Sunday, November 07, 2010

Fish Report 11/7/10

Fish Report 11/7/10
Three Kinds of Limits  
Full Circle 
Fish Report Revisited 
Sea Bass Trips: November 11th (6:30 to 4 long-trip), 12th, 13th, 14th & 19th, 20th--that Sat a long-trip too. Still trying to get deep-deep so not opening everything.. Yet. Intend to fish into December then sail by email announcement only for tog in January & February.
Hi All,
Got a bunch of days in this week. Saw some great fishing.
I'd have wagered on sea bass being the whole story. However, early in the week tog were super aggressive. Despite sea bass attacking falling crab baits, tog were occasionally getting their shot too.
Man they were feisty. I've caught a fair number of tog; These fish--whether on account of diet, temperature or temperament--these fish put on a fantastic fight, much more so than usual.
On election day a few early voters brought youngsters aboard. As ever with target species, it's sea bass only in the fish-pool now. But, judging by the smile, being the shortest person aboard with the biggest fish wasn't too bad a consolation prize.
About 14 pounds, Nick's fish fought like it was part bluefish, part amberjack. Nice tog..
Despite togging opportunity, some clients kept to their clam bait and cranked--weeding through small cbass for keepers. They trended toward the mid-teens, even into the low 20s.
Limits of tog ..not cbass. 
Scarcely a bluefish in sight. 
Waited out the rain Thursday, were greeted by somewhat gusty winds and a deep-bodied swell from the ESE Friday, the remnants of a tropical depression--And very hungry sea bass.
One client--who, by the way, answers to Hurricane--raced into the low twenties before stalling ..brass ring so near, a limit of sea bass so close.
He and 4 others got the job done before heading in.
Despite much effort, there were 3 keeper tog aboard.
This fantastic sea bass bite remained into Saturday--as did the swell. Throw-back ratio far below normal; the early bite -often keeper doubles- was on anything you lowered. Dish towel soaked in gulp was smoking hot. For a while we found you didn't even need gulp-juice, just a piece of rag worked fine.
Some were limited out on sea bass by 10:45. Others had reached their limit, a different limit--a "How much of this weather can I stand" limit-- by 9:30.
Everyone who fished had plenty. Those who didn't had had enough.
There were no tog aboard.
In a year without many limits, we had three kinds in one week.....
Fishing Friday started me thinking of Gershwin's inspiration; Thinking of where artificial reef is headed too.
What a wonderful restoration tool. If accepting of my hypothesis that You can't have reef-fish in abundance without restoring reef to abundance; Building reef will be something we have to get very good at.
There certainly are those who obstruct reef's construction though based on very fine-line contaminants & "It's not natural."
No one's questioned yet if we have 1% or 10% of our region's natural marine reef remaining, nor even if we ever had any at all.
There was little concern when the Bow Mariner exploded and sank a few years ago; This giant ship and now popular fishing spot having had no cleaning save what was burnt and the oil that could be skimmed: Where she sank is now a mass grave for many aboard.
No one is calling for this ship's removal. ( )
Just as water may run through miles of concrete pipe--with minute erosion all the way, to arrive where concrete is scarcely welcomed as a substrate for biofilter restoration; Just as the dust from our tires--so annoying when in need of changing, combines with asphalt's wearing & runs into drain, into creek-river-bay yet is forbidden in smallest particulate form upon reef; As water for human consumption was drawn through plastic pipe, sold in plastic bottle, thrown out in plastic bag...
So perfectly was commercially dredgable/fishable/harvestable "shell as sole oyster-reef restoration substrate" written into decades of state & federal grants and subsidies, you have to really work at using concrete as reef substrate in MD's Chesapeake--It's not natural if fishing live oyster reef to bare bottom had been.
I think the major oyster restorations of late, most recently in the Choptank, are applaudable --- Barges & barges of rock.
Until we engineer reef & reef units: rock & concrete are best for the Bay.
I also applaud the use of concrete in reef balls and some of the grand concrete construction debris in use mid-Bay.
Indeed, the upper-Bay will see a dam come down--a concrete dam--that will be used as oyster substrate.
Under State guidelines you can't use asphalt, tires or plastic. On the Atlantic Coast we're certainly making sure there's no oil left aboard the 77 foot steel trawler we're getting ready to sink on Sue Power's Reef at the Jackspot.
