Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fish Report 1/11/12

Fish Report 1/11/12
New State Record
Hooked On OC
C'mon MRIP
Tog Trips - Maybe! - Weather Forecast Is Changing Hourly - January 14, 15, 16 & 17 - Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday - 7am to 3pm - Green Crabs Provided - $100.00 - Twelve Sells-Out.  Reservations Required at 410 520 2076.
Hi All,
Sunday & Monday were tough. We had a couple limits but it was grind-it-out toggin. Some clients, even very skilled clients, had dead-slow fishing.   
Tuesday was a dream day with a very light crowd: Warm, Calm and a Steady Bite. The pool winner was a tagged release of 26 inches.  
Wednesday we caught a boat limit and were in very early with a new state record..
Charlie Donahue broke Sam Beauchamp's Maryland state record with a 23 pound tog on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012.
Sakes, what a beast.

Light east wind, cloudy; fish feeding before the blow.. Ben had the first limit of nice tog at 9:02.
Charlie, fishing in Dennis' usual spot, was using a Penn Squall 15 reel loaded with 65 pound braid on a St. Croix stick. Mate Mike had rigged his 50 pound clear topshot with a snafu; whole green crab for bait.
I saw him bow into the fish; knew it was big ..rod straight up, tip straight down - thumping..
Several skilled anglers lost nice fish this week; Alex caught a dandy at 16 1/4 pounds.  
This fight was different.
Ritch flawless with the net; Charlie's 23.0 pound bull was weighed on Ake Marine's certified scale & witnessed by MD DNR biologist Steve Doctor. He took an operculum to age the fish & inspected it internally: We're sure it was a male and that it was, ah, 'unleaded.'
And, yes, the fish was caught at an artificial reef site.
Video should be up on Coastal Fisherman's website by Friday.
TV Show - Hooked on OC - Filmed on the Morning Star Saturday, 1/7/12 or YouTube search "unscenepro" and click on "Togging on the Rip. Episode #117"
Cameraman Dave Messick also did the edits for my video essay, "Maryland Corals."
Lots of Ocean City fishing shows there...
Below the fold; Mate Mike boated the first Maryland cod of 2012 on Monday. Caught it on a hammered gold jig. Lonely fellow; we tagged it with an SMAST t-bar and sent it back.
Been averaging 35 ALS tags a day on tog, almost all of them legal fish that we could have kept.   
Fishing hard, I haven't hit any natural reef in months it seems, just accidental wrecks, U-Boat sinkings & artificial reef covered in growth..
Cod, sea bass, red hake, summer flounder, tautog, sheepshead, spadefish, triggerfish, lobster, pollock, scup.. All on man-made reef habitat.
The reason I'm not fishing natural reef habitat is because there ain't none left.
Just tiny patches where there were square miles..
Environmentalists roll their eyes, Managers laugh out loud, "Guess what guys! Fishermen think the recreational catch estimates are bad! Fishermen are complaining about the data! Ha! What Else Is New!"
LOL & roll their eyes.. certain the catch data's good enough, positive that catch regulations alone will restore our nation's fisheries.
I'll include a few of those 'certain' data sets below.
Putting faith in our present recreational catch data is like believing Marshall Applewhite, the guy who was so sure, so certain, a spaceship was following Comet Hale-Bopp that he returned a telescope as faulty because he couldn't see his UFO.
Positive the telescope was defective and not his own beliefs & visions, He and all his followers at Heaven's Gate committed suicide so their souls could catch a ride..
Used to be square miles of natural live bottom. Now there are square yards.
Quite nearly the only marine reef communities that survived the post WWII rise of unregulated industrial dredging & trawling were shipwrecks; Almost all of our natural reefs were scraped away by 1980.
In fact, I believe a substantial portion were lost by the early 60s.  
We have pictures taken in the 70s of gigantic soft corals from Mid-Atlantic canyons. Now the same gear that can find life 6 miles down off Antarctica can't find corals here in 100 fathoms..
My video work of corals in 100 feet of water is just ignored.
Where the vast majority of reef fish were caught on natural reef prior to 1970, now the vast majority are caught on man-made reef.
I think that's important. Management won't even consider it.
EFH, The Essential Fish Habitat section of The Magnuson Act is written "To The Extent Practicable."
That's legislative speak for, "Ha! Don't worry about it!"
