Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fish Report 3/23/16

Fish Report 3/23/16 
Opening May Sea Bass
..and 1 Tog Trip
Finding Bites In Pockets 
Comment to the NAS

Opening May 15th Through May 31st For Sea Bass. I do not anticipate easy bag limits. Last year's opener, in fact, was some of the worst sea bass fishing I've ever seen. But last fall was consistently good! What do you do.. We'll be allowed 15 sea bass at 12.5 inches. Call to reserve. The worst thing you can do is involve me w/your reservation.. I fish for a living, they do reservations for a living! 

All Winter Trips Posted Via Email. There's just no use trying to go everyday in winter.. (that includes March, April, and early May.) 

Going Toggin: It's STILL a COLD WATER BITE! Getting a lot more bites & throwbacks, though--tagging more. Some anglers will likely do OK - not everyone. 
Saturday, March 26th - 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 - 12 Sells Out - Tog Only, Sea Bass Closed.

Reservations Required - See Below. Be a half hour early! We always leave early! 

Skunks are always possible while tog fishing. 
Really. It's a frequent occurrence, even with a good bite. Not an easy fishery; the very best toggers sometimes get their head handed to them despite folks all around having done well. 
Then too, sometimes the whole boat can do very poorly. 
If you can't take the heat, and there ain't much of that either, stay out of the kitchen. 

Water's Getting Warmer In Pockets. Storms Have Flipped Temps Upside Down & Backward. An Odd Winter For Sure..

Crew Have White Crabs For Sale AT THE DOCK for the low, low price of just $5.00 per generous dozen. There Is No Guarantee We'll Have Whites For Any Trip. Sometimes they all die. That shrinkage is why I prefer greens. We may be bringing some whites with us in the ocean. Green Crabs (not Whites!) Remain Provided As Boat Bait And Are Included In All Fares.   

Going Toggin Anyway! Tog Only, Sea Bass Are Closed Because NOAA Has Accepted Poor Statistical Catch Estimates As If They Represented 'Certain Knowledge' For Decades. NOAA Has No Idea How Best To Manage The Sea Bass Fishery. (yet) 
No Live Tog Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live Tog Black Market Has Hurt This Fishery ..But Nowhere Near As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulations)
Agreed With Or Not, All Regulations Observed – Maryland: 4 Tog @ 16 Inches 

If You Won't Measure & Count Your Fish, The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions! 

Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - On My Rig You Can Reserve What Spot You're In. Please See For How The Rail's Laid Out..
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..  

Be a half hour early! We always leave early! 
..except when someone shows up right on time. 
Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east bound boat. With a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you over-slept or had a flat..

Dramamine Is Cheap Insurance! (Meclizine's Better!) Crystalized Ginger Works Great Too. It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure.  
Honestly - If you get to go on the ocean once month, once a year, or even less; why risk chumming all day? Similarly, if you howl at the moon all night, chances are good you'll howl into a bucket all day.  

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For A Few People. Do Not Bring A Very Large Cooler. We DO have a few loaners - you'll still need ice. 
No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.   

12,701 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites. Active presently are Doug Ake's Reef with 2,406 - St. Ann's 1,459 - Al Giles Barge 677 - Eagle Scout Reef 756 - Sue's Drifting Easy Reef 147 - Nichols' Concrete 578 - Upside Down Tank 132 

Please Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation!
We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. 
Thank You! 
A tiny sea bass of less than 4 inches finds a place to hide at an artificial reef 12 miles SE Ocean City, MD. 
No Mid-Atlantic management plan contains language concerning marine reef. 

We used these boulders on a reef above the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. 
How hard can it "scientifically" be? If we put barges & barges of boulder offshore, we could increase the amount of coral habitat by any percentage we desire. Want more lobster & blueline tile? Build far offshore. 
Want more tautog & fluke? Hmmm..
Could even turn the ocean blue again by re-reefing Mid-Atlantic bays.

Greetings All, 
Slipped off the beach a touch Tuesday. Not quite a sold-out rail; did sell both corners & one other spot. 
Those three clients caught about 25 tog. We tagged nearly all of them. 
Where I expected the bite to be best, it was too cold. Moved 2 miles and it was warmer. Chasing pockets of warmer water remains the only viable game plan. 
Looks like Saturday will be a nice day. Hope to get a few sponsors. Fishing's a lot easier than it was just a few weeks ago.. 

I've been promising an email address for readers to comment on the National Academy of Science's (NAS) review of MRIP. 
Have that email now. Address & comment rules are below my signature. ANYTHING YOU SEND will be open to the public - anything. 

The single worst aspect of modern fisheries management is NOAA's demand their recreational catch estimates be treated as though they were accurate. 
Our recent repair, first mandated by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006; a repair to MuRFSS that would become MRIP in 2012 -- has been an abject failure. 
From the very first data sets it was obvious "New & Improved" would be worse than ever. 

