Monday, September 15, 2008

Fish Report 9/14/08

Fish Report 9/14/08
Croakers, Cbass & Flounder
Fishing For What Bites
Wise Use
Hi All,
I thought Hanna might throw a wrench into the flounder fishing. Did. Had a dern decent day of fluking before we doubled the dock lines and fendered 'er off. For several days the enchanting odor of OrPine Bilge Cleaner wafted about the deck, mingling with the sailorly utterances of crew. Always something to do on a boat: rarely anything fun while tied up.
Unlike those poor folks in the Gulf, wasn't a lot to the storm.
Wasn't a lot to the fishing right afterward either; croakers, a few cbass, and a flounder. Had to turn a lot of ocean inside out to scratch up a catch.
Fish settled back in soon though. Tuesday we had the biggest croakers I've seen in years. Then tried the bass and flounder for a couple hours and, having failed to put lipstick on that skunk, went back to the big croaks.
Another wind; two more lost days. Hauled out, changed zincs and swapped out props.
I love yachting.
Friday we finally saw a few flounder again. After stopping first on medium and large croakers: Saturday we kept a number of flounder and tagged 27. Some stayed with the cbass and faired quite well.
Croakers on the way out Sunday too. Left them for some coral and shortly caught two nice fluke and a few cbass. Couldn't buy a third! Back to the croakers and sharks..
Fishing for what bites. And man were they biting. Pretty doubles. All the croakers you could want - well, keep.
I wish sea bass would pull like that. 
Good sized sharks in there with 'em -that food web thing again- which made for some fun. Tuesday we watched one shark on the surface work a bait just as a birddog might, switching excitedly -fine tuning it's approach to the scent - then spin toward the boat -mouth open- as it took the bait.
That was cool.
Caught four. Unfortunately, despite using circle hooks for numerous sharks over the years, two this day were gut hooked. Special 'Deep Throat Dehookers' failed and they were released with the leader intact.
This, based on Lukacovic's hook mortality work, must greatly diminish their chance of long term survival. Having recently come past a half dozen dead sharks drifting as a gill net was being pulled, I'd assert that deep hooking mortality isn't the coastal shark stock's only problem.
I wonder if maybe the Norwegian's aren't way ahead in resolving bycatch. There they require any dead bycatch to be landed. And, since it all counts against quota, that regulation has forced fishers to fish smarter.
In the US -sport or commercial- it's not illegal to catch and throw back dead, just don't bring it in - we're not allowed to land it.
Sport tuna fishers this summer often had to measure numerous fish to find their 'slot' fish - one under 47 inches and one over. How some fishers took their measurements makes one wonder if there is anything resembling 'fishery management' going on. What good can possibly come of 'gaff, measure - release'. 
Alaska's halibut fishery recently had Norwegian style bycatch management put in effect. Pacific rockfish caught in excess of allowable bycatch must still be brought in and sold. It's just that the state gets the money from the overage.
Better than drifting off to rot..
Nothing simple about it. Even sea bass caught in deep water on a hot calm day can make an ugly statement.
Looking into a 'land it all' dead bycatch strategy in some fisheries would be a step toward fine-tuning our resource utilization.
If nothing else, it would give managers hard numbers to work with; some of which I'm sure would serve a nasty slap to present management schemes.
Conservation is said to mean 'wise use' - Lot of work yet..
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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