Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fish Report 3/12/13

Fish Report 3/12/13
Couple Trips
Boat Limit
One Thousand
Fisheries Economics Report
Reef Building With Oyster Castle Reef Blocks Wednesday, 3/13/13 @ 11AM - Volunteers Wanted To Help Load & Site +-100 Reef Blocks @ Jimmy's Reef - Blocks Weight 27 lbs Each..About 4 Hours Work - Lunch Provided; Not Gloves Or Advil. Email If Interested.
Long Tog - Sunday & Monday, 3/17 & 3/18 - Cbass Closed - 6AM to 6PM - $150.00 - 16 Passengers Sells Out - Even Very Good Anglers Could Be Skunked - Intrepid Anglers Only!
Reservations Required @ 410 - 520 - 2076.
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Are Common - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..
No Live Fish Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period.
(I Believe The Live-Fish Black Market Is Hurting This Fishery)
All Regulations Observed - 4 Fish @ 16 Inches.
Green Crabs Provided. You're welcome to bring any hard bait: Lobster, White Crab, Blue Crab, Hermit Crab: Even Gulp Crab .. No Squid, No Clam = No Dogfish.
Be A Half Hour Early - We Like To Leave Early.
Clients Arriving Late Will See The West End Of An East Bound Boat..
Will Open Reservations For Summer Sea Bass When (the really nice people at) NOAA & NMFS (who I never-ever bicker or quarrel with) Have Given Approval To The Council's Sea Bass Plan.
3,768 "Oyster Castle" Reef Blocks By The Rail. (Now 1,000 @ Jimmy's Reef)
Greetings All,
Next thing to a hurricane, what a nasty March blow & blizzard that turned out to be. Went fishing in the calm before the storm though. Weather service nailed that forecast perfectly: NW 20 decreasing mid-morning then falling-out to near calm.
A light rail after a super-short trip notice, it was easily one of my best tog trips ever. I had to declare a "Cease Fire" -- Do Not Drop -- while Mike & I caught up with tagging & counting.
With one fish to go, our last drop resulted in 2 more tags & the last keeper.
Tommy took the pool with a very fine 17 pound fish, a fish that repeatedly took drag--lots of drag..
There it is. Catching tog is fun. Catching big tog is on a different level. That's why we build reef and suffer regulation even where others will not..
Reef block number 1,000 went by the rail on Jimmy's Reef that day. Now to get headed toward 2,000.
Be a different ocean if we'd been dropping these blocks for 30 years instead of just one.
I'm sure we'll leave fishing better than we found it, a lot better. It will become incredibly better still when the fed figures out this simple truth, "More Coral, More Fish."
Calm getting calmer before the storm; all day long I'd been seeing big commercial rigs--trawlers & scallopers--steaming for port, getting out of harm's way.
Its not at all unusual for a Virginia scalloper to venture 700 miles to Georges Bank, they rarely leave the fishing grounds for weather. Everyone was running for safe harbor this day.
But not everyone made it..
Broken-down & under tow, the Seafarer, a NC flounder trawler, was lost in the storm when their tow-line parted. Two men went missing and one was saved by CG helicopter.
The survivor watched the wheelhouse get swept away. That's where the other two were...
Ocean's a safer place than it once was due to weather forecasting & CG safety regulations. It will always & forever be deadly, however, if forced to let your guard down.
Makes me wonder too just how rich the fishing grounds must be for big steel boats to steam for days before ever lowering a dredge. Expenses have to be through the roof, yet it must be very profitable.
Lots and lots of rocky bottom up there on Georges..
Among several reports due Congress at various intervals, there's a new "Fisheries Economics of the United States" out. The second paragraph of the Mid-Atlantic section opens with, and I quote; "Of the stocks or stock complexes covered in these fishery management plans, noneNo (sic) stocks in this region are currently subject to overfishing. Releases of winter flounder increased 331% between 2008 & 2009."
I almost quit reading at that point but pressed on.. (yes, there are still a few winter flounder caught in north Jersey/New York - very few. Hardly worth the space in an opening paragraph I'd think. All Catch & Release data are MRFSS/MRIP's handiwork anyway and therefore highly suspect.
Plus: A population of fish can be absolutely exterminated and "Not Be Overfished" - As with weakfish, there has to be some, any, catching before overfishing can occur.)
Next I noticed the commercial value of sea bass had peaked in 2009 at $4.25 but was only worth $0.50 cents in 2011..
Hmmm.. I bet instead sea bass were still worth a lot in 2011. Betcha there's a really low "PSE" involved. Glad to see recreational catch estimates aren't the only thing getting statistically brutalized..
I had started reading the economics report to see if NOAA would mention the near-collapse of recreational sea bass fishers caused in by-the-book regulatory response to bad statistics..
I soon saw all the recreational statistics were MRFSS/MRIP driven, that a real picture wasn't available with today's data.
Sure is a lot more closed season these days. I know what that does to my own fisheries economics.
If you Google 'Mid-Atlantic Coral Reef,' you'll soon see there's nothing out there for our nearshore waters: Reefs in less than 150 feet of water, 600 feet really, remain unknown.
But that's where 100% of the reef fish are caught.
Until the various governing bodies can establish a real connection between fish habitat & fisheries economics we fishers will suffer whatever illusion the statistical catch estimates concoct.
Those California biologists had artificial reef nailed back in 1961: "Initially, these structures attract fishes from surrounding areas and present a substrate suitable for development of the complex biotic assemblages typical of natural reefs. As these new reefs mature, biological succession occurs and fishes which may have been initially attracted only to the structures are incorporated into the reef community in response to increasingly available food and shelter. Ultimately (in about 5 years) a natural situation is attained and the plant & animal populations exhibit fluctuations typical of reef ecosystems.
From Texas to New York we have managers who were taught in college, "Artificial reefs concentrate fish for harvest."
They think reef building is bad.
Yet they take more & more of our artificial reef's production to claim as their own in "Restoration."
Restoration completely disassociated from habitat..
Restoration driven by ghost-like statistical apparitions.
Fish & Regulation Fall From The Sky By The Odds Of Chance.
We wouldn't even have sea bass or tautog fishing today in the southern Mid-Atlantic without man-made habitat.
Still undiscovered; No one is trying to restore the natural habitat that was lost half a century & more ago, the pre-industrial habitat.
When habitat production can be measured against factual catch we'll swiftly grasp reef building's potential.
Seen dimly, the future is bright.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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