Saturday, December 02, 2023

Fish Report 12/02/23

Fish Report 12/2/23 

Sea Bass Limits 

Seeing Bluefin (not catching them!) 

Reef Raffle!

Sea Bass fishing had been good to excellent until Dec 1 when I stumbled - dogfish kept crashing the party; ended the day with only two limits. Dec 2, however, was more normal: a lot of 'weeding' through shorts for keepers. A few dogs? Yes, but just a handful. Half the boat was limited. 

Will our luck hold? 

Derned if I know. 

Going fishing. 

Eighteen Anglers sells out my sea bass trips - makes for lots of room. I'll carry still fewer for tautog trips - may start a few sooner than Jan 1st. 

I'm going to open Monday 12/4 to sea bass like we have been doing. 6:30 to 4 - $165.00..

Will depart up to half an hour early..

Anna is a one person operation from 8am to 8pm. She might be slammed when I hit send (or maybe not!) If she cannot pick up, Leave her a message. She has a method to her madness.. 

Reservations at 443-235-5577 - She's a one person operation & has other jobs too. The line closes at 8pm and reopens at 8am. She won't take reservations for trips that are not announced. 

If you want a spot call the reservation line at 443-235-5577.. Emailing me is no good (unless you've not had a call back after 4 hours!) - any info I give could well be wrong time you receive it - service handles reservations. I do check email for questions; check FaceBook messenger too.. 

Be a half hour early! We always try to 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.. If you're reserved and the last person we're waiting on - you'll need to answer your phone. I will not make on-time clients wait past scheduled departure because of a misfortune on your part. 

I rarely get in on time either. If you have a worrier at home, please advise them I often come home late. It's what I do. 

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.

I've recently discovered ZOFRAN -prescription anti-nausea for chemo and surgery. Seems to work - has worked - for motion sickness. Serious day saver really. It's a prescription - though one Doc I trust thought it should be over the counter.. 

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.  

Wishbone doesn't replace backbone.. Have to keep a shoulder into reef building to make it happen. 

Block Update - As of 12/02/23 we have 40,804 Reef Blocks & 1,801 Reef Pyramids (170lb ea) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - there are also 1,336 pyramids deployed by MD CCA at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water - Counting those awaiting deployment there have been over 4,500 pyramids made since my crew and I fashioned a prototype mold in late August 2019. 

Currently being targeted oceanside: at our brand new Uncle Murphy's Reef 200 Reef Blocks; Rambler Reef 340 Reef Blocks & 11 Pyramids - Pete Maugan's Memorial Reef 92 Blocks & 6 Pyramids - Tyler Long's Memorial Reef 698 (+18 Reef Pyramids & a 115 ft barge!) Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 526 Reef Blocks (+76 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 2040 Blocks (+49 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,194 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,969 (+14 Reef Pyramids) Lindsay's Mini Reef 140 Blocks - Sue's Block Drop 1,702 (+30 Reef Pyramids) - Farewell/Kathy's Cable 188 blocks(3 pyramids) - Rudys/Big Dad's Barges 140 Reef Blocks (+9 Pyramids) - Benelli Reef 1,552 (+118 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 4,324 (+ 90 reef pyramids) - Al Berger's Reef 1,886 (+36 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern South Block Drop 228 Reef Blocks (+ 8  Pyramids) - Cristina's Blast 120 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 362 Blocks (+2 Pyramids) - Kinsley's Reef 756 Pyramids - Bear Concrete Reef 44 Blocks and 512 Pyramids plus 16 pipes -  We've also an Unnamed site at the Bass Grounds in 80 feet with 345 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks, 10 Pyramids, & 16 pieces pipe.

Reef Raffle!

Have even MORE new raffle prizes to offer. Nice stuff too! 

There are 5 more weekly drawings and then our grand prizes New Year's Day.. 

Using a raffle to build reef that will contribute to coastal Maryland's marine fisheries production for a thousand years or more.. 

Well, it's Working!

The OC Reef Foundation is restoring bottom lost since the 1970s - natural hardbottom reef that had been there since it first flooded with saltwater, what? 30,000 years ago? 

