Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fish Report 3/13/12

Fish Report 3/13/12
Few More Trips
Cod Mystery
Friday - Building Tog Condos At Sunset Marina For Jimmy Jackson's Reef. Could use some strong backs. Despite no masonry skills whatever, We'll be starting at 8 right by the travel lift. I'll supply water, Red Bull, iced tea & Mione's Pizza - BYO Advil..
Hi All,
Snuck out early Sunday. First time ever daylight savings didn't bugger someone up. No one was late.
Caught 23 tog over 10 pounds - put 8 of them back. Biggest release was Jim's at 29 1/4 inches which won the pool - we do tog pools by length so folks can put back dandies if they want to.
Surrounded by several lifetimes worth of tog fishing & accumulated talent, Jim's & another fish that weighed 18.7 pounds dockside were caught by fellows who's tog-fishing time would be measured in hours & minutes: It's not always the sharpies who catch the biggest fish..
Had a chance to wet a line myself. Bowed up on a good fish. Snaggy bottom. Didn't want him to get back in. Rod up, tip down; all 7 line-guides feeling the strain; drag inching out--POW! My favorite tog stick blew-up - a loud explosion. Now just 4 guides on a stub of a rod - caught the fish. Have to see what St. Croix's high-end warranty is...
As predicted, I also had 2 clients get skunked. Pretty sure they enjoyed their day; positive they'd rather have caught.
If we were allowed even a few sea bass they would have been fine.
Monday I had all sharpshooters, all good clients & all of a single purpose; we left in pre-dawn light hunting large tog.
What a difference a day makes!
From 23 over 10 pounds to not 23 fish altogether..
Two very skilled anglers skunked - Chris had a new personal best at 17.1 pounds
..but Twenty Pound Bob took his money too.
Have begun taking Sea Bass reservations for summer 2012 beginning May 16th.. Want stern spots on a Saturday? Now's the time..
Meanwhile, more tog trips:
Thursday - 3/15 Regular Tog - 7 to 3 - $100.00 - 14 Sells Out.
Friday - Building 4 Tog Condos At Sunset Marina For Jimmy Jackson's Reef. Could use some strong backs. Despite no masonry skills whatever, We'll be starting at 8 right by the travel lift. I'll supply water & Red Bull - BYO Advil..
Sunday - 3/18 - Long Tog - 6 to 4 - $125.00 - 15 Sells Out.
Monday - 3/19 - Extra Long Tog - 5 to 5 - $175.00 - 15 Sells Out.
Tuesday - 3/20 - Inshore Tog - 8 to 3 - $100.00 - 8 Sells Out - Kick Around Close To Home..
Tog Fishing - It Is Likely Some Clients Will Be Skunked.
Fishery Regulations Followed Or Exceeded.
Passage does not include exact location of fishing spots - Ever - GPS units float tested.
No Live Fish Leave The Boat.
Bring A Cooler w/Ice For Your Party's Fish.
If we built a reef, a great huge reef with hundreds of tog-tubes and many barge-loads of boulder, I would not expect nearby wrecks to become vacant, nor nearby natural reef bottoms completely drained of life in "attraction" to this new reef.. While some mature fish would likely colonize the area swiftly, especially as mussel & tog-grass growths (tubularian hydroid, Tubularia crocea) create better & better groceries.. Soon, however, increases in fish would be identical to a natural reef's population increases.
If fishery production were limited to natural habitat, then accidental wrecks would have siphoned-off all reef life by "Attraction" decades ago.
Instead, wrecks develop their own fishery production.
So too do artificial reefs.
Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple.
That's why my crew and any volunteers will be mixing concrete Friday..
I first looked into it when I had a cod tag return from the Bay of Fundy to 4 miles off Assateauge; 568 NM as the crow flies...
I've tried to get Mid-Atlantic managers interested in cod. I thought sure that shot of fish last year would do it.
Now I'm learning the reason no one seems concerned is because many believe we're catching fish from the Georges Bank stock.
Look at Georges on a map if you're unfamiliar with it. Used to be an island. They trawl up mastodon bones there..
WSW is the Great South Channel. Bet that would have made for an exciting boat ride in its day:
Depths of 30 and 40 feet on the Bank drop to near-canyon depths in the Great South Channel.
It doesn't seem as though Georges fish cross the Channel and then press further south -- There's no record of it.
The historical record shows NJ/DE Bay fish summering/mixing with the Nantucket Shoal stock. Beginning with Smith in 1902, no tag from southern cod has ever shown up on Georges nor vice-versa.
There is a great deal of consternation about the Gulf of Maine's (GOM) cod population. I believe the sudden ferocity of last winter's weather affected nearshore water temps and drove some/much of the GOM population out & south; some all the way to Chesapeake Bay. I know guys who caught cod last winter while tog fishing (blackfish) out of VA Beach, 90 miles or so below me. One cod was even caught in Pamlico Sound, NC.
Averaging one keeper cod a week this winter, last year we sometimes had incredible fishing--double headers drop after drop..
Those fish weren't from Georges Bank.
Tag studies show the great south channel acts as a barrier. At most, very few cod cross south & then keep going, although some do leave Georges and go north..
These findings were recently confirmed genetically as well.. Georges cod are far more isolated than GOM.
I believe multiple snow storms -the storms that shut our tog down very early but then came back on as bottom temps rose a bit- created a dispersion event in GOM cod -- There Is No Collapse Of GOM Cod, Just Natural Dispersion - Science Needs To Allow For Things Natural Even If They Don't See Them Coming.
I also believe, among all fisheries & among all data sets, the MA 2010 private boat wave 2 MRFSS estimate is the single worst recreational catch estimate of the last 20 years. It very poorly coincided with a change to 100% recreational discard mortality in stock assessment calculations..
A retired homicide detective friend often said, "I don't believe in coincidence."
I think some measurement dropped of so badly--a winter trawl survey for instance, that managers went to 100% recreational release mortality and, Gee, look at that spike in private boat landings for April -- up from 2,500 in 2004, to 2,500,000 in 2010 -- Trying to square what they can not fathom..
Once a fish is carried down the dock, whether by recreational or commercial fisher, that catch can not be repeated until a new fish has grown into it's place.
Once an entire reef's fish population has been carried down the dock, that habitat must be rested and many of its fish allowed to grow before more fish can be taken.
If a reef's fish population has been caught and the reef destroyed at the same time -- then the reef must be restored before fish can again repopulate it.
If, however, an entire region's fish flee an area because of cold water; that's dispersion and very likely a return to normal migration. It's no different than Massachusetts sea bass moving a hundred miles further south in cold water or bluefin tuna staying further north in this warm winter -- off VA Beach instead of below Cape Hatteras.
The emergency for GOM cod is that we're not better regulated below Cape Cod..
Build us some reef units. Have a pallet of Oyster Castle blocks coming too.
Do a little togging - almost finished getting ready for CG inspection.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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