Fish Report 12/02/16
Nice When It Happens
Chimney Blocks Baby!
A Fish Eat Fish World
Wind's laying down. Opening The Reservation Book Up For Sunday/Monday, December 4th & 5th, to Long Sea Bass Trips - 6:30AM to 3:30PM - $125.00..
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! (Meclizine's Better! Clients like "Bonine" brand best..) 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 that a lot of clients like, especially Bonine; Scopolamine Patches are the gold standard. Stay away from 'ginger pills.'
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 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!
14,527 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites: Doug Ake's Reef 2,515 - St. Ann's 1,555 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,065 - Eagle Scout Reef 904 - Sue's Block Drop 184 - Nichols' Concrete 726 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 156 - Benelli Reef 341
Blocks Provided By Potomac Valley Brick - Thank You!
Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation! http://www.ocreefs.org (lots of reef pics here..) We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. Thank You!
Just had the one trip, Monday's trip. Turned out to be the best bite all year. Done in an hour & twenty minutes. Even the mate had a limit.. Nice when it happens.
Some pretty fish too. One must have pushed past five pounds.
That's radically different than what we've been seeing. Been a lot of weeding. Culling through 11 & 12.25 inch cbass for the legal ones. Get the job done, just not as swiftly.
We have a new load of reef blocks coming today. These are 'chimney blocks' & make perfect mini-reef units. We load 3 across on our launch board, then strap them together. 16 x 16 outside with a 12 inch square open center - every 3 block unit makes a fine tog condo.. (look like this..) http://www.stockerconcrete.com/Misc/chimney%20block%209x9.JPG
But we have to buy these. Usually we get pallets of unsalable block; miscolored or what have you. We pay for the trucking - but the block is free. If you know of palletized & truckable unsold block, shoot me an email. We're all about making room in someone's store yard; turning unsold concrete block into fish & coral offshore..
NOAA doesn't get it. Not yet. More than size limits, more than seasons - any regulation: Building Reef Makes Better Fishing.
Doing this 37 years now, the fishing - I'm sure.
When we fine-tune regulation to each species' biology---AND build a lot of reef. Or, more accurately, restore a lot of reef lost a half-century ago; I'm confident we can absolutely make some species more abundant than ever.
I truly believe that.
Then: get oysters right in our big bays & we can pull the bluewater pelagics back inshore too. Get rid of all the can't & we'll get rid of the green. Lots of folks think we "can't" restore oysters; have given up. Blue water in the 1930s & 40s was just a few miles out - so were marlin. Now the ocean water's green and the marlin ain't - they're offshore 60 miles where the water's still mostly blue. Ergo: Get rid of all the can't & we'll get rid of the green.
A while back NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service - used to be Bureau of Commercial Fisheries) ..NMFS sent a questionnaire about sea bass feeding behaviors and use of habitat. I thought it a bit of a "push poll," where respondents are lead to the answers poll takers want; but, in hindsight, probably not. It was genuinely a step forward.
They asked "Are adult sea bass preying on juvenile black sea bass?" .. "Are other large fish eating a lot of adult black sea bass?" ..and, "Do you see black sea bass away from wreck, reefs, piers & other structured habitat?"
Gave 'em an essay in response, as you might imagine. Now I have to put together another short piece showing large cbass eating smalls like we're seeing this year -- ain't normal. Been taking pictures.
It's something I watch for - almost always. What are fish eating? Though I have rarely, but sometimes, seen sea bass preying on small sea bass - cannibalistic feeding - we're seeing it late this fall aplenty. Feeding on good sized smalls too.
I've made numerous comments on how we'd had excellent sea bass production this summer. Seems the smalls are having a time of it offshore - predation. That's always true with the bluefish for a while each fall. Now with their own kind.. I am 100% positive cannibalism is UP in cbass.
Fact: There are more small sea bass. Production is up.
Fact: This time of year some bluefish are atop reefs & have always been to my knowledge. Not ALL blues, but quite numerous - far more than other times of the year. And they're NOT atop every reef. They can force a party boat to move, however. I've had instances aboard a 90 foot party boat with a loaded rail when blues would make me leave. Clients who were keeping bluefish had all they wanted & you could not reel in a keeper sea bass. (Yes, blues select for size. Reel up a dozen small sea bass; no worries. Reel in a keeper? CHOMP.)
So why the increase in cannibalism? Sea bass often feed up in the water column in summer, just idle along in the current taking plankton, krill, & whatnot as it drifts by. Yes, we often see crabs in their bellies, but crabs--especially hardshell rock crabs--take forever to digest. So, for this argument, we could see where sea bass's normal suspension feeding would be halted in late fall because bluefish would instantly seize upon the opportunity to feed. It would NOT be safe for sea bass to leave the inner confines of a robust reef habitat.
With 'normal' feeding impossible, they have to eat their little cousins or starve.
What we see are the tails; that's what we can identify. A partially digested body, but a sea bass tail. I do not think it a major impact on population - but there I go thinking again..
It's absolutely amazing what a fish can eat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTH2BUtQ6eE
It's a brutal world out there (and in this guy's aquarium..)
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD