Monday, September 20, 2010

Fish Report 9/20/10

Fish Report 9/20/10
Sea Bass in Fall   
Back From the Deep & Going Again
A Habitat Comparison
Hi All,
A very, very refreshing cbass bite Saturday. Though it started with mostly throwbacks -causing despair amongst some- the pace of keepers had rhythm. 
Dae & Ben had the boat's first sea bass limits of fall. They and a few others Saturday might be the only ones to do so. Time will tell.
Sunday most were into the mid-teens.
In 2010 that's good fishing!
Bigger cbass in spring; Fall usually offers the best numbers ..and it's still officially summer.
Hurricane Igor's distance offshore a safe buffer for us; We'll hope the best for Bermuda, pull maintenance a day and see what shapes-up. Let the surfers have their swell.
Try the cbass again Tuesday - Forecast looks good. . . .
Went deep again last week, further off, a 24 hour trip. Still hunting bottom, Still fine-tuning what I want to offer..
Anchored on canyon's edge most of the night; squid did their thing a while, mackerel on Sabiki's.
Kite flying taut in brisk north wind; An extra-large squid with assortment of lightsticks suspended deep--big hook, Another squid --live-- just along the surface.
Relief at the tangle resulting when the kite fell, when the wind died. Man did it get calm.
Almost gametime: At sunrise we were in 750 feet of water. Offshore of us was America's Tall Ship, the "Eagle" - a 295 foot Coast Guard Cutter under very light sail. 
In the moments before actual sun-up the ship was centered perfectly in rising sun's orange glow.. What were the chances? 
Filed in memory. Great photo-op.
Soon after we were lowering 20 ounce sinkers to the mud, to the clays of the continental slope where the depth falls away very rapidly, to where tilefish make their burrows..
A nice slow drift.
The first thing I learned about golden tile fishing is -- It's fishing.
We were getting bites and missing them, hooking up good fish only to drop them. Mate Ritch had a --something-really-big-that-bit-on-the-drop-and-went-crazy ..before biting/wearing through the line. Would'a like to seen that one.
Given Pythagoras' work, we must have had fair-close to a thousand feet of line out to hit bottom.
Hmmm.. Do I really need to check my bait?
No electric reels.
Magnificent fish. Beautiful. Ended up with a few good golden tiles in the deep.
Trolled and looked for bottom for an hour while muscles recovered - a nap for some.
Shallower, about 325 feet, "In they go."
Anchored-up on reef -- This is what I do.
Deeper today though.
Very nice fishing for all.
Need to convince Maryland that blueline tile is worthy of State Record keeping.
Scrappy & tasty. Not a good combination for a fish to survive into the modern era.
Caught sea bass too. Nice ones.
Look forward to going back. Will.
Next day a young charter captain sez, "Hear you had a bad overnighter."
"Yeah, didn't even catch a mahi."
Beauty's in the eye of the beholder I suppose.
Pretty sure all aboard enjoyed.
I'm going again. See below signature for 18 hour trip details. . . .
Habitat limited fishery.
Golden tile would certainly fit that category. Read the 'Behavior and Reproduction' section in Wiki. Read the history of the fishery on the Littoral Society's tilefish page too.
Point is, here's a fishery with a very narrow habitat window - Say 60 to 200 fathoms - and that happens FAST. Beyond the continental shelf where we normally fish, at the slope --where the canyons are-- depth falls away very rapidly. Compared to the sea bass's range of 2 to 110 fathoms and it's millions of square miles, there's really not a lot of bottom at depths meeting the tilefishes' habitat requirements--Let alone the precise clay bottoms it favors at those depths..
Be a long-long time before we're building 'artificial burrows' for these fish.
In the dialectic jousting of fisheries--The discovery of fisheries restoration truths through logical debate; Presumably the heads of our Councils, Commissions, NMFS, NOAA and many layers down within these respective organizations can wrap their heads around small pieces of ecosystem based management.
Perhaps some --the deepest thinkers-- can fully comprehend a Large Marine Ecosystem. Awful lot of connections between that red krill bloom off the coast right now to that tilefish in a hundred fathoms to that striped bass embryo developing in freshwater come spring..
Mind boggling.
Still, with tilefish there just isn't a lot of suitable bottom habitat. Some of it -spearheaded by commercial tilefishers- has been sensibly protected from trawl damage--This while rec-fishers run helter-skelter from the dreaded ghost of MPA, preventing simple, common sense science/management: I don't think we can make tilefishes' actual area of habitat bigger.
With sea bass, tautog & many other reef species however; It is indisputable that hard sand bottom can be made into reef by artificial substrate, that we can increase our temperate reef-fishes' habitat via artificial reef.
A little engineering and we can do it in mud bottoms too.
Sea bass & the reef dwelling complex in the mid-Atlantic are as simple as it gets.
There is nothing easier to begin ecosystem management with.
Ought to apply some of that brain trust to these habitat dependant species.
Be a giant step forward.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076
18 hour trip, Tuesday, 9/28/10.
Leave Tuesday at 12:01 AM - Midnight. Return Tuesday evening 6ish. Will try Golden Tile first, then Blueline Tile, Sea Bass - Plus whatever bites on the troll..
Derned if I wouldn't like to see a grouper too on one of these trips.
18 hour trip: Ten head sells out the rail - $275.00 each. Rental Rod $20.00 - includes all rigs.
Please understand that I do have confirmed locations but that I will be exploring and looking for more - trolling in-between spots & trying new spots when found.
Accommodations are lacking. Benches and floor for napping. Bring all your food & water - Maybe a yoga mat from the dollar store - sweatshirt for a pillow - possibly quite chilly at night.
Dramamine is very cheap insurance.
No Electric Reels.
No 3, 4, 5, hook rigs -- Two Hooks.
No Booze whatsoever -- None. Beer is OK but not in ridiculous quantity.
Only one rod in the water at a time: You may bring several rods, even a spinner for mahi and squid, but only use one at a time. 
Deep drop reels should be spooled with 50 to 80 pound micro-braid - lots of it. 300 yards may not always work. Best rods are 6 to 8 feet with plenty of backbone.
Phones will be turned off & surrendered to the wheelhouse 25 miles out.
Get caught with a GPS -engage in electronic theft of fishing locations- and you go home with nothing. Nothing.
Limits: 25 sea bass (Federal) -- Golden Tile/Blueline Tile, 7 in Aggregate -- One grouper (New MD regulations & Good to see
All, of course, only if we were ever so fortunate... 
Fish caught trolling will be split amongst everyone if appropriate. There will be a lot of fast trolling on the way out/in & from spot to spot.
No need of huge coolers -54 qt or so w/ice is fine- we have room to ice big fish.
Book's open if you want to go.
410 520 2076.
Leave the very best phone number - Weather has to be near perfect or I'll cancel and open the day to a regular trip.
I have no clue what the forecast will be at this point.

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