A couple quarts of oil remained in her old engines, some fuel too in one tank. We paid to get it out--to clean it. Wouldn't have it any other way.
If we hadn't the headlines would read 'Reef makers cause oil spill'..
Some really see far more harm than good in artificial reef though. To them no amount of good can possibly outweigh the least possible bad.. 
Enter James Lovelock. His philosophy on using nuclear power is so far left that he fully bends left into right; forces political environmentalism full circle.
He is so in favor of reducing CO2 emissions that the he holds the risk of nuclear accident as a minimal concern; Holds that the testing grounds of atomic bombs on Pacific islands and the huge area surrounding the Russian accident at Chernobyl have become wonderful wildlife sanctuaries.. Holds that the animals in those places live but a few months shorter because of nuclear pollution, yet live far longer because we humans are absent.. Holds making more nuclear waste/accident wildlife sanctuaries a small price to pay would it save the habitable part of our planet in the event Rush & Glenn are wrong about climate change..
Man. Thinking about that hurts your head.
A fisherman; I'm pretty sure I know why oil exploration is going to greater and greater extremes--We too look deeper and run further when product is getting scarce.
Still--umm--Perhaps more solar & wind power will equal fewer sanctuaries created by nuclear-accident...
Concrete & rock are what I'd build reef with given funding: While several orders of magnitude below Lovelock's premise, I hold that any small contamination risk from stationary materials-of-opportunity is worthwhile. That storm & accident, the U-Boat menace of a world at war; These completely uncleaned and unscheduled ship sinkings are what kept our reef fisheries alive through fishing's industrial revolution. I hold that artificial reef now constructed has done more for fisher & fish in our region than all management's present seafloor habitat work combined.
Eh, low bar that...
Protecting natural substrates and restoring lost natural reef remains beyond us, Remains out of management's domain: Our ignorance of how much seafloor habitat has been lost over 70 years or more of industrial fishing leaves our region's reef restoration off NOAA's to-do list.
Those that hold artificial reef only concentrates reef-fish for easier harvest haven't thought it through.
If (wrongly) assuming a static fish population: Building more reef would thin fish populations--not concentrate them.
If (correctly) accepting of reef's production: More reef must then create more fish.
It is on reef's production, the fish that are going to spawn, going to create the next generation--and on reef where those juveniles will then grow to maturity themselves: Preserving a spawning population is where catch restriction must come in. It's what we do fairly well.
We're skipping the first step though--The find and restore habitat step.
Recently had an early 'fish report' sent back by a friend. I remember two old guys giggling like schoolgirls in similar circumstance at about that time; Men with many, many decades behind them having so much fun and being so surprised at finding fishing better than they could remember.
That spot--where we were catching like crazy that May day--was trawled to bare rock a few years ago by a boat whose crew I would gladly have to Thanksgiving dinner.
It's not worth fishing over now--not right now, not without growth.
We all await guidance from management.  
I suspect management's awaiting guidance from science.
In a country that embraces fraking--the deliberate poisoning of an aquifer to extract energy; but has halted oyster reef restoration in years past because traces of asphalt were found upon concrete, we can only wonder at the outcome: What will science tell management to do with seafloor habitat..
I know what I'd tell 'em.
Somewhat briefer back then and 6 years into official management--Fish Report 5/28/03 below signature.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

Subject: Just for kicks...
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 17:18:18
Hi All,
Fishing for sea bass is as good as I've ever seen.
As an indicator, today (5/28/03) at my first stop I did not allow any bait for the first few drops. We caught lots of doubles some of which were darn fine fish. That's right, fish were biting bare hooks. After we passed bait around some folks were getting such a kick out of it that they still didn't bait up! Well, it was just for kicks. But it worked.
Thought you might find that interesting,

Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
410 520 2076 Advance Ticket and Info line

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