Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fish Report 2/16/17

Fish Report 2/16/17 
Real Pretty Weather Coming 
On Catch Data
..and 22 pound sea bass

On Facebook now too (a little..) Morning Star Fishing

If you know anyone with pallets of unsalable block, I know a toggy place or two we can store them. Forever. Will pay for trucking. 

Folks - This is WINTER tog fishing. A trip can go south fast. Tog DO NOT always bite! 
Looks like a pretty week ahead. We'll see what we can make of it. 
Monday - Feb 20th - 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 - 14 Sells Out 
Tuesday - Feb 21st - 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 - 10 Sells Out (have guests also ..and No, it isn't the Victoria Secrets suntan team..) 
Wednesday & Thursday - Feb 22nd & 23rd - 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 - 

My crew MIGHT have white crabs, usually do. The boat provides green crabs. Reservation staff hardly know what species we're after, let alone whether there will be a certain kind of bait. 

Sea Bass Are Closed. I sincerely hope this will be the last year of that nonsense. 

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..

My Crew Have (usually 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.   

Skunks are always possible while tog fishing. 
Really. It's a frequent occurrence. Sometimes even the very best toggers 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. 

Going Toggin Anyway! Tog Only, Sea Bass Are Closed Because NOAA Has Absolutely No Real Idea (but learning) How Best To Manage The Fishery. 
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! 

It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure. Bonine seems best because it's non-drowsy. Truly cheap & effective insurance. 
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.   

In winter waterproof boots are almost a necessity. (and great socks! like over the calf smart wool .) While some rarely, or never, wear gloves for fishing, you'd not likely see me fishing this time of year w/o at least the half-finger wool gloves. 
Layers are best because, believe it or not, sometimes it can be very pleasant offshore--especially when the wind lays down. In winter it's warmer offshore owing to warmer waters. In summer it's cooler..

16,311 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites: Doug Ake's Reef 3,145 - St. Ann's 1,555 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,155 - Eagle Scout Reef 904 - Sue's Block Drop 214 - Nichols' Concrete 822 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 663 - Benelli Reef 341 - Capt. Bob's Reef 208 - Wolf & Daughters Reef 230 ..
Blocks Provided By Potomac Valley Brick - Thank You!
Blocks are a small part of what we're doing. Prefer bargeloads of substrate but believe any forward motion is good..

Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation! (lots of reef pics here..) The OC Reef Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit with no payroll & no rented office space -- We Build Reef. Also registered w/Amazon Smile. We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. Thank You! 
If you know anyone with pallets of unsalable block, I know a toggy place or two we can store them. Forever. Will pay for trucking. 

Greetings All, 
My last trip a week ago was brutally slow.  Bites scarce; the weather service then posted a narrow gale warning for the Ocean City area only. Can't second guess that stuff. I hightailed it back inshore. After we came though a mild rain it turned positively beautiful. Winds calm, sun out: where's the gale?
Gave clients a healthy discount on the day.. Like the old adage says: Go broke if you listen to the weather, die if you don't. 
We also did two reef trips; these low-budget block trips where we take out about 6 tons of cement blocks. Ran our tally up. Crossed 16,000 and added more still. Built some fine reef. Big projects are coming - real big. Meanwhile these small, inexpensive projects add up.  

OC Boat Show this weekend. I'll work the OC Reef Foundation booth Friday & evenings. Have courageous volunteers to fill in while me and the boys are making a living. Too calm to bag it. We fish to eat..
Looks like a real fine stretch of weather coming. Go tog fishing a while. Then it looks like it'll turn NE and blow for the following weekend. Looks like..

