Morning Star Fish Report

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Fish Report 12/3/22 Full Report

Fish Report 12/3/22 

Two Cbass Trips & a nearshore Tog Trip. 

Thoughts on MAFMC's Inlet Video's truth in MRIP. 

And, SERO's asking too many questions again..  


IF YOU BOOK, LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER & LISTEN TO YOUR MESSAGES! 


Anna might be slammed when I hit send. 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. 


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


Fishing for Sea Bass Monday Dec 5th, & Thursday, Dec 8th - Depart 6:30am (or 6 if everyone is aboard!) to 4pm at $175.00.. (Many boat limits..) 18 sells out. Bait, rigs, & Gulp provided as desired. 

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Fishing for tog Wednesday Dec 7th - 7 to 3 @ $135.00 - 12 Anglers Sells Out - Green crabs provided. You're welcome to BYO bait too. Anglers are further restricted than state regs would have  - Boat Regs are 3 fish (not 4) only one can be a female. This fishing will not be over the horizon runs.. 

Does the thought of not keeping a state legal limit gives you any pain? Then you will not like tog fishing with me..

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

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


*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

https://www.facebook.com/ocfishing/ 


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. Gulp too. 

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.  


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


Block Update! As of 11/20/22 we have 38,480 Reef Blocks & 1039 Reef Pyramids (170lb ea or an equivalent) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - there are also 786 pyramids deployed by MD CCA at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water… (and, boy are those pyramid numbers about to rise!) 

Currently being targeted oceanside: at the Brand New Rambler Reef 260 Reef Blocks & 10 Pyramids - Tyler Long's Memorial Reef 548 (+18 Reef Pyramids) Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 406 Reef Blocks (+72 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 1,988 Blocks (+46 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,174 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,867 (+14 Reef Pyramids) - Sue's Block Drop 1,642 (+24 Reef Pyramids) - TwoTanks Reef 1,303 (+ 15 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 912 - Benelli Reef 1,552 (+ 118 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 4,091 (+ 88 reef pyramids) - Wolf & Daughters Reef 734 - Dr. Berger's Reef 1,505 (+33 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern Block Drop 1,528 (+25 Reef Pyramids) - Two more brand New Drops Begun at Cristina's Blast 80 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Unnamed Site South Side GEBD 160 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 222 Blocks & 2 Pyramids — And 325 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks & 10 Pyramids 81 feet Bass Grounds Unnamed ..

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Just am feeling better from one nasty dagoned flu. Bug was worse for me than covid. Better at last, or close, but not in time to set up a trip for Friday's calm. Dern sure couldn't pull one off in this near gale. This whole fall has been one calamity after another. We'll catch the next bit of fair weather for sure. 

My last 9 trips we had a boat limit save one. That was with my young friends at Salisbury University's ichthyology class. We were trying for variety - most limited on cbass anyway. 


Very soon we'll have to grapple what is already thought a further 10% reduction in our sea bass season for 2023. We keep getting cut back because of "overfishing" while, I believe it remains true, commercial fishers haven't caught their quota since 2019 when it was raised about 65%. That and a 49% increase in summer flounder occurred because MRIP recreational catch estimates so vastly inflated recreational catch that scientists tasked with estimating fish populations were forced to raise stock estimates (population estimates) far beyond their true bounds. 


I hope it doesn't "fall off a desk" or the report "get misplaced" - but the MAFMC has had a camera up in Ocean City MD's Inlet for a few years. 

Those who have delved more deeply into MRIP know there's an "All Ocean Combined" category of catch. Using that category alone makes a 'boats required to meet that assertion' quite simple. We only have one Inlet - one access point to the ocean. 

Therefore would take the number of 'Private Boat Angler Trips' (139,792 in July/Aug 2022) and divide it first by 4 for a (very high) number of anglers per boat, then divide again by 'number of fishable days' (60 which is way too high also because a bit of wind often holds Private Boat fishermen in port - me too!) 

Last summer we'd have to have 582 private boats leaving the inlet on average every day. 

Nice.. 

How about… 25? 35? Maybe? 

