..
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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