Yes, scuba divers relish diving a new spot - fishermen crave success where there had been none before - and everyone wants a healthier ocean with well repaired ecosystem functions.. 

Did you know bottlenose dolphin feed on our reefs at night using echolocation? 


We've only known it a few years. 

For me? When I saw that suddenly the reef aspect of our marine food web became larger and more important. 

Squid spawning on new reefs at the Bass Grounds in early May? 


That too. 

More squid has to be better.. 

Crazy way better. 

Still, ask 10 people where the nearest coral reef is to OC? 



Will any of them know the Bass Grounds has some fabulous coral growths just 8.5 miles out. It was once a marvel - an amazing collection of natural patch reefs destroyed by surfclam boats 60 some years ago. We're putting it back with concrete and steel substrates now. Just 4 miles off the coast at Sue's Reef, however, are precast concrete deployments from 2015 that are loaded with sea whip.. (They look like orange grass in our pictures) Those same cement pieces already have a great start on star coral too(a hard coral that used to take a looong time to get going!) 

Putting it back - making it better. 

If we planted a thousand acres of mixed hardwood; do you reckon we'd see an increase in woodlands life? A few more squirrels maybe? The whole of it really. All the critters we might find in a couple square miles of woods. 

I really don't think it's dawned on federal fisheries yet. All those folks were taught in college "artificial reef only aggregates fish for easier extraction." 

Build a few pieces and never any more? Maybe that could stick. 

Maybe. You'd still increase marine production though. 

After 43 years fishing off here, I am absolutely certain reef building has made a huge difference in our marine fisheries productions - and just getting good at it. 

We're on our way to making the Bass Grounds one of the most productive bottoms on the coast again. 

That's right, again. 

When I was 19 years old I watched an old skipper in tears - "We had the best sea bass fishing on the coast and we let them destroy it." 

Plain as you remember where you were when the towers were struck? That's how I remember Capt. Ward Brex and Capt Orie Bunting in Capt Bunting's old-time cedar paneled kitchen one summer afternoon. (His secretary, Miss Bee, a truly wonderful lady, was Seventh Day Adventist and didn't appreciate drinking one bit. Capt had hollered for me to go get some "hooks." Shoot.. I didn't know it was code. He wanted me to go get cheap vodka! It was just a block over to Paul's Tackle Shop, I quickly came back with hooks. He sent me right back out to get the right kind! Ms Bee was neither fooled not humored.. 

Fishing was different in those days. I never once dreamed of getting away with what some of the old timers did, but I absolutely intend to put fish back where they had em and we no longer do. 

It's 100% doable. 

No state or federal help off here with reef building. Just this tiny non profit - the OC Reef Foundation at .. 

Despite a seriously low budget we have already made a huge difference; will continue to! 


In coming years we'll have bi-state reef sites with Delaware & Virginia - connected reef habitat from southern New Jersey to the northern Virginia peninsula. 

Even if it's with raffles, bake sales and spaghetti dinners? We shall make it happen. 

No office rent. No one's on salary. I rarely even reimburse many thousands in expenses let alone take a salary. Everything is cut to a nub so we can build more reef. 

Our annual raffle is amassing prizes. Creatures Great & Small paid for a 'Name A Reef' to put in the raffle - Wow! I'll make that a grand prize Jan 1st. 

For our ongoing annual raffle we've added an awesome pait of Hook sunglasses from Niki, Bob & Chris at Optical Galleria in West O or Easton area. No baloney - Hook sunglasses cut sun glare at sea better than any big brand I've tried! (You can order extra dark and extra mirrored too!) 

There's also a Gift Certificate from Crabs to Go.. Sakes Man! Mom's cream of crab over pasta with my Reef & Beef spice? Maybe add a bit of shrimp, clams, mussels, and even more crab? Son!! Good living.. 

What about a $250.00 gift certificate for the Harbor Island fuel dock! OC Fuel 24/7 Baby!! Even if you don't have a boat I bet that can get you an invite offshore real quick! 
And now Rusty has ponied up a Solo Stove - sweet backyard/beach campfire in a jiffy..

Hurricanne Murray even bought two Gift Certificates for my boat, the Morning Star, to add to the kitty. I expect I'll have to match him!


We already had a lot!!

Super big news - Park Place Jewelers owners Jill & Todd (who happen to luv fresh cbass!) have now donated, not just one of our grand prizes, a gold diamond studded hook necklace, and three weekly winner prizes including last week's sea turtle bracelet that Katie in San Fransisco won, but now Park Place has also donated five $150 dollar gift certificates.. Wow! You could even win several GCs - especially because all winning tickets go right back into the drawing.. 

Tonight's 8(!) prizes are 1) a Dave Raum Custom Conventional Curlicue Rod. Dave passed away and left this stick and many others. Helen and Kelly donated it for the raffle. Nice for reef fishing; I'd sure love to fish with it.. 2) The first of five $150.00 Gift Certificates from Park Place Jewlers. 

There's a new blow up snow man 3) for your front yard donated by Rambler Reef Ed - 4) a Morning Star gift certificate for any trip save tile. 5) a pair of Kunnan spinner combos perfect for when the grandkids are fluke fishing the bay or mahi pot hopping; 6) a nice medium heavy LamiGlass spinner; 7) a gift set including a long sleeve OC reef t-shirt, reef & beef spice & a yeti tumbler - and last, 8) a long sleeve reef shirt with my Reef & Beef spice.. 

Great Mercy!!

Every week there will be more (& more!) prizes! 

We have a great selection of rods, including two custom trigger sticks from mate Brian, a pair of sweet rods from AllTackle, spinner combos from Adm Gus & a marine bean bag from West Marine in WOC (for absolute best naps ever!) There's a cool Benelli blind bag - a lovely pair of blue sapphire earrings donated by Gerry M who brought them home from Afghanistan the hard way! - two George Kalwa prints including an awesome marlin - a super nice Shimano Thunnus 8000 spinning reel already loaded with braid donated by... (I forget!! Please remind me!) - Paul C donated a Stoeger Condor Over & Under 12 gauge (used but virtually new) - and, of course, that sweet 28 Ga. Benelli Semi-Auto from Benelli USA and diamond studded gold hook from Park Place Jewlers as grand prizes.. 


Tix on ! 

OCRF's 2023 Park Place Jewlers/Benelli USA Annual Reef Raffle. One ticket for $10 - six for $50 - fourteen for $100 - plus an additional ticket for every additional hundred. 

A buyer of $200.00, for instance, would be getting 15 tix per hundred; at $300 it would be 16 tix per one hundred so 48 tickets.. $500.00 would be 90 Tix & 1,000.00 would be 240 tickets.. Great Scott! There will be nice weekly prizes - Grand Prizes will be drawn Jan 1, 2024 with Weekly Drawings every Sunday. Grand Prizes are currently a Sweet 28 Ga. Benelli Semi-Auto from Benelli USA and a diamond encrusted gold fishhook necklace from Park Place Jewelers..  

Buy tickets online at at the 'donation' tab. Marisa will fill the name in on all your tickets, then send a pic via email. Sunday drawings won't take place until tix are all filled in. If you don't have a pic within 48 hours on a weekday sale? (First Check Your Spam Box!!) ..then Email us! 

Starting the 28th we'll also have tix at Crabs to Go Citgo station as we have for years.. 

This raffle is it for 2023 reef funding. MD does NOT have a state marine reef program. (Shocking for the Chesapeake Bay State, no?) 

The Feds do NOT have a marine reef restoration program (nor even recognize we ever had reef and especially not that any reef was ever lost owing fishing gears..)

These things change though and YOU are going to help! 

Having read this far? You likely already have. 

In the immediate line up for new reef building is a large tug donated by Murtech Marine (already named..) and now two tractor trailer loads of reef pyramids from Kinsley Construction in York! (Now they're named too!) Those will be taken out by the Tiki XIV in coming weeks - as soon as they deploy the pyramids from Bear Concrete!! Those pyramids will soon be in the thousands - it's a lot of reef! 

Play the OCRF Reef Raffle! We're already making a difference, I guarantee it!



Capt Monty Hawkins

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