Even MRIP's lowest guess of the last 4 years is still 214 boats a day average in July/Aug 2021.. There's no way that's accurate. Not remotely close to the truth. 

MAFMC has it on video. 

They've assigned one good man the task of counting boats atop all his other tasks. 

The nice folks at MRIP ARE NOT GOING TO LIKE THE RESULT. That I'll absolutely promise. 


Continuously robbing recreational anglers of quota by using obviously erroneous catch data; and today, in quite streamlined fashion, turning that overfishing into higher and higher commercial quotas; we need the scientists who have peer reviewed MRIP and MRFSS before it over and over again with lavish approval - all without ever listening to a fisherman (promise, I really did try) ..we need the entirety of the fisheries statistical and scientific communities to examine this extraordinarily simple math that completely destroys one MRIP estimate after another. 

Needs to happen! 

When I went to Congress last in 2018, I complained fiercely that MRIP would force huge jumps in quota for commercial fish while constantly eroding our recreational share. 

Their response could be as accurate today as it was then: "While we deeply respect your opinions, Capt Monty; where's everyone else? How come no one else is complaining?"

I'll be writing deeper into this mess in weeks to come. 

We have rock solid evidence MRIP is dead wrong in Maryland. Similar data could be developed for any state. Our opponents are, after all, great fans of statistics. 

I've long made the argument based on what for-hire skippers would see, what we observed, for Private Boat effort offshore. Now we have what the camera saw too.

There's no longer an excuse. 

Do the work, NOAA. Look at REAL effort numbers for a change. 

They'll creat a HUGE drop in Recreational Private Boat catch and recreational catch overall. 

"Overfishing"" will be seen for what it is - nothing. Didn't happen. 


With no fishing of late to report on, here I  also want to illustrate some of the thinking down at NOAA Fisheries SE Regional Office (SERO.) 

I've been sending daily Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) to the NE Regional Office (here I'll write NERO for simplicity but really it's GARFO… Oyyy Nevermind. NERO is fine for this piece) ..I've been sending VTRs to NERO for 25 years. Never once has NERO questioned my report unless I made a serious goof; two 9 hr trips on the same day sort of goof. NERO wants to know the basics, "How many anglers? How many fish and what kind did they catch? Plus approximately where & how long did anglers have lines in the water?"

These questions are relevant to building a picture of the health of a fishery—the harvest. They make sense for use in fishery management.

NERO hasn't changed. They may swallow MRIP's catch estimate baloney in one-ton increments, but the information they require on VTRs isn't over the top. 


SERO's recreational catch estimates, however, have garnered even DC's attention. When folks in DC are paying attention to recreational fishing there's a real mess—fishing usually flies far below their radar. The statistical swill SERO has used to concoct regulations has robbed billions in economic prosperity from the SE & Gulf Coast recreational fisheries across decades. 

Yes, billions — especially in the red snapper fishery. 

Used to be we were fairly well insulated from SERO's various madnesses up above Cape Hatteras.

SERO sunk their fangs deep into Mid-Atlantic fisheries—even up to Massachusetts, a few years ago when they decided their mahi/wahoo permit demanded incredible depths of information filed daily; their king and spanish mackerel permits too. 

No longer was, "How many anglers did you have" acceptable on our daily VTRs above Cape Hatteras. Now they want to know how many total anglers; and, from among them, how many were paying clients? How much did they pay? How much fuel did you burn? What did that cost? How deep was it? How deep was the deepest? How deep did clients fish? 

The list goes on and is far too prying. 

Here's an email I've recently received from SERO. It's unlike anything I've ever gotten from NERO/GARFO. I'll answer SERO's questions below inside {brackets}.. 


*******
From SERO. 

Good afternoon, I'm reaching out regarding flagged reports due to the reported number of paying passengers being less than the number of anglers and unusual trip times/lengths.


To make sure that we are receiving the correct information on your reports, if you would please use the definitions below when entering Number of Anglers and Paying Passengers.

