Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fish Report 5/24/16

Fish Report 5/24/16
Cbassing Better Than Last Spring
Some Limits Even!

Have room Thursday, 5/26/16 - regular sea bass trip. Calling west at 10 knots, partly sunny..  

Sailing Daily For Sea Bass Weather Permitting - Saturday's 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 – Otherwise 7 to 3 at $110.00.. 
Lots & lots of room Thursday & Friday coming. Most weekdays & Sundays really. 

Reservations Required at 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..  

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! Crystalized Ginger Works Great Too. It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure.  If You Suffer Mal-de-Mer In A Car You Should Experiment On Shorter Half-Day Trips First! (Wockenfuss Candies sells crystalized ginger locally - We usually have some aboard - Better is Nuts.Com.. Chewable Meclizine is a good pharmaceutical, there's also a "less drowsy" meclizine pill; Scopolamine Patches are the gold standard.)

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Is Fine For A Few People. 
No Galley! BYO Sandwiches & Soft Drinks. A few beers in cans is fine. (bottles break at bad times)

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! 

12,918 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites: Doug Ake's Reef 2,431 - St. Ann's 1,471 - Al Giles Barge 773 - Eagle Scout Reef 780 - Sue's Block Drop 72 - Nichols' Concrete 578 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 48 

Please Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation!
We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. 
Thank You! 
Masters of camouflage, a summer flounder (or 'fluke' for for those north of Cape May) lies in ambush. Probably wouldn't spot it at all save for it's tail.. 
It is a hard-won success in management. At least from a recreational standpoint.. 
Regardless any factual abundance of fish, nor actual levels of safe fishing-extraction; no fishery is safe from bad catch estimates. If NOAA claims we caught more flounder this coming summer than in all the summers since 1981 - managers will shake their heads in disbelief, and close the fishery. 
Don't think so? Go ask a cobia fisherman about it. Fighting hard; Accountability Measures may leave them closed for some while. They have to 'pay back' over-quota landings from last year with future landings, (and the economic life's blood for charter fishers) ..they have to pay back catch that was only 'landed' on a computer screen ..and was never-ever seen on a dock or in a cooler.
Fishery after fishery closed with no right & no possible way to confront the accuser. No one can change a catch estimate, regardless whether anyone, anyone at all, believes it.

Greetings All, 
Have seen more limits of sea bass. One fellow reminded me he'd caught last year's first limit of sea bass on my boat --- in the second week of July!!
This is much better than last year. 
In fact, we limited all but one client on Tuesday's trip. (5/24)
Cbass fishing's OK, but not perfect.  
Oh no. 

OC Reef Foundation mailer went out. Sent it late because I'd just sent an emergency plea back in December. As pres, secretary, and senior advisor to mail room staff, that means I'm up to my eyes in packaging charts, t-shirts, coffee mugs & such for reef donors. Lot of work..

There are studies right now: 
With Rutgers at lead, (I think!) researchers from several regions are trying to model a sea bass stock assessment (population estimate) with hook & line as opposed to trawl. (One of the reasons red snapper are in such turmoil in the Gulf of Mexico is because, even after years of people screaming, and incredible quantities of video showing wonderful snapper populations on man-made reefs where no trawl can go, management's assessments are still created by trawl nets..) I think trawl's worked better for sea bass up here. Seems like population estimates I've looked at are congruent with reality; at least they're not wildly out of proportion like catch estimates. I absolutely support refining the sea bass estimates with reef-specific hook & line sampling. 

Rutgers is also looking at release mortality. 
Really? We're doing that science after making anglers throw them back almost two decades now? 
Personally, I put it to bed a long time ago with the help of Rudy Lukacovic (ret) - before federal regs began even. Then later, maybe 2007 or 2008? 10?, I invited federal & state fisheries personnel aboard to examine sea bass mortality. Fishing even in 125 feet of water, I could not get a fish to float away dead.. If it's hot & calm--if there's no overwash keeping their bellies cool as they drift & reacclimate their gas pressure, they die from overheating. In this instance venting does a fine job. Numerous times I've been about to vent a sea bass & have seen an old venting scar.. Release excess gas, they swim right down. Not hard to master; it works when needed. 
Venting is something we have to do a few times a season. 
A four hour boat would not have to vent sea bass in the Mid-Atlantic - too shallow to cause barotrauma worries.

There's a nation-wide artificial reef conference coming up; a true brain-trust of US reef building.. I'm just a hack compared to these guys. They know how to make fish - will NOAA listen? 
You can quote me on this: "Reef restorations make fishery restorations possible."
If NOAA takes a mind to turn the ocean blue & fill it with fish, they'll need to master reef building..

Weather broke. Calm & warm a while. Another nor-easter next week..

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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