Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fish Report 7/10/11

Fish Report 7/10/11
Cbass & A Fluke   
One Tangle
Where The Life Is
Fishing Regular Trips Most Days - Sea Bass (flounder too?) - $100.00 - 7 to 3.
Sunday - 7/24/11 - $250 - 16 Hour Cbass/Blueline Tile Trip - 3AM to 7PM - 10 Anglers Only - Reservations Required
Hi All,
A varied week; Catches from not-so-much to very fine indeed. Sunday I even had one fellow with more than 20 keeper sea bass..
Our special 12 hour trip Saturday started with a couple beautiful cbass and a lost-at-boatside keeper cod -- then the day fell in a heap for about 4 hours!
Despite a light rail I had decided to fish way-out & deep. The current, easy the previous day, was full bore.. 16 ounces held bottom only briefly in the strong tidal flow.
Amazingly, with almost 20 knots of wind the boat laid to the current on anchor: Typically I'd not even factor current with that much wind.
Mate Mike summed up one part of the boat thusly: "They only had one tangle, but it lasted 4 hours."
So we picked along, doing our best with a poor situation: I knew the tide would change. 
Ripping still; the current finally rolled halfway around the compass.
South & settled, velocity lessened; The fish came out of hiding -- Hungry.
On the way home we had a screaming run-off, a large tuna. 300 yards of 80 pound line later Mr. Murphy laughed as the tuna flipped us a fin and went back to life as a super predator.
One of these days..  
Another fish, summer flounder, answered to twitch-twitch on Sunday. Caught a few up to 4 1/2 pounds on Gulps & cut bait with the biggest on clam.
Game-on any day. . . . . . . . .  
The Morning Star's Clients & Crew have donated over $2,500.00 to the Radford project, the 563 foot ex-Navy Destroyer that's been exquisitely cleaned for reefing.
Now the EPA has decided that corals will only grow on incredibly clean ships -- No Wait: There Is No Government Consideration Of Seafloor Habitat In The Shelf Waters Of The Mid-Atlantic--None.
We have no real reef, just a few shipwrecks and artificial reefs.
Management has never considered where cod used to winter by the millions, where lobster are even now an important commercial fishery, where sea bass are 100% reef-habitat dependant: behavior long established before any ship sank off this coast.
When the Bow Mariner exploded 50 miles offshore on February 28, 2004, No .gov made anyone clean a dern thing.
Fish don't care. Mussels don't care. Corals probably have a toe-hold on her superstructure already..
Should we exercise diligence in deciding what will be sunk?
Should we make reef units cleaner than surrounding seawater?
..what a waste of time & money.
For over a decade I've been telling the government about our inshore reefs, a key component of this region's fisheries: Nothing.
If tomorrow several flounder trawlers decide to take part of their quota from our natural reef sites -- then tomorrow we'll lose a tremendous amount of reef habitat; many artificial reef unit's worth.
They'll pick through the torn-up sea whip, a branching soft coral, for their fish.  
No foul will have occurred.
Just a lot of lost bottom that may or may not regrow.  
Now imagine 50 years ago with a completely unregulated free for all; even foreign factory ships processing our groundfish -- our reef fish.
It sure seems obvious to me: Steaming along, looking at an expanse of ocean as far as I can see with no reef habitat -- and no fish to target -- but I'm headed to some: It's where the life is.
I see 3 conch pots triangulating several acres. They pretty well define the actual economic value of bare bottom: Whatever a couple conch pots can catch in a season. Were a reef built in that same spot the economic value would increase many thousand fold -- Annually.
Go ahead EPA, tell us how much cleaner to make the Radford.
It's perfect that the Environmental Protection Agency is delaying this reef's final placement and many centuries of contribution to our region's fisheries production -- While .gov agencies remain ignorant of natural reef's contribution and, rock scraped bare, loss of production in natural reef's absence.
Just as MRFSS, our official recreational catch estimates, have sidelined serious fishery management, so too is this squabbling over a shipwreck: Data on a computer screen isn't what's real in the ocean.
Calcified shell in boulder form & great huge pieces of granite can create fantastic production
..but our 'Best Science' has Rhode Island's small private boats catching almost as many sea bass as the whole coast's partyboat fleet.. NC to Massachusetts partyboats 160,000 in 2009 --- RI private boats 130,000 in 2010.
Our focus on scandalously bad catch data is a waste of time & money. Simple concept catch restrictions would work better.
Just sand & mud in the mid-Atlantic -- no reef to worry over.
Reefs are an incredibly important aspect of mid-Atlantic fisheries: Rolling rocks off a barge makes as good a reef as what used to be here. Sunken ships create super reef--are fantastically more productive ..and are arguably why any reef fish survived the unregulated industrial fisheries period.  
MRFSS recreational catch estimates are diagnosably bipolar. Gov knows it and is replacing the whole system with MRIP. 
MRFSS data cannot and should not be trusted for any but the vaguest direction in management.
Management should instead act on the many other aspects of fishery science that apply in the region..
Understanding why the Radford is going to become a fantastic reef would be a start.
Giving us our sea bass back --stolen by bad data-- a close second!
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

Blog Archive