Where fish Feed, Grow to Maturity & Spawn in the ocean is a legislative joke. In almost 15 years I've found no goverment agency willing to take our region's corals seriously. (search YouTube "Maryland Corals" for my most recent video essay)
I've written NOAA, NMFS, Congress & the White House. As early as 2001 I sent video of live-bottom corals to Congress. I made several more videos and have written many, many more essays.
The need for regulation is real. We understand we can't keep all our fish like in the bad old days.
But coral is real too.
Temperate Mid-Atlantic Reefs are real.
Oyster & Estuarine hardbottoms are real.
Submerged grasses. 
Tube worms..
EFH is real. Fish do Feed, Grow to Maturity & Spawn in these habitats.
Management has not acted on habitat: Not in the ocean.
These real catch estimates below are wrong -- crazy way wrong.  
New Jersey's shore fishermen did not catch 72,000 tog in April, 2010. Massachusetts private boat fishers did not kill 1,500,000 cod in April, 2010. Maryland shore fishers did not catch 36,000 flounder in Sept/Oct, 2007. These and so very many other assertions of "overfishing" are what trip recreational catch-limit quotas. Falsely accused of being over-quota, fishers experience ever greater catch restriction.
Maryland party/charter did not catch "Zero" sea bass in May/June 2010 either. But we ALL did send in daily catch reports telling management how many we actually caught.
It was a lot more than zero, but zero is the official estimate.  
Catch estimates used to set quota, we for-hire fishers get caught by under-estimates too.  
Fishery Management is about many more things than catch restriction.
Building & protecting reef is every bit as important.
Management's willing to ignore that.
Fewer people fishing, fewer businesses that survive: In Your Bunks and Drink Your Tea, Here Comes The Spaceship!
Fishery Restoration Demands Habitat Restoration.
The new recreational catch data that was supposed to be done by Jan 1, 2009 --three years ago & before Annual Catch Limits were fully employed-- is due out Friday, January 13, 2012.
Perhaps this new MRIP program, these new recreational catch estimates, will force management to ponder other methods of fishery restoration.
Habitat & habitat fidelity are key.
Engineered habitat and savvy management utilizing regional fish population quotas & spawning site fidelity can build incredible fish populations, numbers of fish far beyond 'restored.'
Catch regulation will be part of that too.
Just a few recreational catch data sets below. There are many more.. 
Ignore the PSE column, no one can use it.
I think management's in place that can change it, I know Dr. Moore & Rick Robbins at the MAFMC are willing to consider habitat assertions - go to MAFMC Visioning and sound off.. 
My plan:
Build Big Rock Reefs.
Fish Thrive There.
Data sets below.
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Reservation Line 410 520 2076 
Species: ATLANTIC COD - Massachusetts - Private Boats Only - Mar/April  (March was closed by regulation in 2010) Here I'm Showing  All Fish Caught Including Throwbacks Because in 2011 NMFS scientists decided to use Recreational Discards as 100% Dead Discards, To Count Them ALL Against The Gulf of Maine Region's Quota..
This April 2010 Estimate Is the Most Miraculous MRFSS Assertion I've Yet Seen
..and possibly the most damaging.
2004 2,663 69.5
2005 429,200 44.8
2006 55,916 32.9
2007 167,862 35.9
2008 180,518 37.5
2009 87,294 48
2010 1,467,493 39.3
Species: SUMMER FLOUNDER - Maryland Shore Fishers Only/No Boat Catch - Sept/Oct Only
2002 874 100
2003 978 100
2004 0 0
2005 12,773 58.8
2006 0 0
2007 36,017 48.4
2008 14,962 51.8
2009 0 0
2010 0 0
2011 1,806 100
Species: TAUTOG - Maryland Private Boats Only - March/April from 2002 to 2011 -- Years Absent Are Zero
2002 613 100.1
2007 12,482 76.8
2008 1,350 0
2009 3,319 100
2010 18,572 23.8
Species: TAUTOG - NJ - Mar/Apr - Shore Fishers Only - All Years From 2001 to 2011 - Absent Years are Zero
2005 0 0
2009 6,835 100
2010 71,756 70.2
Species: BLACK SEA BASS - NY - Private Boat Only - Sept/Oct
2005 7,749 50.3
2006 58,398 32.7
2007 42,352 25.7
2008 54,352 34.7
2009 105,256 45.1
2010 325,074 24.4
2011 52,918 48.2
Species: BLACK SEA BASS - Rhode Island - Private Boat Only - May & June
2005 6,160 57.2
2006 1,975 70.4
2007 3,601 43
2008 0 0
2009 989 90.4
2010 36,182 50.7
2011 0 0
Species: BLACK SEA BASS - Massachusetts - May/June - Private Boats Only
2005 53,349 32.3
2007 28,281 85.3
2008 65,376 29.1
2009 26,827 38.9
2010 221,028 31.3
2011 70,305 31.6

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