Number of Anglers- Number of people that fish on the trip

Paying Passengers- Number of people who were paid for to go out on trip (just the customers, this number should not include captain or crew)


Is the trip information correct for dates listed below? If you could please confirm or provide corrections to these reports.

11/15/22: Are these the correct trip times? 6:10 AM -1:50 PM {Yes. I answered correctly. You can see we limited out via reported catch - there was also foul weather forecasted.} 

9/1/22: Are these the correct trip times? 6 AM-6:30 PM

{Yes, I answered correctly. Mahi fishing was extraordinarily tough so I extended the hours. Most clients did put dinner together if with sea bass.} 

8/12/22:  Are these the correct trip times 6:30 AM-9:45 AM? And was this a charter? "0" was entered for Paying Passengers and Trip Fee fields. {Yes, everything is entered correctly. Here I entered the number of anglers, 11, and also told SERO we caught 7 cbass and 1 fluke. A weather situation arose and I cut the trip way short. Is it so hard to imagine "No Charge" for such a short trip?} 


SERO additionally has trouble with 'paying passengers' exceeding 'anglers'. {Ever heard of sea sickness? How about the guy who reserved a spot but decided to catch the all night happy hour at their favorite night club too? They likely never saw the west end of an east bound boat - just slept in . I even have clients who buy nearby spots so they can enjoy the extra room.} 

Equally disconcerting in Florida is when 'number of anglers' exceeds 'paying passengers.' {There are numerous scenarios where an angler or two might ride free: a RainCheck (though I avoid them like a plague - some of my long time regulars just want to carry a trip to another day. Other reasons might include: people from fisheries management who I'm trying to get to see the truth of some aspect of our fisheries; people who've lent an especially strong shoulder to our reef building efforts; students who I hope might one day grapple fisheries or fisheries habitat issues from a more realistic perspective; the occasional single mom trying to show a young son what fishing is about; and, though some will scarcely believe it, especially at SERO, there are friends of mine who I so enjoy having aboard I'll carry them free.}

Those are some of the ways how 'anglers' can exceed 'paying passengers'. And, amazingly after only 42 years in the partyboat trade, I do understand the difference between passengers and crew..


We sorely need SERO kicked back below Cape Hatteras. We have no representation that I'm aware of down there. They can attach virtually anything to their precious permits and we'd have to do it. 

There's no reason in the world MAFMC cannot issue 'north of Hatteras' mahi etc permits or simply attach to HMS (highly migratory species) permits. 

This is not among our most dire fisheries issues, but SERO's permits are universally hated above Hatteras. 


Cheers, 

Monty 



Reef Report 11/30/22

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 — Capt Stormy Harrington and crew aboard the Tiki XIV deployed 292 reef units at Kinsley's Reef 9 miles off Ocean City Maryland. They began splashing concrete at sundown. 

On Saturday, 11/19/22, they delivered & deployed 200 pyramids too. 


Kinsley's Reef will become wildly productive. Among artificial reef types, these pyramids create bottom which closely mimics our natural reefs; low and  with shallow ledges. 

And, in large part, does so with cement that would have been lost in manufacturing. 

I wanted to capture that waste cement in a two-man deployable reef unit. My crew and I built the prototype in Aug 2019 - we've built over 60 molds since. If you know of a plant that would like to use waste product to help marine/estuarine restoration work, please have them contact me at mhawkins@ocreefs.org 


All this work takes funding though! Share this post! Maryland has no State marine reef program - it's just the Ocean City Reef Foundation, our tiny 501C(3), that's building reef off the Maryland coast. 


Though low budget, we are building Maryland's coastal fisheries' future; not just for next summer but making it better for centuries to come. 

Centuries. 

Maybe millennia. 


This raffle is it - this is most of our fundraising for the year. No state money. No fed money. The more we raise, the more we can put on the bottom!


Particulars! 

OCRF's 2022 Benelli/Park Place Jewlers 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 worth, 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! 


Buy tickets online at ocreefs.org at the 'donation' tab.  Courtney and I will fill the name and phone number in on all your tickets, then send a pic via email. If you don't have a pic within 48 hours? (First Check Your Spam Box!!) ..then Email us! 

