Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fish Report 1/22/12

Fish Report 1/22/12
More Tog Trips
A Rule Remembered
State Record Confirmed
Hi All,
Weekend storm past, looks like OK weather coming up. Expect we'll do some more toggin.
Among the most challenging of reef fish; Should you hear of good tog catches you can bet it wasn't great for everyone aboard.
This is real fishing -- bad luck comes with the good.
I limit my fares to about 1/4 the boat's legal capacity so I can move folks around, get them on the better parts of a wreck or reef -- and still not everyone catches everyday. The limit's only 4 fish per person, it can be very cold: You Have To Love This Fishing
..some of us do; terrible affliction.
A boat rule I had forgotten about because we've been exsanguinating tog for years..
Henceforth: All tog must be Bled or Dead before leaving the boat.
I'm opening;
Wednesday, 1/25/12 - 7 to 3 - $100.00 - 8 Sells Out.
Thursday, 1/26 - Long Tog - 5 AM to 4:30 PM - $150.00 - 12 Sells Out.
Friday, 1/27 - 7 to 3 - $100.00 - 10 Sells Out.
Saturday, 1/28 - Long Tog - 5 AM to 4:30 PM - $150.00 - 14 sells out.
No over-limit, No undersize, No live fish: Not on my boat.
Also: If you carry live green crabs in your pocket so your bait's handy as I do, be sure to get them out before your clothes go in the wash. I've recently learned if your wife finds live crabs in the washing machine it will result in very specific derogatory language regarding your intelligence, your immediate family lineage & fishing in general.
Earning a livelihood at sea makes things hard enough without live crabs crawling around in the washer..
... So I'd just put my personal-best of several years back; a 28 1/2 inch, 15 pound male; A big bruiser with a Jay Leno chin. Great spawning stock; must have been part tilefish, what a fight!
Just baiting back up when I hear, "Yeah Baby, YEAH!"
Big Mike is one of those dedicated toggers who will drive I don't know how many hours to catch a fish he has in his backyard near Queens, NY.
He's got the right gear--a very sweet 8' St. Croix Legend with a small Diawa lever drag 20; He's got the right bait presentation, understands perfectly well tog don't bite everyday; He's patient.
Now Big Mike's in the 20 pound club.
We weighed his fish dockside with the Coastal Fisherman's scale, 20 pounds 11 ounces.
Charlie Donahue's State Record official too; 23 pounds is the fish to beat in Maryland.
Two fish over 20 pounds in eight days.
I've had years I couldn't break 15.
That's four over 20 on the Morning Star.
Started putting tog back in 1984 -- These jumbos we've caught lately were likely there already or swimming in back-bay algae beds..
I'm positive the future will be better still for togging; that because of reef building and catch-restriction we'll leave this fishery much better than we found it.
Now to make it incredibly better; Get management focused on how to make more fish instead of just catch less fish..
MuRFSS catch-data prevents management from perceiving what's real. When MRFSS says MD private boats caught 18,572 tog in Mar/Apr, 2010 -- that's about 18,500 fish too high. Its pure fantasy -- could never-ever happen -- EVER.
When we take 20 or 30 fish off a reef -- that's real.
This I guarantee: If catch is kept reasonable while habitat is expanding, we'll have a lot more tog -- Do.
Meanwhile, we must get NOAA & NMFS off their "overfishing" crusade.
I believe management has become rote; That no matter its lack of veracity, of truth; Data-in/Management-out means of regulation are their sole concern. Only when we are thought to be over-quota do fishery officials take notice. The sharpest declines in catch attract no attention from modern management because they do not qualify as over-fishing ..yet declines are where the real trouble lies.
We will always have & need catch restriction, but I believe we must also bring Ecology, Biology & Physiology to this fight.
Know this: Just one small step beyond a 'restored' fishery lies an 'engineered' fishery: There is where management must take us.
In truth we're already there with tog.
Waiting for them to pick up on it.
Constant or Increasing Yield during Habitat Contraction equals Fishery Collapse.
Constant or Declining Yield during Habitat Expansion equals Fish Population Increase.
That's why Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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