Fish Report 9/16/07
Limits of Flounder - Better Croakers
Windy Science & A Gun Reef
Still floundering about ~ Sea bass aren't in the picture.
No, I do not understand why the sea bass are AWOL.
All in all though, it strikes me that folks are pretty dogoned happy with flounder around the rail - and usually we get to go nick some hardheads too.
It makes a good day. Exceptional even, when it's right.
Until recently, the croakers haven't been very large, but we did have a shot of 14 to 17 inchers on Friday. Not huge, but certainly decent. Hope they stick around awhile. Couldn't get out Saturday or Sunday; no way to know if they're still here.
The flounder are mostly keepers with the odd jumbo and a few taggers. Pool winners are consistently north of 6 pounds. Usually better than 1/2 the boat has a limit, while twice more this week we limited the rail - boat limit.
Darn the bad luck, Tuesday we didn't catch a single fish. Didn't wet a line either ~ wet a camera though ~ different sort of fishing.
Readers of these missives know that for some time I've been trying to get this region's natural coral beds on the map as Essential Fish Habitat. (EFH)
I never would have thought that it would require the effort that it has.
I supposed that since corals are recognized world wide as EFH, simply pointing them out would unleash a torrent of scientific work and that various means of Protecting and Enhancing the EFH, as is explicitly called for in federal law, would ensue.
Yawn... thoughts not unlike the fairy tales I once read my daughter, I'm afraid.
Anyrate, I booked the boat out last Tuesday hoping to get new video of coral reef as well as start looking at areas where large tube worm colonies had, until recently, thrived. I asked a broad spectrum of the scientific/regulatory community to join me.
A very few did; glad to have them.
My first stop set the tone for the day. It's a small area that I've painted with the depth sounder a few times and was interested to see what's down there. Two anchor set -just like toggin' or a tight sea bass set- positioned precisely over the best of the marks. I'm lecturing while the camera is in free fall, telling my small audience how there's abundant corals if you know where to look.
Just like a kid shooting hoops ~ nothing but net!
Really ~ Just a net. A dogone lost trawl net. A very sanded in net. A not at all natural coral net. Sheesh.
Similar to goose-egging on the first fishing spot of a day ~ up anchors and beat feet to a new spot.
And the wind's picking up. The whole thing went south. Visibility poor, getting worse - waves increasing ~ actually washing jellies onto the aft deck...
But we anchored again and successfully viewed natural corals. Corals seven NM east of sea buoy. Not what I had in mind, but the best I could safely manage.
One fellow's spent 25 years in the thick of fisheries management for this region. Now he has seen corals. And rocks. Neither of which is supposed to exist on our seafloor.
40 - 50 - 60 years ago a skipper could find abundant sea bass using 'course and speed' navigation ~just a watch and a compass~ to find this area. Many did just that. That's why it's called the Bass Grounds.
There were even tournament winning white marlin caught there. Yup ~ 7 miles off the beach.
I think habitat loss is the biggest reason why a present day fisher using the same navigation technique, running course and speed, would surely find nothing.
Awful lot of work to be done to restore it. It'll start with mapping -charting- the rocky substrates.
Another approach to habitat restoration; artificial reef is the path of least resistance.
Recently the Millsboro Police Department donated a load of confiscated guns to the Reef Foundation. 'Course there's not much use in taking them off the street if they can be resold ~ they have to be destroyed. What a great way to keep these weapons out of the hands of those who hold little regard for society.
First the guns were rendered unusable, then they were welded by Mumford's Sheet Metal into a miniature "Texas Tower" sort of reef unit.
Other welded units made by Mumford's and Biazzio Giordano's high school welding classes have proven fantastic for spade & trigger fishing in high summer; I anticipate this one will too.
And, you know, Millsboro's a pretty small town ~ 'spect some of the larger metropolises could build a real Texas Tower with the weapons they confiscate in a year.
Sheesh, you could even have a reef tax on it. Tack it on to court costs ~ user pays in reverse!