Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Fish Report 2/07/24

Fish Report 2/07/24 

Opening Feb Thurs 8th (Tomorrow!) & Monday 12th.. 

A Very Familiar Issue Arrises In The South.. 


Boat Regs: 3 Tog @ 16 Inches - only one can be a female. (Maryland is 4 of any sex @ 16in - we're fishing the boat rule.) Release of all sizes encouraged. Keep a few for dinner? Sure. Load the neighbors up? Not so good for the fishery's future. Very rare when opportunity for limits presents.. 

Funny too, 3 tog at 16 inches was my boat rule from 1992 to 2003.. 

Anna 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 leave a message that you want to book Feb 32? ..she probably won't call you back. 

Boat Limit 3 tautog @16in - only 1 can be female. 

Thurs 2/8/24 - 7 to 3:30 - Tog - $150.00 - 12 Sells Out (& Derned Unlikely!) 

Monday 2/12/24 - 6:30 to 5:00 - Long Tog - $225.00 - 14 sells out 

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

Always try to leave a half hour early if all are aboard. 

Pretty rare to be in on time..

Bait is provided on all trips: green crabs for tog. (Whites are available from crew for a reasonable cost.) 

Our Tog Pool Is By Length: A Tog That's Been Released Counts The Same As One In The Boat.

No Live Tog Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live Tog Black Market Hurt This Fishery ..But Nowhere Near As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulation)

Agreed With Or Not, My Boat's Regulations Observed – 3 Tog @ 16 Inches or better - only one can be a female. 

Does the thought of not keeping a state legal limit gives you pain? Then you will not like tog fishing with me.. Shoot, I may have some clients skunked every trip all winter. Seriously. 

Togging is a most unkind fishery - especially for the novice. Then, I've also seen beginners bowed-up steady while incredibly skilled anglers suffer in hubris. 

But when it is kind? 

As Tommy said, "The tug is the drug.. Bully Bob says, "They're Delmarva Grouper." 

12 to 14 Anglers Sells Out so anglers can move to the bite. Boat has 20 well marked spots. If someone's in a spot? No mugging. If it's open? Have at it. If in between two good friends? Well… But they'd better be good friends! 

Green crabs provided. You're welcome to BYO crabs for bait too. Anglers are further restricted than state regs would have  - Boat Regs are 3 fish (not 4) only one can be a female.

If fishing the stern area waterproof boots are advised in fall & especially winter!

Shoes & sneakers will ruin your day. 

It'll be chilly in the AM too! Cabin is heated. 

If you want a spot call the reservation line! Emailing me is no good - service handles reservations. I do check email for questions - check FaceBook messenger too.. 

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.. 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. 

Try to always leave a half hour early (and never an hour early!) 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.

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.  

Honest truth about Tog Trips!

Do you like a good old fashioned 'drop and reel' sea bass bite? Like steady action? 

Yeah, umm, toggin/blackfishing ain't that. (Except in the rarest of occasions!) This fishery, tog fishing, is the hardest from among my target species. Skunks can and do happen! Even skilled tog fishers, and I mean from among the very best, can get their head handed to em. Worse still - I've even been completely skunked while tog fishing! (Whoever said "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work" dern sure didn't carry fishing parties for a living!) 

Still, because the challenge of catching tog is both our test & attraction - we go! 

If you're this guy: "Ah, Capt, I thought we'd catch 20 pounders today?" Oh Mercy! I'm just glad if clients get bit!

I'm telling you here - I had many, many anglers get skunked last winter and in years before also.

This fishery is tough getting tougher. Those 'dinner fish' kept 10 & more years ago would have been today's super jumbos. 

I run Tog Trips light so anglers can move to the bite - or try too!

For those in need of the blow-by-blow catch reports, I post after every trip to facebook..

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

Block Update - As of 2/07/24 we have 41,319 Reef Blocks & 2,016 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 we're nearing 5,000 pyramids made since my crew and I fashioned a prototype mold in late August 2019. 

Currently being targeted oceanside: Ryan & Shari's Bay Breeze Reef 208 Pyramids - Uncle Murphy's Reef 260 Reef Blocks; Rambler Reef 360 Reef Blocks & 11 Pyramids - Pete Maugan's Memorial Reef 92 Blocks & 6 Pyramids - Calder's Reef Improvement 64 Blocks - 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 2108 Blocks (+49 Reef Pyramids) - New unnamed Block Doug Ake's Reef 4,194 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,969 (+14 Reef Pyramids) Unnamed Spot at Jackspot Reef 140 Blocks - Sue's Block Drop 1,722 (+30 Reef Pyramids) - Kathy's Cable 228 blocks (3 pyramids) - Rudys/Big Dad's Barges 140 Reef Blocks (+9 Pyramids) - Benelli Reef 1,552 (+18 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 4,392 (+ 90 reef pyramids) - Al Berger's Reef 1,906 Reef Blocks (+36 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern South Block Drop 248 Reef Blocks (+ 8  Pyramids) - Cristina's Blast 140 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 362 Blocks (+2 Pyramids) - Kinsley's Reef 756 Pyramids - Bear Concrete Reef 512 Pyramids, 44 Blocks plus 16 pipes -  We've also an Unnamed site at the Bass Grounds in 80 feet with 365 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks, 10 Pyramids, & 16 pieces pipe.

Greetings All! 

Here from "The Fishing Wire" is an overview of something I've worked on 25 years or so. While NOAA's insistence "Our Data Is Fine" is at last crumbling - its likely to be used just as it has been in the MidAtlantic of late for summer flounder. 

All accusations (and instant convictions!) of recreational overfishing are 100% from MRIP, NOAA's recreational catch estimating program. 

Here from The Fishing Wire is the tease into CCA Florida's article. 

If Florida had video cameras capturing a statistical representation of Private Boat Effort? They wouldn't have to argue their data is better, they could prove it. 

Soon - Reef Foundation at Ocean City Boat Show the 15/16/17th.. 

And, with a bit of luck, a big reef project coming.. 


Here from "The Fishing Wire".. 

NOAA Fisheries recently released preliminary numbers for Florida's recreational harvest of gag grouper and the results are baffling. According to the federal data system, recreational anglers caught a total of 1.67 million pounds of gag grouper in 2023:

Private boat anglers: 1.4 million pounds

Charter boat  – 162,832 pounds

Shore-based anglers – 106,602 pounds

Headboat – 8,644 pounds

The State of Florida's Reef Fish Survey reports that private boat anglers – the only category for which it collects data – caught just 240,000 pounds of gag grouper in 2023.

And the actual article from CCA Florida

No matter what species Cod, Haddock, Scup, Bluefish, Striped Bass, Sea Bass, Summer Flounder - On and On to All Southern Species - Marine recreational fishing from Maine to Texas is controlled by MRIP catch data. 

When MRIP shows impossible levels of overfishing? We get creamed by tightening regulation..

Boy, does MRIP need repair!



Capt Monty Hawkins

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