Raceway Citgo by Crabs to Go has tix behind the counter (at last!)


Dagone nasty flu, this Sunday I was too sick to post results but I did draw winners. Bernie (2nd win!) took the blue sapphire earrings donated by Gerry Meadows and Steve L the St. Croix triggerstick donated by St. Croix.. Rusty (another 2nd win but he wants to move up!) won the T shirt and measuring board. 

Next week we have a Star triggerstick donated by AllTackle, another pair of earrings & a measuring stick/board/reef book donated and written by Wayne Young.. 

Also coming up there's a framed & remarqued George Kalwa mahi print; two pair of precious stone earrings from Afghanistan, a pair of Hook sunglasses, another $200 Fuel GC from Harbor Island, more fantastic rods including an all time favorite stick of mine, a St Croix donated by Sea Bass Bob - even a custom wrapped rod with a nice reel donated (along with the earrings!) by Gerry Meadows. Grand prizes are a Benelli semiauto in 12ga from Benelli USA; a Seiko watch and diamond covered circle hook necklace from Park Place Jewelers, and a full day charter on my rig any time we're fishing..


The raffle itself may be a gamble, but your donation isn't — donations are absolutely going to help build reef!  


Capt Monty Hawkins 

Mhawkins@morningstarfishing.com 

Info@ocreefs.org


Reef Report 11/30/22

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 — Capt Stormy Harrington and crew aboard the Tiki XIV deployed 292 reef units at Kinsley's Reef 9 miles off Ocean City Maryland. They began splashing concrete at sundown. 

On Saturday, 11/19/22, they delivered & deployed 200 pyramids too. 


Kinsley's Reef will become wildly productive. Among artificial reef types, these pyramids create bottom which closely mimics our natural reefs; low and  with shallow ledges. 

And, in large part, does so with cement that would have been lost in manufacturing. 

I wanted to capture that waste cement in a two-man deployable reef unit. My crew and I built the prototype in Aug 2019 - we've built over 60 molds since. If you know of a plant that would like to use waste product to help marine/estuarine restoration work, please have them contact me at mhawkins@ocreefs.org 


All this work takes funding though! Share this post! Maryland has no State marine reef program - it's just the Ocean City Reef Foundation, our tiny 501C(3), that's building reef off the Maryland coast. 


Though low budget, we are building Maryland's coastal fisheries' future; not just for next summer but making it better for centuries to come. 

Centuries. 

Maybe millennia. 


This raffle is it - this is most of our fundraising for the year. No state money. No fed money. The more we raise, the more we can put on the bottom!


Particulars! 

OCRF's 2022 Benelli/Park Place Jewlers 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 worth, 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! 


Buy tickets online at ocreefs.org at the 'donation' tab.  Courtney and I will fill the name and phone number in on all your tickets, then send a pic via email. If you don't have a pic within 48 hours? (First Check Your Spam Box!!) ..then Email us! 

Raceway Citgo by Crabs to Go has tix behind the counter (at last!)


This Sunday I was too sick to post results but I did draw winners. Bernie (2nd win!) took the blue sapphire earrings donated by Gerry Meadows and Steve L the St. Croix triggerstick donated by St. Croix.. Rusty (another 2nd win but he wants to move up!) won the T shirt and measuring board. 

Next week we have a Star triggerstick donated by AllTackle, another pair of earrings & a measuring stick/board/reef book donated and written by Wayne Young.. 

Also coming up there's a framed & remarqued George Kalwa mahi print; two pair of precious stone earrings from Afghanistan, a pair of Hook sunglasses, another $200 Fuel GC from Harbor Island, more fantastic rods including an all time favorite stick of mine, a St Croix donated by Sea Bass Bob - even a custom wrapped rod with a nice reel donated (along with the earrings!) by Gerry Meadows. Grand prizes are a Benelli semiauto in 12ga from Benelli USA; a Seiko watch and diamond covered circle hook necklace from Park Place Jewelers, and a full day charter on my rig any time we're fishing..


The raffle itself may be a gamble, but your donation isn't — donations are absolutely going to help build reef!  

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