Monday, August 30, 2010

Fish Report 8/30/10

Fish Report 8/30/10
C-Ya Danielle, Hi Earl
Sea Bass, Very Few Flounder & Squeakers
A Vision Of Reefs Restored
Hi All,
Reckon the TV weather folk's deep concern for rip-tides and hurricane swell is what gave us a few days to catch up on maintenance. Hey Thanks.. but we were pretty caught-up anyway. Advertising sold into the public's anxiety of impending tragedy, Or eagerness in that they might soon witness newly televised misfortune: It's flat calm - Currents are perfectly fishable - No sponsors Sunday & Monday.
Hurricane Danielle was a gracious lady who allowed us to fish as she passed by.
Earl, however & now inbound, seems to have other ideas.
We'll sneak in a few days before he gets here. Perhaps the fish will put on a good feed in sensing his approach.. 
Fishing Monday was fine, caught dinner. Tuesday's high NE winds allowed for some honest maintenance weather. Wednesday's washing machine--the waves left from Tuesday--were hard to hunt fish in. Every time we did though they were hungry. Nice ones too. Thursday offered a very nice bite, easily in August's top 3. Friday we did some fisheries work, sampling tautog for later aging analysis. Curiously, the fellow who was likely low-hook on Thursday when the cbass bite was on took almost everyone to school on Friday in a tough tog pick. Believe me, that's saying something given the talent aboard..
Saturday the cbass bite fell in a heap. Worked hard to make dinner & did.
Finally tried the croakers too. Too small to croak, little squeakers.. Soon have some good fish I expect.
Sunday previous, the 22cnd, I witnessed an 8 year old put a smack-down on the two fellows to his left.. He, by himself, caught 9 nice keepers with an accompanying ratio of throwbacks. They had 4 between them. Angry, irritated; They couldn't be troubled with changing technique: "Captain, You only put us on small fish!"
Some things can't be fixed.
Sunday just past, the 29th, ended with deckhand Mike and I cleaning a few sea bass and blueline tilefish.
Just my luck, take a day to go offshore where the mahi, wahoo & marlin currently live ..and I find sea bass. Even found female sea bass to 4+ pounds--double headers. That doesn't happen on reef with fishing pressure.
Long trip though.
Fun in the right frame of mind.
Next time I go back to research deepwater wrecks and reefs I'll sell a few tickets.
Just a few.
Might be soon............
I wrote about it before. Not fast like the children's game: Slow. 
Corals grow on Rock.
Scientific Paper sez ain't no rock & ain't no coral in our part of the Mid-Atlantic.
Beurocraticly rusted shut, those who wield Scissors remain ignorant, experience no urgency in their snipping--in their finding, protecting & restoring Essential Fish Habitat. 
Paper wins.
All who enjoy the ocean lose.
Suburban parking lot built, Weed killer sold, Water view enhanced in ridding of trees, Mosquito larvae sprayed, Waste-water treatment for millions, Fertilizer run-off of scenic farm & lovely lawn: Tax base solid, we're working on these troubles. 
Then too centuries of oystering; bushel after bushel, dredge impact upon impact, year after year, decade upon decade.. in centuries now collapsed.
Some see plainly the ecological service the bivalve offered in making waters clear & clean. Others enjoy fishing over oyster-reef restoration efforts, those artificial reefs.
A waterman's sons all wanting to fish like Dad; In three generations too many. Recreational fishers' numbers swell even faster.
We have studied these things and know of them. Political difficulties abound but there is understanding even where there is denial. We understand more and are working on solutions to repairing the estuaries' water quality and lessen all of overfishing's effects.
Sunday I was looking at Reef. Deep reef. Undiscovered reef.
Well, scientifically undiscovered--like the inshore reefs--and therefore unknown for management's purpose.
No one's ever filmed it, nor toured it with a submersible: An ecosystem unstudied.
Fifty million dollar research boat off Maryland's shores two years ago. Equipped with every modern instrument: The ROV --an unmanned video camera and sampling vehicle-- sat unused because its crew was not aboard; The ship's ultra hi-tech stern-towed sonar array might have been useful too, but its crew too was not aboard.
We learned virtually nothing from the trip.
I filmed the inshore habitat with a $600.00 u/w Seaview camera and a Wal-Mart TV.
Need to get a lot better camera/video set-up to put these deep-water corals on YouTube.
Lot better.
How can scientists stand to have an unstudied ecosystem.. and so-so close to Washington, DC.
That Sunday a marlin jumped off my starboard bow.
A mahi ate an Ocean City lure.
And the water was a gorgeous shade of blue, the clearest of blues, a blue lighter and softer than the bluest of skies.. 
This as since 1934 when the inlet was rockpiled off and men hooked billfish for their strength and show.
And also since that time -and millennia before- there was reef nearby.
Straight down.
Blue water over reef is now found deeper, much further offshore than the men who first billfished along Maryland's coast experienced.
They who fished in small fleets 5, 10 and 20 miles out now fish in far greater number 50, 60, a hundred miles out. More.
Putting the blue water back as remembered by these men will come from the work in the estuaries.
It's possible, likely even, that the inshore reef footprint I think existed previously will also contribute to marine water quality.
There is much to do.
Putting the reefs back, some whose rock/clay substrate's height only measures in inches, is work not yet begun.
Not officially.
Fishers see the success of building artificial reef and grasp at whatever we can find --ship, concrete pipe, used tire, stainless steel subway car-- to build more.
It needs to be taken seriously: Barges of rock. Lots of them.
Concrete pipe too.
The remnants, the small areas of natural reef that survived to today need protection; They'll thrive if allowed to regrow.
Mike and I dropped on several pieces of reef and a wreck in different depths of water Sunday. In each case we bowed instantly -- Fish On.
That's the fisheries restoration I aim to see inshore.
With blue water.
And maybe an occasional marlin jumping.
It's all doable.
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act seems pretty clear to me. Essential Fish Habitat..
A paper written in 1981 by Wigley & Theroux is also clear: No hardbottom reef in the mid-Atlantic.
In ignorance managers need not act. 
We'll continue to suffer the consequences of their inaction.
Derned if that doesn't need fixin.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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