Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fish Report 5/30/09

Fish Report 5/30/09
Sea Bass & The Bite
Still Openings For Fisheries Personnel 
Hi All,
The sea bass bite was considerably better a few days this week.. Maybe it was the fog.
Probably not, but that's how it played.
Today's positively huge school of sea bass - biggest I've seen in years - rapidly petered into a   s  l  o  w   bite. Ones we did catch had bellies full of krill.
Wonder if anyone's ever done a fisher success study based on prey abundance. Guarantee there's a correlation.
Very glad to have it as a 'problem'. Fat and hearty, these fish are going to spawn well.
And, unlike the early 2000's, the majority of throwbacks appear to be in the spawning class.
All sea bass start female. (Yup, weird fish stuff.) As I recall, one study had some females transitioning to male just a few weeks after the large males were removed in an aquarium setting.
Earlier this decade the smallest male sea bass we'd see would be +-14 inches. Now we're seeing 8 inch fish fully transitioned.
Took a lot more than a few weeks to work through our region's sub-stock though. Finding out why is key to managing mid-Atlantic sea bass for abundance.
Consistently getting everyone dinner & lots of throw-backs. Occasionally making them glad for the rest on our homeward journey.
Always nice to have the gals on board, especially when they bring fishing talent; better still, luck!
Thursday's grizzled veterans were still muttering.. Eh, maybe the regulars on the stern conspired to keep as many shorts away from Cathy as they could. Fishing and chivalry hand-in-hand? Or was that a tear I saw when she caught her fifth keeper double..
A few weeks earlier I heard a many-year veteran of the Chesapeake swear he'd never fish between two women again. He might not either.
What a thrashing the ladies gave that day.
No limits this week. Certainly would have had many with last year's size limit.
Lots of dinners.
Tropical Depression #1 formed off the coast. We only lost one day to it and that before it was declared TD1.
Strange thing was spiny dogfish were near about gone - yet came right back with the blow.
Colder on the bottom I think. Caught a keeper codfish, a throwback too. Personal trial that, had to tag my only cod in years.
34 inch striper too - its GPS clearly malfunctioning; bit on a sea bass rig in almost 125 feet of water. That's way-way outside the 3 mile Marine Protected Area for stripers. Put that one back as well.
Have 4 or 5 Fisheries folks lined up for June 8th. Room for a few more.
I booked out the stern so that we can measure and release sea bass into lanes graded by size. Float times and release mortality..
So far there's very few fishers signed up. Regular price trip that leaves at 6:30am and returns when the science crew threatens mutiny.
Trip's free to federal or any state's fisheries personnel, though they may hear more about habitat and stock grooming than they'd care for.
I aim to generate some data - have to catch fish to do it. Legal ones are not part of the study and should be fried golden brown.
Meanwhile, put some keepers in the box, throw some back.
Makes a day - 7 days a week.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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