Friday, April 29, 2011

Fish Report 4/29/11

Fish Report 4/29/11
More Toggin
Time's Up
Sea Bass Trips open from May 22cnd on - Stern spots & Saturdays are disappearing...
Inshore tog fishing Monday, Tuesday - May 2nd, 3rd - 7 AM to 3 PM - $100 - 12 people sells out.
Wednesday May 4th - 6:30 to 2:30 (Reef Diner That Night) 10 people sells out. 
Looks like a big wind late in the week. Will announce the weekend when the forecast firms up.
Green Crabs Provided - Spider Crabs too - Clam if you want it - Reservations Required @ 410 520 2076 - LEAVE THE BEST CONTACT NUMBER IN CASE OF WEATHER CANCELATION. 
Be early. Everyone likes to leave early. Show up late and you'll see the west-end of an east-bound boat..
Hi All,
Very fine day on the water.. pretty fine at least.
Bunch of fellows limited out. Others were still learning when the bite slowed.
Picked away at 'em as the current rolled around to the east.
13 1/4 pound tog took the pool. Everyone caught dinner at least.
Nice day.
Pretty jammed-up on this weekend's trips, weather must look nice.
The following Monday & Tuesday look to be very calm; Wednesday might just work too. The reef dinner is Wednesday night at 5 so that trip will be 6:30 to 2:30...
We'll see what the later part of the week brings: Big wind looks like.
Joe Hall & Family have been holding our reef dinner for many-a year. Fishing clothes are fine, business casual better: It's an all you can eat spaghetti type dinner with live & silent auctions.. Usually our biggest fundraiser.
And it all works. From a couple truckloads of concrete pipe to the three-state 563 foot Destroyer 'Radford' project - Everything we put down grows coral...............
I saw a private boat again today. Second one this year in the ocean. It is possible they were going to anchor-up for some tog fishing.
Almost May 1st - Time's Up: I expect our guys are 18,500 tog or so off their pace, a long way from last year's assertion that MD private boats caught 18,587 in March & April of 2010.
What I'm referring to is the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey - MRFSS - They say Murfis - We say Murfs. These our official catch estimates that decide if recreational fishers have violated the Nation's trust and taken too many fish.
MRFSS is the system that has been ordered thrown out and replaced with MRIP ..but, since the replacement isn't ready just yet, we're now stuck with what got us in all this trouble to begin with.
There's 3 basic divisions; Private/Rental Boat - Shore Fishing - and Charter/Partyboat (AKA "For-Hire.")
Our Murfs 'for-hire' estimates are usually pretty tight, always tighter than private boat & shore--the bar is set extremely low however..
Last year MD Party/Charter is credited with no tautog in March & April -- None; At least not yet. The for-hire data becomes final soon.
So: MD none, VA 10, DE 54 & NJ 2,563 in Mar/Apr.
The private boats are officially estimated to have caught thusly: VA 116,416 ~ MD 18,587 ~ DE none ~ and NJ 156,975 in Mar/Apr.
Keep in mind that, being generous, MD's actual private boat catch in 2011 probably numbers less than 100 tog.
The for-hire estimates look crazy in the example above, But I'd wager they're still much closer to the bull's-eye than the private boat numbers...

This is the simplest fishery with the fewest participants, yet the data is completely fouled-up beyond any honest or honorable threshold.
When managers look us in the eye and say XX percentage of tautog were caught in X period, They really think the numbers they're throwing out are sound, that real management is taking place because they see numbers printed on paper..
This bad data creates illusions of fishery restoration & fishery collapse; It disguises real success/failure oscillations of regional fish stocks. Poor data can easily hide super-abundance or sharp decline in local fish populations.
The constant struggle to find regulatory fairness with MRFSS data is so consuming that the largest marine agency in the world, NOAA, has been unable to connect the mid-Atlantic's reef fisheries to reef habitat--to any habitat..
I fail to see how NOAA can expect well-restored recreational fisheries based only from the torturous zigzagging of the MRFSS wave data.
Instead of continuing to manage with new MRFSS data sets, Catch estimates should be frozen in long term average.
For instance, the last 7 years of private boat tog effort in March/April for MD averages 5,105 and 2,112 in the for-hire sector.
That's still poppycock, but better than 19,000 & zero.
For the same period NJ would average 39,199 private boat tog and 4,453 in the party/charter sector..
To my point: The NJ shore fishing 10 year average for Mar/Apr is 812 tautog. MRFSS now has those same fellows that have a seat worn in their favorite jetty-boulder catching 71,636 tog in 2010 -- An increase of about 71,000 fish.
The data is so foul it shouldn't be used -- Management must stop throwing businesses and jobs off a cliff while claiming, "It's the best available data."
Averaging would at least allow some regulatory respite while the new system comes into play.
When we get closer to the truth we'll really start to honestly look for "Why" instead of using formulaic management response to data no one should call science, the percentage increase or decrease of recreational quotas we experience.
This is going to get worse before it gets better. We need management to freeze MRFSS averages while MRIP digs for truth.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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