Friday, June 07, 2013

Fish Report 6/7/13

Fish Report 6/7/13 
Cbass: Steady If Not Great 
Hooked On OC 
Victories Of All Sizes 

Closes June 10th — COMMENT!

X-Long Cbass June 13th 5:30 to 4:30 - $150.00 — Big Boat Ride — Relentless Anglers Preferred!  

Sailing Everyday 
Reservations For Sea Bass Trips at 
410 - 520 - 2076. 
See much more info at 
Regular 8 Hr trips $110.00 - 7AM to 3PM – Saturdays 6AM to 3:30PM - $125.00 
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Are (far too!) Common - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way.. 

Be A Half Hour Early - We Like To Leave Early.
Clients Arriving Late Will See The West End Of An East Bound Boat..  

5,020 'Oyster Castle' Reef Blocks By The Rail — 1,498 @ Jimmy's Reef — Now 496 @ Ake's Reef And Growing..

Hi All, 
It was comforting to come across a section of reef & paint many sea bass 10 to 30 feet up in the water on my depth sounders; great to see schools of cbass up off the bottom. When we anchored they followed our baits down and CHEWED for a while. 
Happened a couple times this week. 
Everyone likes drop & reel fishing — especially the captain..
Mostly though we're still, and will remain, working for a catch. 
Sending very nearly everyone home with dinner plus a few. Every once in a while someone will push into the high teens. 
Catching a lot of fish & keeping dinner. 

Did have a young man catch two flounder. One was a keeper, the first filleted on my rig this year.
Hoping for a good season on fluke/flounder. Should start biting well in a few weeks. 

Still seeing a couple ling (red hake) almost every day. That's a huge increase from recent years past. Scientists blame our region's ling demise on climate change. 
Odd: I think water's warming is mostly up-top thus far – on the surface; that we often have cooler than average bottom temps as ice-melt waters seep low & south..  

Local TV show, Hooked On OC, came out not long ago. I'd invited them aboard for a reef-run of blocks and to do a little tog fishing.. 
We had a good time – tagged a few tog. 
Although I've known the host many years, it almost seemed as though Scott didn't believe my website: No GPS Units Allowed – They'll Be Float Tested. 
Or maybe the boys were fooling me with an old phone.. 
I think Tucker had something to do with it. 


The boat's sailing extra-light with people during the week while I'm canceling sold-out trips for weather on weekends. What could go wrong? 
Ahh, it'll come around.. 

I think of the spirited determination, the tenacity, that has shaped history and know we can overcome these small obstacles in our path to making fishing better-than-ever while still making a living. 
Not every instance is as well-studied as Churchill's leadership in summer/fall 1940 during the Battle of Britain. In fact, a young lady named Hailey made a lifelong impression on me years ago aboard the OC Princess.  

While catching we often see people who, having succeeded, are now stymied—completely flummoxed—as to how to get a fish off the hook. Ranging from "I paid for service and demand it" (folks who, deckhands around the world will testify, deeply misunderstand the nature of their tip-oriented world) to anglers experiencing mild fear or simply don't know how..
No worries, we're here to help. Especially for a young lady such as Hailey, maybe 10 or 11 years old back in the mid-1990s, who had one arm. 
But she adamantly refused help; was determined to get her fish off by herself — which she did. 

An amazing display of resolute character: I'm certain it went far deeper than a day's fishing. 

Now friend to our grass roots lobbying efforts, Jack C, rebounds from cancer to celebrate hard-fought wellness with a fishing trip. High hook by far — Good To Have You Back Jack.. 


Speaking of determined; Here's an opportunity for you to comment on a fishery regulation  in consideration at MD DNR. 

Year after year a fellow has petitioned DNR to lower the commercial hook & line size limit on flounder to be the same as trawl or gillnet bycatch. 
By all appearances a recreational fisher, he somehow secured a commercial license & wants to keep everything he catches above 14 inches with the 'bycatch loophole' that was sewn-shut to hook & line back in 2002. 
As it happens, the regulation under consideration would allow commercial hook & line flounder catch at 14 inches between 1 and 3 miles offshore – but not in the back-bays or in federal waters where a moratorium permit would be required. 

..perhaps we ought not admire persistence in every endeavor. 

