Sunday, December 12, 2021

Fish Report 12/12/21 - Comment!

Fish Report 12/12/21 

Sea Bass Trips! 

A comment - You can help prevent MAFMC from voting for Accountability Measures.

Have a barge coming to sink. Thought it might be this Monday/Tuesday. 


Weather looks great both days though - Light West Winds and CALM! Let's go fishing! 

Sea Bass Only. Looking For Sea Bass Boat Limits #11 & 12..  (Not targeting tog these two trips. At All. Really.) Monday & Tuesday - Sea Bass! - 6:30 to 3:30 - $155.00 - Eighteen Sells Out (& Fabulously Unlikely!) 

(Trip info below announcement) 


It's entirely possible that the very data—MRIP data, that gave Commercial fishers a 49% increase in March 2019 for summer flounder (fluke) & in similar fashion for sea bass will now hamstring our 2022 & 23 recreational seasons. 

Commercial got a big quota jump  because Management & science said," Gee there must be so many more fish out there than we guessed; otherwise how could recreational fishers land so many" owing MRIP's astronomical overestimates. 

We Recreational Fishers too, using same MRIP data, were supposed to get an increase. 

Been two years at least. 

No joy. 

Hasn't Happened. 

Ain't about to either. 

A one sentence comment to an e-mail address could sway the fight for fairness; you could help prevent Accountability Measures from impacting many recreational species/seasons.. 

A Simple Sample Comment:

Dr. Moore, Please accept this comment opposing use of accountability measures for recreational fisheries until quota has been reassigned as it already was two years ago for commercial fishers. 

Thank You, 

Email Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council — — 

and, of course, your state's fisheries reps to the Mid-Atlantic Council.. 

Didn't see this coming. They vote Tuesday. 


Reservations Required  For All Trips - Call Anna (and sometimes daughter Hanna!) Reservation Line is Open 8am to 8pm at 443-235-5577 It always jams when I first open. Sorry! Anna goes by messages too for booking. 

Have to run a fair piece to get on sea bass this time of year. Result has been excellent fishing. Last 9 trips (at least when I could get a whole trip!) we had a boat limit plus paid the rent..

Looking for numbers 10 & 11 now..

Boots! If anywhere near the stern - wet deck - wear boots in winter. (At least bring em. If flat calm you may not need them..)

As ever, 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

overslept or had a flat. No Refund or Reschedule for a missed trip! 

Ticket Sales Limited To Four. (Let your friends take care of their own reservations!) Will sometimes sell all spots to one company on a weekday—as in a charter. Has to go through me and not terribly likely. I've built a livelihood carrying individual anglers and enjoy their company. 

Trips Also Sometimes Announced (but later - email is always first) on Facebook.

My personal and Morning Star FB pages get daily after action (or lack thereof) reports..

Bait is provided on all trips.

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. This is 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

Two 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.

As of 12/07/21 we have 35,388 Reef Blocks & 412 Concrete Pyramids (170lb ea) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - and, also as of 11/16/21, we have 312 pyramids at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water…

Currently being targeted oceanside: Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 99 Reef Blocks (+53 Reef Pyramids begun 8/18/20) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 1,856 Blocks (+44 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,174 blocks (+16 Pyramid Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,797 (+8 Reef Pyramids) - Sue's Block Drop 1,582 (+20 Reef Pyramids) - TwoTanks Reef 1,223 (+ 11 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 912 - Benelli Reef 1,491 (+ 15 Pyramids) - Rudy's Reef 465 - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 3,643 (+60 reef pyramids) - Wolf & Daughters Reef 734 - Al Berger's Reef 1,049 (+11 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern Block Drop 1,174 (+10 Reef Pyramids).. And a soon-to-be-named reef at Russell's Reef 30 Blocks & 49 Pyramids - We've also begun work at Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef with 212 Blocks & 2

Did a tog trip last Friday. Found a crazy-good bite of mini tog. 

It's good that we have a 16 inch size limit. We ought to take it up half an inch every two years. 

I think the extra year class or two in the spawning population (from 14 to 16 inch size limit) has done well for spawning production. Now to let some grow through and increase spawning production even more. 

You need to understand — I've tagged hundreds and hundreds of double-digit tog on pieces we fished today. But that was before they became popular again. 

While it may be unlikely I'll ever see today's throwbacks become twenty-pounders; it's also true that no one will—none of today's youthful tog nuts will either—if we don't dial back fishing's removals plus increase habitat and spawning production further. 

Forever in a world of regulatory can't. Among some of the "can't " I heard for years and years: Top of mind now is "We can't have different size limits for ocean and bay tautog." 

Sakes.. We could make our marine fishery fabulous - and keep it that way. But never with regulation that suits inshore/back-bay tog fishers. We can do it. Just haven't yet. 

Another I used to hear as I began describing habitat fidelity's important role in sea bass regulation during the late 1990s and into the 2010s based in my ALS tag returns.. "We can't regulate sea bass by region." 

Now we regulate sea bass by region. 

Were regulators to make honest use of habitat fidelity, sea bass & sea bass fishers would benefit further. 

And, also back in the day, we can't restore oysters. I heard that at many a meeting in the 1990s & 2000s. I was getting reports of men unable to push their arm through a submerged tire because the oysters were so thick in the early 1990s. But on shell 'restoration' reefs? Why, barely enough survived to dredge. Dredged & re-dredged — no reef! We Can't Do It!

Now, having at last run out of shell; today we have rock reefs - granite & limestone - where oysters thrive in their millions. We must press ahead with substrates we have found to work!

Run today's millions of oysters up to beyond trillions and we'll begin to see the Mid-Atlantic's ocean waters turn blue again.. 

There are some "Cant's" that are true. Statisticians cannot develop a true sense of recreational catch without fishermen's help. They really can't. 

Boy, the "We can do it ourselves! Fishermen have no idea how many they catch" in NOAA statistician's camp has destroyed science & management's perception of our recreational fisheries. MRIP catch estimates need to be ignored until they're repaired. I'm finding astronomical sea bass landings in private boat again. Working on it. I fear it's about to become truly important. 

We can develop solid rec catch estimates - could! - just not without Bayesian stops; a statistical place where 'catch beyond this point is impossible.'

Along with can't there's plenty of "haven't" too.

Especially that we haven't troubled ourselves with developing a history of sea floor habitat loss. 

Go sit in a wheat field with great-granddad's .22 and see how many squirrels you can bag for dinner.. Where he had a huge stand of hardwood and many a squirrel pot-pie, you have field that produces a crop. On land there is at least a trade in production - often a good


In the ocean, however, when that hardbottom reef is towed flat, it may offer no further biological return to the sea or humanity ever again unless we restore a hard substrate: We claim need of "restoring fish" with no comprehension of lost seafloor habitat. 

It remains true - commercial fishers landed more sea bass (mostly by trawl) from 1950 to 1961 than all decades since combined. 

Biologically, habitat loss equals spawning production loss. 

Whether at sea or in an estuary, restoring hardbottom habitat is as easy as rolling rocks off a barge. 

An area such as our Bass Grounds, where once there was 4.5 square miles of patchy hardbottom reef - mostly sea whip meadow - is now completely gone save a few square yards of remnant reef. 

How in Blazes are we to ever restore the fish that thrived on that bottom with simple catch regulation? 

My turn: It can't be done! 

I've said it before: Habitat restoration makes fisheries restorations simple.. 



Capt Monty Hawkins

Blog Archive