Friday, May 15, 2009

Fish Report 5/15/09

Fish Report 5/15/09
Sea Bass - A Limit
Spiny Dogfish
Tale of Tautog
Eleven Summer Flounder
Hi All,
Friday, May 15, 2009 - a passenger caught a 25 fish limit.
Someone probably hit a big jackpot at the Dover slots too.
The new 12 1/2 size makes it tough.
Definitely sending all home with enough for a big fish fry - rarely have to count what's in the cooler though.
This fishing beats the heck out of grinding fiberglass.
It does not beat the sea bassing earlier this decade. You know, before there were creel limits and the legal size was just starting to mosey up towards twelve inches.
Management ought to seriously ponder that. Might be some other tools beside the recreational fishers' shock collar/choke chain of more restriction.
Dogfish, devilish scourge of the Mid-Atlantic, seem to be thinning. Not wishing them on fishers to our north - won't miss 'em either. Mid-May is extremely late for spinys here. Good riddance.
That, I expect, also explains the less than robust start to this spring's sea bassing. Not that the spiny sharks were scaring/preying upon/competing for prey with sea bass, but that the water temp suited the gray devils and even a few early May codfish.
Colder on the bottom. Some sea bass would chew - the rest shiver.
Better bite today.
Once in a lifetime overhaul took me out of the loop for toggin' this winter.
We've nicked just enough to remind me that I miss it. Next year.
On the dock I listen while a great angler describes losing a dandy last week.
I know the pain.
Next day I watch as another skilled fisher breaks off the perfect tog. Already a 13 pounder in the box - this next fish could not be stopped on 50 pound.
Really, these guys are on point, yet this species...
Got the rod holders mounted. Spots 1, 20 & 23 have vanished like the southern stocks of scup, red hake and Atlantic mackerel.
Only amounts to a few more inches per spot, sometimes a foot, but its a big difference. Nice.
The lost fish are attributed to warmer water - couple degrees. Horse feathers. I think its colder on the bottom. Ice melt flows down coast with the Labrador current..
Habitat fidelity renders 'coastal stock assessments' nearly useless in restoration. Act local - restore coastal. Warm water is not why scup/ling/mackerel have left - fishing is. It can be fixed.
So I was at a meeting. Missed a bunch of 'em this winter; made this one.
"No one was whining and crying about these numbers." as she pointed to some fairly realistic catch estimates from past years.
My head almost exploded.
Near as I can tell we have this fall flounder closure because two guys had 11 flounder for one MRFSS interview last year. Could be wrong about that. That's what I got.
Shore bound effort is fairly constant in the early fall. Same regulars. Same spots. None seem to recall catching 30 times what the party/charter guys caught in that period.
Statistically perfect, these shore bound anglers caught between 2000 and 60,000 some flatties. Unfortunately, managers have to use the mean - 30 some thousand.
Therefore, shore bound anglers did catch 30,000+ in September/October - that put Maryland way over their recreational flounder quota.
I tried to understand. I know Copernicus's proof was hard won, Einstein's 'light will be bent by gravity' too. Mathematics require proof - testing. 
If Pythagoras hadn't been right they'd have berated the heck out him - we sure wouldn't know of him today.
Yet the assertion that the center of this statistical spread is suitable for management is unquestioned and, apparently, unprovable.
Needs to be a test - a proof, something that will narrow the spread of the numbers.
Lot of talk about more interviews. Funding for same.
More kerosene to put out the fire.
Hammer at the data - where is the CPUE (catch per unit of effort)comparison from the fairly hard data of the charter/party fishers? Where in blazes is the computation of the number of participants?
Can it be that statistics simply 'are'; there's no proof required?
Can it be that managers will watch participants suffocate from such swill?
That's how it is now.
Think I'll go nick a few sea bass.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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