Consider sending an email to the address below with this comment: 

Subject Line: 
Hook & Line SFL

MD DNR should not reopen hook & line commercial regulations for flounder. 
Furthermore; MD DNR should make clear that the bycatch allowance of 100 pounds a day was allowed in good faith by MD commercial summer flounder permit holders. It was never these fishers intent that "allowable bycatch" quota set-aside would become used in a directed fishery. MD DNR Fisheries should ensure that existing participants' quota be protected from those seeking to exploit loopholes; That the bycatch allowance be just that: A way to allow flounder caught in another fishery that would otherwise become dead discards—wasted, to be sold instead. 
MD DNR should consider that because there is virtually no dead-discard bycatch in the rod and reel summer flounder fishery, the bycatch allowance should be entirely suspended from this fishery thereby preventing unnecessary use of precious commercial quota. 

Sign It

Write Soon!
The public comment period closes at 4:00 p.m. on June 10, 2013. Please email: 

The Omnibus Amendment for Recreational Accountability Measures I wrote of and encouraged comment on some weeks/months back comes before Council next week. 
If you're really into it, a letter to your state's Mid-Atlantic Council reps encouraging them to pass strong reform of how recreational catch estimates are used would be good. The  upcoming meeting will decide how catch estimates are used to create emergency closures and also "pay back" overages.. It remains that we could see all of 2014's cbass season lost to "pay back" regulation.. 
Businesses, management; the very foundations of fishery science & goal of Fisheries Restoration: All are encumbered by regulation forged from bad data, all are held down and smothered by using the most fantastic assertions of catch imaginable. 
We need the Omnibus Amendment to pass, to protect recreational fisheries from bad catch estimates.

While at the Managing Our Nations Fisheries 3 conference some weeks back I heard a panelist say 'Its not a strait-forward equation that X amount of habitat equals X number of fish.' 
True enough, I thought at the time. There are all manner of vagaries affecting fish populations – lots of them, not the least of which is fishing pressure. 
But the poison in it became apparent later — many present may well have filed the statement mentally by reducing it to "habitat does not equal fish." 
Habitat does equal fish — Reef may not equal the same amount of fish at all times — but, given any level of regulation, reef does equal fish at all times. 
Reef is absolutely necessary to have reef fish populations — any population. 
Indeed, it should be said that reef is required in order to have reef fish regulation: What possible need would there be to regulate species for which there is no habitat? 

Well… for regulatory purposes at least, here in the Mid-Atlantic all our reef fish live on shipwrecks & artificial reefs. 
Looking at the essential fish habitat guidelines will further direct you to "sand & shell substrates preferred."  
Still working on getting those reefs found that were here before the first ship ever sank.. 

Fisheries science is called upon to 'restore' our many species. Yet fed only a diet of bad recreational catch estimates & implausible habitat assertions, It's Bound To Falter. 

So as not to fail ..we made more fish this week. 
More habitat anyway. 
It'll have fish on it soon enough. 

Unlike in the Gulf of Mexico where it appears BOEM believes reef-fish living on reefs with an oil-rig substrate, fish living on steel, do not spawn; that BOEM believes Gulf artificial reefs & reef fish offer nothing to fisheries production and those reefs should be removed because they have no bearing on the Magnuson Act's intent to preserve, protect & enhance Essential Fish Habitat. 
Unlike the Gulf, here in the Mid-Atlantic we only have wrecks and artificial reef—nothing natural: It must therefore be that ALL our reef-fisheries' production occurs upon man-made substrates; that here all spawning takes place on artificial substrates.. 

Although the above paragraph is an accurate representation of how reef habitat is being governed, readers can see it as an illustration of what can happen when sound logic is fed bad information.. 

Hope to soon have links to new HD video that will cause a rethinking of the "no natural reef" argument in these parts. 

We did increase the amount of substrate available for naturally occurring corals & mussels to attach too this week. 
OC Reef Foundation put a barge-load of concrete pipe right on target at Ake's Reef 4.5 NM SE Ocean City Inlet. 
Almost adjacent to the last bargeload of pipe & nearly hitting the steel boat we sank last November; Ake's Reef footprint was expanded. 
We'll do it again soon. 
Get out to Jimmy's too. 

Ours is a small barge, but four bargeloads since spring is a great start on 2013. 
See to contribute, or just play the Reef Raffle when you're aboard. 

See you on the rail.. 


Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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