Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fish Report 10/21/07

Fish Report 10/21/07
Nothing Has Changed
Fish or Otherwise
Hi All,
Some of the finest flounder fishing I've ever seen.
But not everyday!
There's a handful of sea bass with them. Even some sea bass inside 'em. 'Fish eat fish' world out there.
We limited the boat 5 days out of 7 on flounder. Some days are easy, others a bit more work. If you can bear the pain of not catching limits of sea bass as we are so accustomed to in the fall ~ It's nice fishing.
Really hasn't changed much since late August. Surface water offshore was as high as 72.4 today. In fact, as we were coming up Shantytown Channel there were children swimming along Gudelski Park. Being mid/late October I'd be less surprised to see the first snow flurries of the year...
Some things seem on schedule though. There's patches of red in the water where millions of krill stain the surface. Soon we'll see at least a few of the great whales, perhaps even the endangered right whale that seem to think the red krill as candy.
There are many leatherback sea turtles presently using our region's waters. Some of them huge, it's as if a small car has just surfaced. They're supposed to just eat jelly fish and lots of 'em, but why do I so often see them directly over structured habitat? 
Other things haven't changed either.
We still focus fisheries management almost solely on counting dead fish - the landings. Need to put into service the 'habitat' part of the plan.
104 nautical miles east of Washington D.C. lies the closest live coral reef to our nation's capitol. Fan out from 104 out to 130 NMs and you could call it a coral ecology.  Based in Silver Spring, our "Coral Reef Task Force" just had their 18th annual meeting ~ in Samoa.
Some of these folks may take long weekends here; walking to the sandy waters edge, casting a thoughtful gaze upon waters that seem so unchanged.
Yet right now commercial sea bass and lobster trap fishers are scrambling to get their gear away from the low lying coral beds ~ out of harms way. They're moving thousands of traps next to large, well known wrecks or even bringing them home. It's as if a disaster were forecast ~ and is.
Virginia, it seems, has just opened a new quarter for summer flounder. Any boat that can legally land fish in VA is going to grab a piece of that action.
The target species -flounder- are presently using rocks, wrecks and corals ~ all places a lobsterman might set.
It is possible to trap flounder, but the preferred gear is the trawl. Big boats dragging big nets. And shame on you if your lobster traps are in the way.
This scene plays out almost every year. Fall comes and commercial trap fishers complain about gear loss. Not cheap; the economic burden can be brutal.
And when those guys lose traps ~ we're losing coral.
Wonder how the leatherbacks will fare.
Especially wonder how the sea bass fishers will fare...
And really wonder what use a law such as Magnusen is if no one knows what or where "Habitat" is.
Essential Fish Habitat.
Yup. Walked down to the beach and it was all still there...
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservations 410 520 2076

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