Quickly: MuRFSS had NJ shore anglers catching 72,000 tautog. I was using this exact estimate to prove just how bad the old estimating system was, the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey. (we say MuRFSS, they say MRFiSS) There is no possible way on earth those guys caught 72,00 tautog.

Here's exactly what I told upper management in an email on Feb 2, 2012 when MRIP's first estimates came out: 
Species: TAUTOG - NJ - Shore Fishing Only
 - March & April Only - All Years From 2004 to 2011
 (omitted years are zero) Ignore PSE, No One Can Use It
YearNew MRIP -- -- Old MuRFSSPSE
2005 0 -- -- 00
20095,001 -- -- 6,835100
2010173,092 -- -- 71,75670.2
This new MRIP estimate represents 50,000 --FIFTY THOUSAND-- More Tautog Than All the Party/Charter catch --in every state-- during any year from 2003 fwd. 
This new & improved estimate of March and April NJ Shore fishing is almost exactly 100,000 fish higher than 2010 party/charter for the whole coast--for the whole year.

Now I know it's actually higher than all Party/Charter AND Commercial catch for 2010. That's exactly the quality of MRIP's repair -- guys fishing on upside-down buckets from New Jersey's jetties this time of year caught more tautog (while they weren't biting) than all Party/Charter & Commercial effort caught all year. 


I call that estimate a "spike." They're all over the place in our catch estimates & for every species. From red snapper to cod, and sea bass to cobia: MuRFSS/MRIP spikes are destroying recreational fisheries. 
I've been fighting their use since 1998. 
NOAA insists on MRIP estimates' though. No matter how putrid, they insist it's really the "best available scientific information"..

I think a very simple repair could be fashioned from data surrendered daily by party/charter fishers - a creation of "Stops" by using VTRs. I've gone over it in depth many times. A good, hard look at estimates is found in one of my old Fish Reports, from 3/16/14.. where I discuss "Percentage of the Fishery"..

MRIP believes incredibly many more people go fishing from private boats than use for-hire. They believe those anglers are also much more successful. MRIP also believes lots & lots & lots of pirates exist in the private boat fishery that ARE NOT registering. 
This is the ghost fleet that continues to outfish all Party/Charter so severely, and sometimes even outfish all Commercial effort too. 

We need something to stop this lunacy. NOAA has maintained its insistence on using the estimates matter who doesn't believe them. 
But I think NOAA is also one of the requesting parties for a NAS review. 

It's not going to happen fast. 
In order change might come at all, and because hope is not a plan, I urge you to write.

This from a National Academy of Sciences email on 3/21/16..

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee will assess progress in updating marine recreational fisheries data collection through the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) referencing the recommendations in the 2006 NRC report Review of Recreational Fisheries Survey Methods. Based on this assessment, the committee will identify potential areas for improvements or changes of direction that would substantially increase data quality for fisheries management, taking into consideration potential loss of information from disruption of the time series. The committee’s report will: 

Describe the approach and effectiveness of steps taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to improve the quality and accuracy of marine recreational fisheries catch, effort, and participation statistics (in response to NRC 2006), including, but not limited to:  

a.     Establishing registries of anglers and for-hire vessels and using the registries appropriately as sample frames for recreational catch and effort surveys;

b.     Improving the effectiveness and appropriateness of sampling and estimation procedures, applicability to various kinds of management decisions, and usefulness for social and economic analyses; and 

c.     Providing for ongoing technical evaluation and modification, as needed to meet emerging management needs and changes in communication technologies (e.g. smart phone apps, internet-based social networking). 

2.     Assess the strength of the scientific process, including the engagement of external scientific and technical expertise, used by NMFS in developing, testing, reviewing, and certifying new sampling and estimation procedures.   
Evaluate the communication of information on survey method development, survey method descriptions, and survey results to stakeholders and application of stakeholder input in the design and implementation of new sampling and estimation procedures. Stakeholders include at least three distinct sub-groups (with some overlap among them):  
Data collection partners, such as the Atlantic Coast Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) and the Fishery Information Networks (FINs);  
Data customers (parties that use NMFS data for stock assessments, management actions, and social and economic studies);  
Entities affected by the estimates (anglers and recreational fishing businesses, commercial fisheries, non-consumptive users, etc.);   
Determine if the degree of coordination among federal, state, and territorial survey programs is sufficient to provide a clear, national perspective on marine recreational fisheries; and  

5.     Evaluate plans for maintaining continuity of data series to minimize disruption of management programs and stock assessments. This will include evaluation of the strategy for moving from the phone based survey to a mail and web-based survey as a means to estimate fishing effort. 


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