Sunday, June 06, 2010

Fish Report 6/6/10

Fish Report 6/6/10
Opening July, August & September 
Tactical Nukes
Sea Bass Much Safer
A Fluke On Purpose
Dr. Moore
Hi All,
Finally opening the reservation book for July, August, September & on thru October 11th as sea bass now appear to be legal during the period. We'll be targeting all manner of reef--accidental, natural and artificial--and whatever fish are there and biting throughout the summer. Primarily that will be sea bass, summer flounder and the odd tog with some triggers and spades if they show later.
I'm also adding spot 23 back to center stern.. Well, giving 23 back to clients really; I have often fished there since I quit selling it.
A couple changes from July forward - If you have a June reservation nothing is changed or will.
The rod holders between spots on the rail --two for every passenger-- have long been welded-in and will not be modified. We're simply returning to 25 spots sold out.........
If you know of a way to help fishers in the Gulf please pass it along so I can spread the word. I know what it is like to lose a fishery through no fault of your own.. Whisky sales will be climbing. It's not a good thing.
We need to treat that crude as Roosevelt would've treated an attack on our soil: War - Every asset - None spared.. Put tactical nukes on either side of that dagoned hole a quarter mile down and blow it shut. Are we worried that BP might have to drill a new well? The Navies of countries where we have large cemeteries for our troops can send assets to help with clean-up & I have to imagine would.. There has to be a way to clean those waters: Must be.
Action lifts..
Meanwhile, the super-tankers lightering oil off Delaware Bay aren't going to spill a drop while our region's spill assets are on scene in the Gulf...
Ahh Yes, fishing.. Every year in June cbass go into a bit of a funk - the bite tapers. The fish are not going to adjust their schedule because the fed made us lose three weeks of spring fishing.
Kurkel's Klosure now done; Sea bass are now much safer of their own doing--their big mouths are not getting them in as much trouble. We're still getting high-hook into the mid/upper teens & occasionally breaking twenty; It just isn't the steady rain of double-headers, the weeding through many for legal ones & even occasionally counting to 25 that we knew just a short while ago.
Still coming home with fish, just working harder for them.
I have long struggled to understand this feeding behavior, the June slow-down, and now think it was hidden in simplicity; That it is nothing more than many fish being hungry as a result of what for them must be a long migration back inshore.
Come fall their movement to winter reefs seems slow, unwilling; The bite intense as they fatten up.
Come spring they race back inshore --appear-- and are hungry. Feed.
That there are simply more cbass hungry as they come inshore is a simplification of our many fishing theories & surely too simple. Overall, however, it holds well.
Now early summer, the tapering bite coincides with ripening reproductive organs made most obvious by the 'blue-heads' of male black sea bass.
A fortunate accident of management; many of those blue knot-heads are currently sub-legal. We're throwing back lots of spawning males. I think this is crucial to future years' success, a super-critical part of maintaining high fishery production in this fishery.
The coming spawning frenzy is also likely part of the tempered bite as attention is diverted.. not just food and shelter, soon our reefs are spawning sites too. 
Management might one day ponder how to maximize the stock's participation in spawning, to eliminate the delay of recruitment, to have all age one fish in the spawning stock. I've seen it plenty--Soon after we catch lots of fish too. Smoothing that oscillation, keeping the age of spawning low and constant, would seriously boost our region's bioeconomic yield..
I don't know if it's an eruption --as in migratory birds flying further south than usual because of harsh winter weather & scarcity of prey-- or a return to what was very much a natural part of our region's seafloor ecology; We are still tagging some codfish under 22 inches.
With only a vague knowing of cod's restoration it must be that many have worked long hours; are making progress. Putting cod back on our catch-list below the Mason-Dixon line is solid evidence....
Netted our first keeper flounder Saturday - a fluke. No fluke that it was caught, Avak has landed a great many with me. It was the first keeper of 2010 though..
Now 30 years that I have been in this fishery, this anchoring a partyboat precisely and rarely drifting over our wrecks, remnant natural reefs and increasing artificial reefs: Our ocean partyboat flounder fishery that began in 2005 was never had here by any previous generation of partyboat skippers.
Habitat fidelity is all around..
Many of us thoroughly enjoy this new fluke fishery --And, since we're re-engineering our marine ecology's inner workings, I dearly wish we could hybridize a few of our fluke with California halibut; catch us some 40 pounders.. Still, without creating an obviously new super-predator to feed with a prey base that we don't regulate or understand well, I wonder what ecological changes are being wrought by regulating into being a regional super-abundance of these original predators, the summer flounder.....  
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, responsible for many of our species' well-being and restoration, has a new Executive Director: Dr. Chris Moore.
An old-hand in fisheries and a true master of statistics, I hope he's seen enough Bad Statistics to create a filter that precludes their use in management, that he steers us away from the use of blatantly poor statistics as has been occurring far more frequently of late.
And, just as early American industry used streams and rivers like a built-in waste management system and an energy source through damming that has clearly caused long-suffered disruptions in fisheries production & restoration; So too are industrial fishing gears' effects on seafloor habitat a painful burden. I hope Dr. Moore sees that we can keep industrial fisheries alive, even thriving, as we begin habitat restoration where few have seen habitat and none know its true scope.. 
I gave up on the Mid-Atlantic Council where habitat is concerned years ago. Perhaps now Dr. Moore will apply standard restoration biology techniques to our fisheries.
Memo to Council: Where habitat has been lost it must be put back to achieve restoration..
Tell them to put away the waders too, Dr. Moore; We know plenty about areas easily accessed.
Ask the retired skippers about habitat, the old timers, the guys that trawled, scalloped and clammed right next to huge foreign factory ships. Show 'em some sea whip as I did, the almost grass-like orange soft coral; "Monty, we used to catch so much of that.." Ask 'em how often rocks would come up in the dredge; "I had to quit one boat; Made great money shacking bugs (selling lobster) but getting all those rocks unstuck from the dredge was a pain." Ask 'em how they found good bottom for sea bass and lobster before precise electronic navigation..
It was bigger.
Much bigger.
Every square yard of reef has a production value - Positive in its presence, negative in its absence.
I sincerely hope that Dr. Moore can bring that simple idea of restoration to the MAFMC.
Be a lot easier boosting habitat's production than forever fighting the ghosts of statistics past with catch restriction..
Yes Sir, Dr. Moore; There's a-plenty to do here in the mid-Atlantic. 
Meanwhile, nick enough cbass for a fish-fry & Hope they figure out how to fix that mess in the Gulf..
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076
A couple changes from July forward - If you have a June reservation nothing is changed or will.
Putting the C spots at the bow in the numerical flow too. Spot one will be just ahead of the port stern corner as it should be, the C spots where I often fish by the anchor winch will now be spots 10 -the very port bow- & spot 11, the starboard bow.  Spot 20 will be just forward of the starboard stern corner -- then 20 thru 25 across the stern -- like that.
Look at the chart on the website - easy to visualize
The rod holders between spots on the rail have long been welded-in and will not be modified - We're simply returning to 25 spots sold out.........

Blog Archive