Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fish Report 2/18/14

Fish Report 2/18/14 
Heading Out For Tog Again 
Boat Show Past & Reef Raffles 
Letters Unanswered 

Tog Trip - Thursday, February 20th – 6:00AM to 5:00PM - $150.00 - 14 Anglers Sells Out.. 
Another Tog Trip on Saturday, 2/22/14 – Same Hours & Fare - Expect A Very Long Run.. 
The fishing hasn't been all that, but its the best I can offer.. 
If you're looking for a lot of action – look elsewhere. 
This is cold-heart of winter toggin & can be very tough. Skunks always possible.

Reservations For Tautog Trips at 410 - 520 - 2076 — They Answer 24/7. 
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Are Common - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way.. 

We provide green crabs. You're welcome to bring any kind of crab you like – even lobster, even plastic. 


No Live Fish Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live-Fish Black Market Has Hurt The Tog Fishery, But Not As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulation)
Agreed With Or Not, All Regulations Observed – Maryland: 4 Tog @ 16 Inches – Sea Bass Are Closed. 

Bring A (not terribly big) Fish Cooler With ICE (or fresh snow) For Your Party.. A 48 QT Cooler Is Good For 2 Guys. Even Now You Should ICE Fresh Fish.. 
Be A Half Hour Early - We Like To Leave Early.
Clients Arriving Late Will See The West End Of An East Bound Boat.. 

If You Won't Measure & Count Your Fish The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions!

8,460 "Oyster Castle" reef blocks by the rail – 2,476 at Jimmy's Reef – 1,588 at Ake's – 336 at Lindsey Power's Isle of Wight Reef.. 

A Wonderful Donation, Thanks Richard!! 

Check Out This Reef Raffle For Turner Sculpture! ocreefs.org Tickets Available By Contacting Marta Beman at ocreef@msn.com 
See the Reef Foundation's Website ocreefs.org if you'd care to help fund our reef building. Or snailmail a check – any check!

Ocean City Reef Foundation
P.O. Box 1072
Ocean City, MD 21843 

My @mediacombb email address is a memory. Please use mhawkins@siteone.net for correspondence. Yes, its a very old address and fills w/spam occasionally.. 

Greetings All, 
Looking forward to fishing again. Been a while. 
Worked the Seaside Boat Show over Valentine's Weekend. Saw a lot of folks who had no idea we've got corals growing just a few miles out. 
Also saw regular readers of these reports who were glad to buy a t-shirt, new charts, or even a $100.00 raffle ticket. 
Yeah, that's a high-dollar raffle - but the sculpture's awesome! ..and there are only 250 tickets.
The winner gets to commission the table they want from Turner Sculpture – could be two smaller tables. 
Could even be 3 smaller pieces.. 
Buddy-up with someone & take a shot at it. 
Absolutely heirloom quality art. 

I'm working all the time on catch estimate issues. Am growing very frustrated that NOAA & Commerce haven't troubled themselves with a letter back to anyone who wrote. 
Now I'm writing my DC reps to see if they can get an answer. 

I'm also working the estimate issue from a 'fishery constituent' level – working with Council & Commission in hope they'll experiment with "for-hire percentage of the fishery triggers."
Because every state has a Party/Charter For-Hire fleet that always has a substantial portion of the sea bass/tautog landings, its entirely reasonable to assume that there are percentages which would not normally be exceeded. 
For instance, the NY party/charter fellows I've written to think when sea bassing's good to excellent, private boats might catch the same as for-hire. But when fishing's tough, as it was this year post-Sandy, that percentage would fall to just 50% of the for-hire total. Because last year's Private Boat landings are about twenty-one times the For-Hire estimate, there should have been triggers tripped. 
Yet MRIP holds NY's private boat fishers had their best landings EVER last summer, even though NY's professional party/charter captains factually had a much tougher sea bass season than normal.. 
The only trigger that's been tripped so far is for sea bass regulation to tighten because we're "over-quota."

One of my letters today is included below. One. 
Write this lady your thoughts – Write your Senators & Congressional Rep too. 

Dr. Kathy Sullivan 
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW 
Room 5128 
Washington, DC 20230

In a couple months the same skippers who never lift a finger will begin to find out we've lost another half-month of sea bass season. (or more!) They'll plead ignorance when their clients have 20 or 25 fish but the limit is down to 15. 
They'll wonder aloud why nothing's getting done 
..and have done nothing. 

By catch restriction we manage human extraction – the human removal of fish from our waters. 
If we are to truly claim an ability to manage fish and not just extraction, I would think our greatest management tool is forced spawning. 
To honestly become Fishery Restorationists, however, we must also restore complex bottom habitats & return blue waters to the Mid-Atlantic via oyster reef restoration. 

By improving our waters & hardbottoms we'll catch more fish. 

Ain't got time to do nothing
Will write. 
Hope you do too.


Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

(Dear Senator, Congressperson, Office Staff) 
My fishing clients & I have been asking NOAA why fishery managers are still being forced to use really, really bad MRIP recreational catch estimates to determine if recreational fishers have gone over-quota on sea bass. 
Specifically, just this past year, in one instance among many, NY private/rental boats are estimated to have caught more sea bass in two summer months than the entire Atlantic Coast's recreational for-hire fleet caught ALL YEAR! They are said to have made this all-time record high catch when NY's own partyboat/charterboat operators were, post-Sandy, factually having their second-worst summer of sea bass fishing in a decade. 
This assertion of private boat catch flies in the face of reality—no one in industry or management believes it*— yet the estimate stands firm & has sopped-up fully a quarter of the MAFMC's recreational 2013 sea bass quota: This one estimate is a large part of why we're accused of being over-quota; Is why our season's being cut again.  
Year after year there's just a handful of estimates that make no sense whatever – yet are used as-is to tighten regulation. 

(* Really, no one at all believes that catch estimate. But it' s being used anyway.) 

I hear Dr. Sullivan sent our comments down the ladder – but we've yet to hear from anyone. 

By my calculation, Private Boats landed a total of 93,688 sea bass within the MAFMC's sea bass governing region, from Cape Hatteras to New Hampshire. By MRIP's calculation Private Boats landed 1,000,504.. 
That puts us over quota, again. 
For catches that never actually occurred, again. 
And will force regulation to tighten owing solely to bad estimates, again. 

Why is this so hard to fix? 
Capt. Monty Hawkins

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