Monday, May 31, 2010

Fish Report 5/31/10

Fish Report 5/31/10
Some Limits of Sea Bass
Cbassing Nowhere Near Limits
West at 5 to 10
Memorial Day
Hi All ,
Last week we saw our first limits. Just a couple, but there they were. Earl was first in the 2 spot.
Crazy bite that day. Wasn't just sea bass; had a jumbo tog--pushing 15lbs, on sand-eel, another decent one on a hammered jig and a crazy-high sea bass release ratio.. Just a smoking hot bite.
Today's bite far more tempered, the initial few drops hot then tapering.. move to a different piece and do it again.
Had a guy using green crab get all grumpy because he didn't catch many cbass..
Sorry, but with rental rods and boat-bait doing just fine, I'd have to say that was self inflicted.
For now its sea bass only in the pool. Fish just shy of 4 pounds have been winning the money.
Caught our first summer flounder Memorial Day. The cbass-rig-clam-eating fluke was too small under modern regulation so swam away with a tag.
Really have to sort out those catch estimates; Get a sky-high flyer & size limits go needlessly up, seasons close.
Needs Fixin.
Been meaning to touch on what I hope is a continuing occurrence.. Started partyboat fishing in 1980 with Captain Orie Bunting. His office walls had newspaper clippings of codfish catches; He said 1974 was about the last of it before the fishery collapsed. These many years later; All winter long and up until today we have been catching small cod. Erik Zlokovitz, MD's artificial reef director, got me into a cod tagging program based at UMass Dartmouth. Didn't tag many with their kit, maybe 20 so far, but they'll sure be unusual returns should we have a recapture.
Also struck quite a few with the ALS tags that many of you have seen us use earlier in the year.
Despite my pleas, Maryland doesn't yet have a cod regulation so I enforce the 22 inch federal reg. All around us in the animal world, especially in fisheries, are recurrences of habitat fidelity. Releasing federally managed fish that have the pleasant genetic disposition to swim just below the Mason-Dixon line is probably a good thing if we want to ever revisit the day when men looked forward to winter cod trips in MD.
Must be making some progress up north; I'm pretty sure this was, in number, the most cod I've ever seen.....
West at 5 to 10 is a favorite forecast, called for just that last Thursday.
Weatherman's too funny sometimes..
Beautiful morning. Wow, what a ride home.
NE at 20+ will do that.
Managers today have no sense of our seafloor habitat at all, let alone scale--any sense of dimension. No one yet grasps the magnitude of habitat loss that I hold to have occurred in the unregulated surf-clam boom which coincided with the era of foreign factory & American trawling.. those cod were gone by '74 I'm told..
Vast sea whip meadows, sponges, tubeworm colonies, hard corals.. All lost.
The remaining fish knotted up on wrecks.
"You going wreck fishing Captain?"
Natural habitat long lost.
Almost lost: Weather and war tragedies, the shipwrecks & now artificial reef too preserved many species for a day when management might ponder where our reef dwellers lived before the first ship sank.. a day when real fisheries restoration might begin and the needless pain of endless catch restriction ease.
Of these huge areas of corals & whips which were vital to the fisheries in the era before precise electronic navigation some few patches remain: Need to get discovered, restored & managed..
Any hope of rebuilding reef-fish populations of years past without the reef footprint that existed then is irrational, truly senseless: Futile.
Yet it's all so repairable.
We just have to see & then act.....
Memorial weekend come & gone; Boat race insanity, revelers celebrating some personal liberty, traffic & parking snarls; It always amazed me when I lived in OC that come Tuesday morning you could roll the sidewalks up and not harm a soul.
Those that reflect on the real Memorial Day know a different feeling than an Alka-Seltzer wake-up.. Uncles, Friends; Charlie Ruffner who cleaned fish with me for almost 15 years & served as a combat engineer in Africa & Europe--Opened up the beaches on D-Day: And Henry, a guy that strapped a flame-thrower to his back on Iwo who tried to teach me fisheries politics.
Among the many sounds of freedom: Taps.
My deepest respect & gratitude.
Thank You....
Fishing's but one way to enjoy their hard won freedoms.
See you on the rail.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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