Monday, April 03, 2017

Fish Report 4/3/17

Fish Report 4/3/17 
A Sign of Spring 
Reef Dinner 
Big Meeting 
As I Was Researching

Going Inshore Toggin: 
Wednesday, April 5th - 7 to 3 - $110 - 12 Sells Out..
Sunday, April 9th - 6:30 to 3:30 - $110.00 - 14 Sells Out
Monday, April 10th - 7 to 3 - $110 - 12 Sells Out..

Ocean City Reef Foundation Reef Dinner - SEACRETS - May 7th - 4 to 8 - $20 at the door.. See below my signature for full release. 

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 season is open. Taking reservations for opening day May 15th to May 31st. 

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. 

16,998 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites: TNC's Restoration Reef 278 - Doug Ake's Reef 3,193 - St. Ann's 1,585 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,200 - Eagle Scout Reef 934 - Sue's Block Drop 247 - Nichols' Concrete 852 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 676 - 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! 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

Greetings All, 
Had a bit of a spring bite on Sunday's trip. Out of 4 trips announced - it was the only one we got in. The bite was much more energetic than it has been all winter. That does NOT mean everyone's loading up on limits of tog - oh no. But they are starting to chew inshore. 

Went to a meeting up in Manasquan, NJ on Monday. Some pretty country up that way. 
Whole lotta upset over coming summer flounder regs. Bad catch estimates making regulation worse than need be - as usual.
It's much worse for sea bass. Fish are considered 250% rebuilt. That's crazy far above target. But because Private Boats overfished the coastwide recreational quota, (again,) we not only won't see a loosening of regulation without a heck of a fight, but may instead see a a tightening.. 

Most of the overage is in Private Boat fishers in New York. In 2016 they're said (by official "best available scientific information" MRIP catch estimates) to have caught 1,846,000 pounds of sea bass. Not all US Private Boats from Texas to Maine - just New York. 
NY's private boats therefore outcaught commercial fishers from North Carolina to Maine by 234,000 pounds. Trawlers? Trappers? Why worry! Why do we become concerned when hear of 20 to 50 thousand pounds in one tow by a trawler? It's obvious, from NOAA's "best" data at least, that small private boats are the real problem..

Well, I beat up on the data best I could. Nearly everyone there did. I asked several times how NOAA might avoid using this "Best Available Scientific Information" when no one in the room believes it. 
Seriously - it used to be that NO ONE argued recreational catch data. Now there's open revolt from managers.
Buuuut... You can check MRIP's press releases. They're doing an awesome job. 
There are times - and this coming sea bass decision is perhaps foremost among them, that not a single manager in a room slam-full believes the catch data NOAA is about to force them to use. 

The only "out" I see is using PSE. 
Percentage Standard Error (what PSE stands for if I recall correctly) is very similar to "margin of error" in a political poll. 

Massachusetts Private Boat Estimate - During 2011, a 20 fish limit. In 2012, a 10 fish limit. Note PSEs I calculated back then.. 
Estimate StatusYearWaveCommon Name
Weight (lb)
PSE{PSE Spread}
FINAL2011MAY/JUNEBLACK SEA BASS124,30945.40 {10,000 to 220,000}
PRELIMINARY2012MAY/JUNEBLACK SEA BASS585,44533.20 {180,000 to 980,000}

PSE does NOT necessarily come anywhere near the true catch. But it is the full and complete statistical answer to, "How many fish did them boys catch?" Statisticians insist the 'centerpoint' is only a convenience..
NY Private Boats All Year
Estimate StatusYearCommon NameHarvest (A+B1) Total Weight (lb)PSE
Here this PSE is a very tight 20.5.. That's like hitting a bullseye with a 9mm pistol at 400 yards.. Doable... 
Derned unlikely. (Unless you're Jerry Miculek.. )

As I'm researching for tonight's writing I see NOAA has pulled that NY Private Boat estimate -- it is , after all, a 'Preliminary' estimate...... 
Might be some good news there. 
Ought to be. 
My mistake. NOAA has NOT pulled that estimate.
They should. 

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

Hello Reef Sponsors!!

The Reef Foundation's 2017 Spring Dinner will be held at Seacrets on May
7th from 4 to 8 - last day of Springfest.. Tickets $20.00 at the door
include Dinner - w/Cash Bar.
Anyone with donations for the Live or Silent Auction, & Chinese Raffle are
asked to please contact

Benelli USA has generously donated another shotgun! Our year-long raffle
winner will receive a Benelli Super Black Eagle II, 25th Anniversary
Limited Edition, 12ga 28" in Black Cerakote. Tickets will go out in the
mailing -- no more than 2 weeks. We'll draw a winner Sunday after
Thanksgiving. Other locations for tickets will be posted on FaceBook &
announced via email.

Have completed a side-scan sonar survey for the 2017 Reef Charts. They
should begin shipping April 7th. Lots of corrections - lots & lots - to
nearshore reefs especially. Far & away our most accurate product yet.

Help find Raffle & Auction items! The very first item donated for this
year's dinner was a set of hair & skin care products from Mark 4 Hair
Aveda Salon on 81st St. 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
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.
St. Croix's rod rep for our region, Getty Browning, donated a nice stick
for the auction..
And so it begins. 

I hope to build our largest reef ever this year - out of boulder. Hope to
keep adding to it..
Fishing & Diving, Improved marine water quality.
Restoring bluewater fisheries to where we've not had marlin since the late

Lot of work between here & there.
Plan on attending May 7th. Boulder isn't going to be cheap!


Capt. Monty Hawkins
President, OCRF

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