Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fish Report 8/17/22

Fish Report 8/17/22

Opening Rest of August 

Reef News.. 

Sea bass limits infrequent in high summer - size limit 13 inches - 15 per person. Lots of good catches but just a few limits per week. Also catching an odd flounder - have had several fellows limit out on fluke, but that's really rare. Mahi? Only one mahi limit so far (Bernie, of course). Will be trying for mahi when possible and especially on 11+ hour trips. 


Weather Cancellations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..

Getting a bit further offshore some days in my slow old boat. Xtra Long Sea Bass hoping for Mahi mix days - absolutely no guarantee of mahi but will try hard and usually catch some - $225.00 - 6:30 to 5:30 - Aug 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, Sept 1, 3, & 4.. 

Sailing Daily - Fishing harder and Am scheduling numerous 11 hour trips in August; sea bass trips where hunting mahi will be a major emphasis at $225.00 from 6:30 to 5:30 (Yes, be a half hour early!)

Otherwise from 8/22 to 9/6/22 Saturdays 6:30 to 4:30 at $175.00 — Weekdays & Sundays 7 to 3:30 at $155.00 - All Trips Sell Out at 18 Anglers for a lot of room at the rail. 

This reservation announcement closes with 9/6/2022

Anna will be slammed when I hit send. Leave her a message. She has a method to her madness.. Reservations at 443-235-5577

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. Seriously, with a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you overslept or had a flat..

Trips Also Sometimes Announced on Facebook at Morning Star Fishing 

I post after action reports (or lack thereof) (and sometimes detailed thoughts on fisheries issues) for every trip on my personal FB page and Morning Star page..

Bait is provided on all trips. 

No Galley. Bring Your Own Food & Beverage. 

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 a 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 have a few loaners - you'll still need ice. Should you catch some monstrous fish, we'll be able to ice it. 

No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.

Not Updated! — As of 7/25/22 we have 37,282 Reef Blocks & 519 Reef Pyramids (170lb ea) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - we also have 786 pyramids deployed by MD CCA at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water…

Currently being targeted oceanside: Tyler Long Memorial Reef 307 (+11 Reef Pyramids) Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 383 Reef Blocks (+71 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 1,920 Blocks (+48 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,174 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,847 (+14 Reef Pyramids) - Sue's Block Drop 1,602 (+22 Reef Pyramids) - TwoTanks Reef 1,263 (+ 13 Reef Pyramids) Benelli Reef 1,531 (+ 117 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 3,931 (+82 reef pyramids) - Dr. Al Berger's Reef 1,295 (+ 25 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern Block Drop 1,4786 (+24 Reef Pyramids) Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 222 Blocks & 2 Pyramids - And 325 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks & 10 Pyramids 81 feet Bass Grounds Unnamed ..

Greetings All, 

Have been pondering the explosion of cutlassfish (often mistakenly called ribbonfish.) Saw my first in 2007; now they're seemingly everywhere along and just below the lower Mid-Atlantic and it's Bays. They get big - need more and more food - they get bellies big enough to make a partyboat skipper jealous.  

I believe our #1 plankton/nekton coastal predator to be sea bass. They'll rise 20/40 feet above a reef all day - just hovering and catching what drifts by. We know this behavior not just by fisherman's observations, but by Moser/Shepherd's Woods Hole archival tag study in 2003. Sea bass eat a lot of tiny shrimp/krill but also all manner of critters. Virtually everything in the ocean begins life as plankton. We found mahi last summer with gobs of tiny cutlassfish in them. Fish eat whatever they can. Puts the Hunger Games to shame. 

A local professor found, and reported to NOAA fisheries, cbass live on rock crabs instead. Mercy.. It's just that crabs take forever to digest. That's why so many are found. There's no possible way a reef could produce enough crabs to keep an unfished reef's population of cbass alive. No Way. Not even an overfished reef if spawning production were up. Sea bass thrive on krill. We see it virtually every day. They suspend themselves above a reef and feed on whatever drifts by. 

While the cbass stock offshore 18+ miles and more is in fine shape; on our nearshore reefs I doubt it's ever been worse.  


I have explained endlessly how this is a result of size limit regulation. That our nearshore spawning stock keeps contracting as fewer and fewer large male sea bass control who gets to spawn. (Look up "Age at maturity Fish  Report Hawkins" ought to do it..)

Nothing occurs without consequence. Has this massive reduction in plankton/nekton predation resulted in the expansion of cutlassfish? Contributed? 

Strange world off there. The food web often flips - today's prey grows into tomorrow's predator. 

I hear guys in the white marlin open were complaining about green water in the canyons. I'll have to reach out and find out how far/how bad. We had good water inshore for a while. Now it's more green. Hoping it cleans up again with all this E/NE wind we've had. The bluer it is, the more inshore mahi we'll have.

Will be posting a couple new pics from a recent reef monitoring trip to FaceBook. You do not need an account to see them. Our photographer, Nick Caloyianis, just won his second Emmy for non-fiction. Amazingly fortunate to have him on our team!! 

All kinds of reef stuff going on.. 



Capt Monty Hawkins

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