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has an enormous increase in the 'stock assessment' for sea bass. The population from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras is thought at all time highs for the recorded era. (wouldn't put it anywhere remotely close to the population in, say, 1950, but that's another hurdle for restoration science to recognize then clear.) "Best Available Science" has sea bass at nearly 2.5X their intended target. 
I'm still fuzzy on the details, but I think NOAA just took most of those sea bass to feed their computers. I will have a detailed report soon. Not looking like much in the way of increased quota.. I had high hopes we might get January & February back and even be able to lower the size limit. The winter fishery remains a possibility for 2018, but shrinking the size limit to enliven spawning production in smaller cbass remains a tractionless idea of mine..
We had a great spawn of sea bass last spring & summer - best in a long time. As they grow into our size limit, MRIP catch estimates will do what they always do -- elevate catch into the stratosphere. When catches are low, official recreational estimates undershoot astoundingly. When catches increase, MRIP paints a landings picture far beyond what is remotely possible for the number of boats we see on the water. 
That's always how it is. 
Pretty soon accusations of overfishing will affect our cbass seasons again. I'm thinking summer of 2018 we'll pop - in 2019 the ax will fall..
Not sure how much more regulation we can weather. 
For now - stability. A while more anyway. 
It's as if in a boat taking on water at a fast clip, but the bilge pumps are keeping up. If any pump fails, if we get a single spike in MRIP catch estimates in the southern zone  ..blub, blub, blub. 

Ain't new. 
As much as I'd like NOAA/NMFS to realize: HEY .GUV!! We Have Important Nearshore Coral Reef Fish Habitat Here! Maybe the only way to get them interested is to get MRIP either gone or tightened up to where realistic estimates are the norm. That will require electronic reporting from everyone.. 
Not that high a hurdle; at least I don't think so. 
Couple flat-phone programs out in the wild already. 
MRIP just updated to a snail-mail survey. Yup. Really. 

I'm working on another MRIP project. Funny, my assertion that MD Party Boats only had 56 sea bass in 2015 was chided as "Fake News" (if you will) by mid-management. But I had saved the original tables.. 
What I used to chide management was the exact rubbish they'd been fed at the exact time those tables were being used in management. Almost a year later the estimates were changed to show what we had reported on our daily catch forms - or closer anyway. 

Now I'm working on a comparison of For-Hire vs Private boat catch & a species ratio. Where, for instance, I'm told NY LIS partyboats catch about 30 scup per each sea bass---yet MRIP has it at quite nearly 1 to 1, there might be a problem. 

But First! 
Caught any 22.4 pound scup lately? That was the AVERAGE SIZE of For-Hire NY scup in 2014.. 
How about 20.9 pound sea bass? Yup.. 

Houston! Hello Houston?? Can you hear us? Hello?? 
We've had the exact same problem since 1997.. And these weights are from the REPAIR - this is from MRIP. 

Folks suddenly seem pretty tired of incorrect info being used to form governance. 
They have no idea..
What a mess. 

Needs fixing. Electronic reporting would bring the worst hijacking of our fisheries to a halt. 


The last column in each of these my calculation.. (BSB = black sea bass)

CT BSB All For-Hire
Estimate StatusYearWaveCommon NameTotal Harvest (A+B1)
(# of fish)
PSEHarvest (A+B1) Total Weight (lb)PSEAverage Weight of 
each fish in pounds
FINAL2014JULY/AUGUST BLACK SEA BASS7,78247.796,59371.412.41
FINAL2015JULY/AUGUST BLACK SEA BASS8,65434.341,60452.14.8

CT All For-Hire Scup
Estimate StatusYearWaveCommon NameTotal Harvest (A+B1)
(# of Fish)
PSEHarvest (A+B1) Total Weight (lb)PSEAverage Weight of 
each fish in pounds
FINAL2014JULY/AUGUST SCUP3,37165.29,82446.22.91
FINAL2015JULY/AUGUST SCUP9,36930.815,207391.62
PRELIMINARY2016JULY/AUGUST SCUP85,39989.290,84589.61.06
NY BSB All For-Hire
Estimate StatusYearWaveCommon NameTotal Harvest (A+B1)
(# of fish)
PSEHarvest (A+B1) Total Weight (lb)PSEAverage Weight of 
each fish in pounds
FINAL2014JULY/AUGUST BLACK SEA BASS9,48741.4101,29046.310.67 
FINAL2015JULY/AUGUST BLACK SEA BASS29,30836.3614,16547.320.95

NY All For-Hire Scup
Estimate StatusYearWaveCommon NameTotal Harvest (A+B1)
(# of fish)
PSEHarvest (A+B1) Total Weight (lb)PSEAverage Weight 
apiece in pounds
FINAL2014JULY/AUGUST SCUP13,98957.7314,28762.622.4 
FINAL2015JULY/AUGUST SCUP17,06744.7113,15066.96.62
PRELIMINARY2016JULY/AUGUST SCUP73,42035.563,65632.30.87

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