Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fish Report 3/18/17

Fish Report 3/18/17
More Tog Fishing & One Mackerel Trip
Spring Sea Bass Reservations 
Reef Dinner Donations 

Tog Trips: 
Tuesday, March 21st - 5:30AM to 5:30PM - $150.00 - If You Do NOT Like Long Boat Rides, This Ain't Your Day.. 16 Sells Out. 
Thursday, March 23rd - 7AM to 3PM - $110.00 - 12 Sells Out
Friday, March 24th -  7AM to 3PM - $110.00 - 12 Sells Out 

Monday, March 20th - 8AM to 2PM - $60.00 - 12 Sells Out - Water Temp's Still Plenty Right.. (Story Below)

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..   

The reservation book for sea bass opens Tuesday, March 21st at 9AM .. Only taking reservations for opening day May 15th, to May 31st. (Go ahead and irritate Dianne or Deb by trying to reserve early, before March 21st, you'll bring new meaning to "Back of the Line.")  
We are, so far as I can see, still at 15 sea bass at 12.5 inches. (NOAA's latest population assessment shows sea bass at 2.5 times their "fully rebuilt" value. But NOAA says regulations must remain as rigid as they were since Kurkul's Klosure in 2009, an emergency closure that damn-near broke me based on what else? ..recreational catch estimates. 
Something as simple as REEF ECOLOGY or Reproductive Biology can't get a foot in the door because managers are forever arguing over what catch estimates REALLY mean to regulation. 
This stuff is supposed to be in the body of the letter..) 

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. Reservation staff hardly know what species we're after, let alone whether there will be a certain kind of bait.   

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..

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. 

16,895 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites: TNC's Restoration Reef 278 - Doug Ake's Reef 3,163 - St. Ann's 1,585 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,185 - Eagle Scout Reef 904 - Sue's Block Drop 247 - Nichols' Concrete 837 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 663 - Benelli Reef 341 - Capt. Bob's Reef 393 - Wolf & Daughters Reef 210 ..

Twenty Three Pallets of Block Were Recently Donated by DelMarVa Power - 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 (OCRF) 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! 

On Facebook now too (A little. Sometimes.) Morning Star Fishing & OCRF

Great Scott! 
Been some bad weather. Of the four Mackerel trips I advertised last - we got two. The first of those trips we caught, even old-timey caught for a while, with 3s & 4s coming over the rail for 25 minutes or so. One wise guy had to come down off the bridge and show these youngsters how to catch 5 at a time. 
Gary the Ump with a 4 pack.. Been a couple decades.

Fishing from a shoal of fish (in the British tradition) probably 60+ miles long & 20 miles wide - in patches; when I posted pictures on FaceBook, one sagacious reader saw through our guise of recreational pleasure & personal cooking to compare our catching with Omega Protein's menhaden extraction with purse seines. 
To him it's perfectly obvious -- it wasn't 9 weeks of incredible trawl effort; where US trawlers selling to foreign factory processors in 1990 drove the southern spawning stock of Atlantic mackerel into localized extinction; no, it's really recreational fishing....

Next day, March 10th, another pretty one but with a south wind -- same marks on the fish finders -- conditions seemed fine -- dern near a goose egg. 
Then it started to blow. A long gale.. 

Did a reef trip March 17th after the winter tempest. Man, that was a lot of wind. 
With wave heights nearing 20 feet & maybe better, I thought it best to let our tog settle a bit more before trying them. In that first calm we loaded 278 reef blocks donated by DelMarVa Power and struck a course for an area we intend to build-out with boulder in an upcoming project. 
A big project..

Saw what I'm certain were mackerel/herring on this reef trip--on the sounders. Will try them again Monday, March 20th before a string of tog trips. 
Here a 15 block unit starts to go by the rail..
Makes a big hole in the water
With these units (& a we'll do more) we're testing the bottom 9 miles off for stability for a far-larger project. Pictured are Dan Iacangelo, Wes Pollitt, & Nick Denny. Aslo working that day was Chincoteague Dave & Two-Drop Terry. (well, Two-Drop if you define 'work' very loosely, & myself if looser still..)

There's a lot going on with reef building. I could easily do it full time. Have selected a date and location for our spring reef dinner. Have side-scan sonar surveying completed for the 2017 Reef Charts. They'll be incredibly more accurate inshore. Volunteers, including me (and now you; yes, you reader!) we are all hunting (aren't we now, dear reader?) for donated items to auction/raffle at this year's early May event. These do not have to be fishing related! 
In fact, the very first item donated for this year's dinner was a set of hair & skin care products. You might imagine my excitement, right? But I tell you, you'd be wrong. Some gal is going to bid on 'em & we're going to turn that money into coral. That coral's going to produce fish far into the future.. 
The second donation was a Yeti cup that Baldy had cerakoted with the OCRF logo. He did one last year too & the bidding went nuts. 
Speaking of cerakote, we'll also have a year-long Reef Raffle featuring a Benelli Super Black Eagle II, 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, 12ga 28" in Black Cerakote. That drawing will be after Thanksgiving, as ever, with tickets available from whoever will sell them. Getting charts and raffle tickets printed soon.
Just now St. Croix's rod rep for our region, Getty Browning, donated a nice stick for the auction.
Announce Reef Dinner date & location on FaceBook and via OCRF email shortly..
Yup, it's starting to pop. 

I'm still working on the MRIP numbers & "percentage of the fishery" thesis. You see, MRIP folks think -- and actually told me this in a meeting -- they think Private Boats catch a heck of a lot more fish than Party/Charter For-Hire because they're so many more Private Boats. 
It is true that some fellows who have their own boat are deadly. If everyone who owned a boat caught at their skill level the ocean would be drained of fish. 
Ain't how it is though. 
What is true is that among the vast number of people who like to fish, most do not own a boat suitable for saltwater.
Those folks have to fish with me & my ilk - very few are fortunate enough to know Jimmy Sharpshooter above.. 

It was in 2003 that NOAA decided to lay more, and more, and more-still catch on Private Boats. I've often wondered why no one would fight such inane assertions. Did they up Private Boats because no one can ever prove or disprove it? Was it on purpose? You can sop up a LOT of recreational quota with make-believe catch.. And have. A lot. 

The more guys I talk to in my trade, fellows who pay attention, the more I think my percentage-test has value. If recreational professionals think Sept/Oct sea bass split is 60-40 favoring For-Hire and MRIP says Private Boats caught 10X more than us --- NOAA, There's a problem.

Next fish report. 
Won't be a lot of readers. 
But it might be important. 


Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

Blog Archive