Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fish Report 4/9/13

Fish Report 4/9/13
Couple Long Tog Trips
Sea Bass May 19th..
Dredging's Done. Boat's Back In Her Slip At The Ocean City Fishing Center..
Have Room For A Few More On Wednesday's 9 Hour Tog Trip..
Long Tog Trips Saturday & Sunday - Cbass Remain Closed - 5:30 AM to 4:30 PM - $150.00 - Fourteen Passengers Sells Out - When Togging It's Always Possible Even Very Good Anglers Could Be Skunked - Water's Warming, More Throwbacks..
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 The Tog Fishery)
All Regulations Observed - 4 Fish @ 16 Inches.
Green Crabs Provided. You're welcome to bring any hard bait or shrimp: 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..
I have opened my reservation book to sea bass reservations..
NMFS Will Probably NOT announce our sea bass season until a few days before the season Starts May 19th. Ticket Prices For Sundays & Weekdays In 2013 are $110.00 - Saturdays $125.00.
Opening Day, Sunday, May 19th & Monday the 20th, however, will be Long Sea Bass Trips 6AM to 3:30PM - $125.00.. Ditto Friday & Saturday, May 24th & 25th.
Pre-regulation announcement sales will be transferable--BUT NOT REFUNDABLE.
I have every reason to believe May 19th will be correct. Unfortunately, these are dark times in Federal Fisheries Management.
The law governing all of fisheries management, the Magnuson Act, is just beginning to be re-written; its currently being discussed by our representatives. I hope many will follow-along with my fish reports and write letters to DC.
We can & must influence the conversation. We Have To Re-Insert Common Sense Into Management's Tool Kit.
4,104 "oyster castle" reef blocks by the rail - 1,168 at Jimmy's Reef.
Greetings All,
Had a great reef deployment Sunday. Took 120 blocks and 24 eight-foot concrete fence rails to Doug Ake's Reef about 4 miles SE from OC inlet.
We stitched the blocks & rails together for greater height and resistance to scour.
Dan was our only volunteer. Dern lucky to have him with such short notice. Having a fourth man made the work possible..
Had a fellow drive down from Long Island Monday. Loaded up a bunch of reef blocks and went fishing. Tagged 30 - Client took a limit - crew took a couple for dinner..
Tuesday the bite seemed better still. Tagged about 40..
Nice fishing.
I've been trying to point science toward our corals for almost 15 years now. Hard to get them interested.
One beautiful patch of remnant whip bottom at the Bass Grounds is just a couple hundred square feet..
Have mountains of data showing oyster loss -- the fishery, the commerce; the physical structures we call "reef" and all their biological services -- Kaput.
All Gone.
But all recorded.
Our corals aren't even recognized to exist yet, let alone have been lost.
Despite having wasted a century fooling-around with shell as an artificial reef substrate, I believe as soon as we're focused on man-made artificial substrates with lots of vertical surface we'll see huge gains in oyster restoration.
Have a fair bit of artificial reef funding for the Chesapeake right now & think its about to double. I hope to see a reef built in MD's lower Chesapeake where we put the whole reef--including the reef's interior--to work: not just the veneer as in a shell-pile. Bundle concrete pipe pyramids together and layer boulder overtop.. Sheepshead & tautog will flourish amidst the oysters.
No matter how good our vital air & water pollution controls, buffer zones, impervious surface improvements & storm water management; Without the region's natural estuarine biofilter--Oyster Reef, the ocean will continue to grow greener..
My point here is this: No one -- nobody -- is looking at remnant natural oyster reef saying, "not very big. Must not be very important."
That's because everyone knows the story of oyster reef loss.
But our greening ocean is NOT documented. Our corals remain a fuzzy bit of fish-talk, not science.
"Patch Reefs."
Not very big.
Small isn't important.
Had a retired airline pilot stop by the boat in 2003 or so. Said he's flown an east coast route to Florida for 30 years. Told me when he started the ocean was blue to his left and green to his right flying south. Time he retired it was green all the way to the horizon..
Last year I had green water in the Baltimore Canyon 60 miles out one day. When I was in my late teens/early twenties guys were complaining about green water 20 miles out at the Jackspot..
From 1950 to 1959 commercial fishers caught more sea bass than in every decade since combined.
I bet right then - while those sea bass were being trawled up in the 1950s - I bet we suffered 60% or more of our natural-reef bottom loss from gear damage..
Scientists ALWAYS dismiss these corals as "just small patches.."
Well, Yes. That's because all I can show them what's left.. They have to try and understand what a huge difference there is between the electronics of today & the lack of electronics then. Used to be a skipper could take clients to a reef measured in square miles with just a compass and depth sounder. Now sometimes those hundred square foot drops look enticing..
I've seen AWESOME sea bass fishing in my life. 2003, the 6th year of official cbass management, was incredible. Yet I can scarcely imagine what they had in 1950 ..I'm positive we're a long way from it.
The food web disruption must be enormous.
These habitats necessary for fish to feed, shelter, grow to maturity & spawn - these "small patches" of Essential Fish Habitat sure could use a scientific look without 'too small' resentment.
Fishing's history reveals necessities of fisheries restoration.
Sometimes they're small; you'd need GPS and good bearings to find habitat clues.
Sometimes they're an awful lot bigger than Texas ..but you can't be color blind.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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