Sunday, May 09, 2010

Fish Report 5/9/10

Fish Report 5/9/10
Ought To Be Sea Bassing
Note to Dr. Lubchenco & Mr. Schwaab 
Goin fishing every day. On 5/14 we have our last long tog trip. Tog creel lowers to 2 fish on 5/15. Selling May 22cnd onward as sea bass trips. Call 410 520 2076 for availability. Sea bass season is on the verge of being much longer than thought - Stay tuned - Seems some wrote to their Congressmen and Senators - Many Players - Special tip of the hat to Capt. Adam.. If you want to go toggin' see trip particulars below signature. 
Hi All,
Nicking away at the days; Dropping down leader sizes, sinker sizes, hook sizes, lighter rods; Throwing most back, keep a few for dinner, tag legal releases: It's fun. It's sport toggin.
Not that all toggin isn't sporty, just that this is a far cry from what we were doing in January and February.
Then in Sunday's 30 knot NW winds we had too much sport. Bagged out & 40 tags -- In early.
Best sort of sport toggin.
Supposed to be different though. Now it's time to make the donuts, Time for making hay while the sun's shining, Time to carry my many sea bass clients to our well managed primary fishery resource that's thriving on all the restored & protected natural coral reef, Time to allow anglers to have that first, Oh-so tasty, spring cbass fish fry..
Mmmmm. Mix Panko bread crumbs and House Autry seafood breader.. some lemon pepper - roll once dry - dip in egg & roll again - Fry Golden - Pow!
No donuts.
No hay.
Can't go sea bass fishing just yet.
No habitat in the mid-Atlantic except oysters and SAV; No coral yet. 
And the fish are still under emergency closure.
Let me tell you about that emergency sea bass closure.
Dr. Lubchenco & Mr. Schwaab, I know you're busy with the disaster and rightly so, but we have a smaller one here too: You ought to reopen the sea bass fishery at once.
We know from tagging that each region --each area's population of sea bass-- is distinct by its habitat's location: Irrefutable fact.
Along DelMarVa the size limit increase last year caused a huge drop in actual landings: We could not have contributed to any overfishing.
The overfishing, er--alleged overfishing, that caused the closure occurred up north where, owing to its colder waters, the sea bass fishing season is naturally shortest.
A huge and apparently now well-accepted MRFSS catch estimate error occurred in the Massachusetts wave 4 --July & August-- private boat landings. This single faulty catch estimate claims a 1,122.28% catch increase, a year over year jump from 13,000 to 164,000 fish, which, I believe, tripped the emergency regulatory action.
This one error -- in one part of the recreational fishery -- in one state's fishing area -- Closed the whole coast. 
When this 'emergency closure' went into effect in October, the area thought to have overfished was finished anyway or nearly so. When sea bass reopen on May 22cnd they'll be about ready to start.
Machiavelli would have blushed in its perfection: The closure that brought many more-southern businesses to their knees barely affected those that are thought to have actually overfished.
Churchill: "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."
The population estimate numbers were reexamined by the Science & Statistical Committee in January and the quota revised upward - It's now considered safe to catch twice as many sea bass. 
Forecasted recreational catch estimates used to justify the closure last season were wrong: MRFSS estimates now only suggest the need of a 20-some percent reduction instead of a 44% -- This is very far down from estimates that ran as high as 225% early last fall had we kept fishing.
In reality the marine rec-fish catch estimates are so bad we don't really know if Massachusetts usually catches 160 thousand cbass in July & August --that would be about 14,000 anglers averaging 12 fish apiece-- or if these private boat fishers generally catch 5 or 6 thousand -- We don't know.
For anywhere else either.
Drop 10 ice-cream cones near the dog walk and statistically it's safe to eat them..
Here's what we do know. 
Black Sea Bass Are: A species whose population we can't estimate well because it lives on remnant natural and robust man-made reefs that are not suitable for scientific trawl studies; A species for which no Essential Fish Habitat has been found other than in the estuaries where we ALWAYS look for & fund fish habitat; A species for which--like so many others--management has a difficult time estimating even parsec-close to the actual recreational catch; A species for which management has been too busy & underfunded to create effective management strategy from well known behaviors..
A species whose unnecessary closure absolutely crushed small businesses in locales where the fish weren't thought to have been overfished at all.
Dr. Lubchenco, Mr. Schwaab: You should open sea bass immediately. 
Then see if anyone on NMFS/NOAA payroll has "In charge of Essential Fish Habitat for sea bass" in their job description. I haven't met them. Would like to.
Then see how much was lost to the States and Fed in tax revenue when sea bass were closed. Compare that to what it would cost to divide up management regions as the fish actually use them -- Create 'Regional' management instead of 'Coastwide' management. 
Then --as in sausage making with fresh pig intestine casings-- create policy that insists on many 'sniff checks' before bad data can again bring down an industry.
The closure is now indefensible. Open the fishery.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076
Goin fishing every day. Tog drop to 2 fish on 5/15. On 5/14 we have our last long-tog trip. Selling May 22cnd onward sea bass trips. Call 410 520 2076 for availability.
Boat sells out at 14 for tog trips - Green crabs provided - Leave as scheduled or earlier if all are aboard - PLEASE be a little early so we can leave early - Return as scheduled or a little later - Reservation a must, that phone number in signature - Email does not work for reservations - Call - Leave a good phone number--Cell--in case of cancellation.
Tog Limit is 4 fish @ 14 inches - We encourage the release of all females under 16 (and some way bigger too!!) Fish Pool is decided by length so tagged and released fish count too.
Yes, we have caught some big tog this year and in years past. No, I can not pick what size, if any, are going to bite on any given day -- We are going fishing. Inexperienced tog fishers frequently find this an exasperating sport.. So do the sharpies some days. It's more about presentation than in our other fisheries.

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