Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fish Report 10/28/08

Fish Report 10/28/08
Big Wind
Mostly Toggin'- Little Cbassin'
Very Different Trip Schedule Below
Hi All,
Wouldn't say the weather's been kind. That's often the case this time of year.
Managed to get a couple trips; the most enjoyable seemed to be a light rail with a mix of tog and cbass.
Used to be days in the fall when it didn't matter if you were right over structure. Bail 'em - even on hooks baited with dish-towel..
'Course they didn't have to be 12 inches, nor did we have to count how many..
Monday's forecast of west winds at 10-15 sounded like a fine day to paddle on offshore and see if we could have a bit of that old-time sea bassing.
Such a forecast.. yet our hopes of reliving cbassing past ran headlong into a wall of very large, very hungry, bluefish.
Military personnel invented a few acronyms for such events; SNAFU the least of them.
Catching some nice, whole --not beheaded-- cbass though. Couple moves. Then west at 10 - 15 came NW with gusts pushing 30.
What were those other acronyms? I think one goes: FUBAR - Fouled Up Beyond All Repair.
Capt. Rick up in Lewes calls these surprise NW winds a 'trap' - lure you offshore and spank your fanny all the way in.
Dinner, perhaps a few in the freezer; decidedly not fun coming home.
Better days lie ahead!
For the fisheries too.
Many of you have fished with me for several decades and know that I really believe we can put this ocean back on its feet: that collapsed stocks of fish can be restored.
I think a fault-percentage of our present state of affairs lies with our not heeding the lessons learned during the dust-bowl: that little action was taken to stabilize soils until -literally- a black dust cloud blew over Congress.
Lest the stench of some huge fish kill reach our capitol at a very opportune time, there will be no events within our fisheries such as Hugh Hammond's famous 1935 congressional testimony on preserving topsoil through managed farming and wind breaks.
No, our 'crop-lands' are covered by water. Some of it quite deep. We must find a way to show that care and preservation of not only our juvenile fish and spawning stocks, but specific management of our 'topsoil' --our corals and other reef growths-- must be undertaken as well.
Another fault-percentage of loss in our ocean's productivity traces further upstream. That huge body of algae-loaded water --pea green muck-- that laid off our coast most of the summer was not super-charged with nutrients by anything occurring at sea: here we inherit the problems of our bays and estuaries.
I have had many a conversation with those that fished before us - men that experienced great white marlin fishing even within sight of shore.
To a man they have decried the loss of clear waters - that the blue water that allowed Ocean City to become famous as the "White Marlin Capitol of the World" is gone forever.
That's probably what many thought of their farms in 1935.
I think artificial reef is to fisheries restoration what wind-breaks were to soil conservation: not the whole solution - part of it.
Funding any effort in these dark economic times is trying. Our daily 50/50 Reef Raffle perhaps some small sign of hope.
Even though we had great participation, its not as much money as last year; wasn't as many people to buy tickets..
2008 Reef Raffle Donations: $2,500.00 Ocean City Reef Foundation, $1,000 Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, and $500.00 to the Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation that's earmarked to look into ideas for building reef in the back-bays of Ocean City.
Would that I could match those moneys from my business. "In-Kind" matches of study, advocacy and meetings will have to do.
November Schedule below.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076
November 2008 Fishing Trips.
Tog Trips: November 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30.
Easier perhaps: Sea Bass Trips: November 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 15, 22.
I have no doubt that there will be some great days of sea bass fishing this fall. However, given the state of the fishery, I don't think the best of these will be easily replicated. Therefore, I'm turning much of the focus to tog. It's likely that at least a few cbass will be caught while toggin' unless very tight to the beach.
Morning Star tog trips sell-out at 15 people - crabs provided - $110.00 per ticket - limit goes back to 4 fish @ 14 inches on November 1st - boat heartily encourages a 16 inch minimum - culling dead fish overboard to box one larger --high-grading-- is an offense punishable by keel-hauling, walking the plank or marooning.
I often go togging with a very light rail. There is no set minimum on the number of people needed to go.
There will be weather days though. If you make a reservation leave a good phone number - a cell number - that we can reach you with if a trip is cancelled. There is ZERO possibility that we'll call you for any other reason, or give your number away to tele-marketers.
Looking forward to fishing tog - tag a few too...  

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