Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fish Report 3/23/11

Fish Report 3/23/11
Went Inshore
Going Offshore
Sea Bass Being Decided
Going Again Saturday & Sunday - Cod/Tog Trips - March 26 & 27 - Going Further, Deeper.
Saturday, 3/26: Leave 5:30 - Return 4:30(ish) - Fare $150.00  
Sunday, 3/27: Leave 6:30 - Return 3:30(ish) - Fare $110.00  
16 Head Sells Out Both Days - Reservations Required - Call 410 520 2076 - Weather Looks OK But Leave The Best Contact Number In Case It Changes.
Hi All,
Weatherman's been hitting his numbers real good, getting the winds right. I had to back-out on Monday's trip when they raised the wind forecast up. Glad of that. Hard rain & gusty winds are no fun.
Tuesday's winds too were increased but seemed doable for an inshore trip--Was.
Uncooperative, fussy scoundrels; Dogoned tautog. Still, Joe took everyone to school with a limit and a really well-grown over tag return.
Tagged a bunch of shorts & a single cod. Sent most home with dinner despite fighting a double north current again..
It's soon time for our inshore grounds--but wasn't Tuesday.
Back to deeper waters then this weekend, go further after this weather breaks; see if we can't put some pretty tog on the boat, tasty cod too. . . . . . . . .  
Hey Now!! I saw a "Private Boat" Thursday last. Saw the same boat again Saturday. Been watching.
You know why: Uncle Murfs sez those private boat guys KILLED the tog last spring. I've got to find out what wrecks they're going to. Must be a bunch of spots I very clearly don't know about.. The marine recreational fishing statistics survey, MRFSS, say Murfs -- they claim these stealthy small-boat scoundrels killed 18 some-thousand tog in March/April last year.
So I've got my eye on 'em..
The boat I saw, the very first recreational fishing boat I've seen in 2011, had chartreuse parachute lures rigged up, big bucktails for trolling.. 
This was -no doubt- a clever ploy to make me think they were striped bass fishing ..Eighteen Thousand Five Hundred & Eighty Seven tautog by MD boats in March & April last year. That the number that MUST be used by managers to assess whether over-fishing has taken place. Goose-egged so far: Boyz'd better get real busy in April if they're going to match last year's catch..
I do have excellent intel, however, that the shore fishers have started catching.
Quote: "Yeah, they had some tog.. If you put 'em all in a bucket and looked down you'd see lots of white."
Still, it appears that shore fishers are up on the private boats. Just deserts too! Last year MRFSS sez the shore guys were skunked in March/April -- While the private boats caught 18,587.. Boy Oh Boy: Angler effort sure is hard to predict.. . . . . . . . . . .
Back when regulations were just beginning there were no size limit pamphlets; Size, season & creel limits were entirely new to saltwater fishing. There was no means of getting information to the public so I'd go around to the tackle shops to collect $100.00 each and then make as many brochures as I had money for. We also had 'suggested limits' on those brochures for species like cod, trigger, king mackerel & spadefish. Every spring was a pain in the neck because the decisions of where "Over Fishing" had taken place and which states would now have greater restrictions would sometimes drag on & on; The Council & Commission would often have lengthy deliberations over upcoming regulations: I couldn't go to print without regulations decided.
Thankfully, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program & MD DNR took over the brochures years ago.
I wasn't the only one trying to go to print then, many hollered for better guidance, for clarification sooner of upcoming regulations. That --along with assertions by commercial fishers that 'recreational over-fishing wasn't being addressed'-- I believe created management's use of MRFSS center-points: The, "Here's the data-point we're going to use so quit'cher bellyachin' already or this will take forever" had begun..
All these many years, decades, crazy Uncle MRFSS has been deciding who the REAL over-fishing bandits are. My recent example of all anglers in DE catching 54 tog while Ocean City MD's private boats caught 18,587 is just the tip of that iceberg, the very tippy-tip: Flounder, bluefish, sea trout--all of 'em...
I'm very glad the sea bass regulations have taken so much time this year..
Errors in statistics are sometimes tolerable, acceptable--they can blend in harmlessly. You could, for instance, have a bit of cockroach poo in your vanilla ice cream and still taste the creamy goodness. After all, maybe those black flecks are vanilla bean.. With MRFSS catch-estimates our ice cream now has whole handfuls of cockroaches stirred in: MMMMM.. Crunch. 
Put enough cockroaches in a batch of ice cream and you got nothing; Enough giant errors in our catch estimates and you've got same.
The data that has been collected over the decades by field interviewers can be run through a different statistical model, a model that strains out the cockroaches before they ever mix with the cream & sugar.
This process has now begun with MRIP -- the Marine Recreational Information Program.
I don't know who made up the name but they're not fooling me.. The double entendre, the double meaning of MRIP is Mrfss Rest In Peace.
That's far kinder than I would wish..
This week decisions will be made about what to do with sea bass regulations. Perhaps the last pure MRFSS-derived decision ever for US Fisheries: Crunch, crunch, crunch..
Force-fed that nasty ice cream -falsely accused of over-fishing- we'll see if a plan can be approved that salvages some cbass fishing season for us.
We've done all we can in-system to fight these abbreviated seasons & emergency closures brought about by bad catch-estimates. We've even sought executive pardon all the way to the White House..
I really believe we've done all we could. Now it is for Commission & Council to decide.
Then, on April 12th, the Mid-Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council -with Dr. Chris Moore newly at the helm- will take-up deliberations on the recommendations of the Ecosystems Work-Shop last December..
MRFSS gone, MRIP in ..and Habitat considerations by the Council that never would.
Are we to now emerge from that darkness before dawn?
We'll see.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076

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