Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fish Report 12/10/14

Fish Report 12/10/14 
Outstanding Bite 
Toggin For Science & A Cbass Trip
The Meeting 
Lily Tomlin Lays It On The Line

Going Tog Fishing Monday, Dec 15th & Tuesday, Dec 16th - $110.00 - Ten Anglers Sells Out (There will be more biologists aboard as well.) These are special permit trips for research. Anglers will be allowed at least a 4 fish MD limit (if they can catch them!)

Sea Bass Fishing Wednesday, 12/17/14 - 6AM to 3:30 - $125.00 - Will Close For The Holidays Afterward. May do another sea bass trip before tog season opens January 1st ..and cbass close until mid-May because the Grady-White monster ate the entire recreational quota again. 

All Winter Trips Announced Via Email Only. Times, Prices & Species Will Vary. 

Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - 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..  

It's Winter! Wear Boots, Not Sneakers! Fingerless Wool Or Thin Fleece-Lined Waterproof Gloves With Handwarmers Tucked Into The Palms Make For A Comfortable Day..

Be a half hour early! We always leave early! 
..except when someone shows up right on time. 
Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east bound boat. 

Dramamine Is Cheap Insurance! Crystalized Ginger Works Great Too. It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure.  
If You Suffer Mal-de-Mer In A Car You Should Experiment On Shorter Half-Day Trips First! 

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For A Few People. 
Bring Lunch & Your Refreshment – No Galley. Bring A Fish Towel Too.. 

If You Will Not Count & Measure Your Fish, The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Fish By The Rules - No Exceptions!! 

The OC Reef Foundation Aims To Build Its Single Largest & Most Expensive Concrete Reef Deployment Ever. Progress Is Being Made In Getting Bids. The Capt Bob Gowar Reef Will Become A Cornerstone Of Our Nearshore Reef Restoration Efforts. (even if it's early next year!)

10,747 Reef Blocks by the rail – 3,000 at Jimmy Jackson's – 2,136 at Doug Ake's – 1,182 at Saint Ann's – 558 at Eagle Scout Reef - 557 at Lindsey's Isle of Wight Reef and, just begun, 139 at the Brian Sauerzopf Memorial Reef.. 

Greetings All, 
Fishing for sea bass has been outrageously good. I'm serious when I tell you we've had a bare hook bite these last few trips. 
Such a "coincidence;" I had MD's top-top fish numbers guy, and now-retired, MD's most knowledgable biologist on recreational release mortality aboard last Friday. We caught lots of sea bass on big silver circle-hooks - with no bait. Others were having a ball with a hammered gold jig. We caught a boat limit, which means we also had a lot of throw backs, and saw not one sea bass float away dead.

I'd invited these scientists because some managers twirl about arm-waving, "Sea bass all die when thrown back!" ..but these scientists Friday didn't observe any mortality, even while fishing in 125 feet of water. We were fishing much deeper than most of the recreational fishery is conducted. 

I've been fighting "they all die" mentality since 1992.. That's why I tagged so many back in the 1990s & urged Congressman Gilchrest to fund a NOAA tagging study - which happened in spades. Tags reveal much, but our system remains ignorant, so disappointingly ignorant. 
I was at the Joint ASMFC/MAFMC meeting Wed 12/10/14. Recitations given in utmost  certainty concerning recreational harvest; what is really staffer's shorthand for the entire spectrum of an MRIP catch estimate--where just a centerpoint represents the whole estimate; today centerpoints are always used as an absolute. 
"We Have Been Unable To Constrain Recreational Catch," said one senior manager.  

The worst sea bass estimate of 2014 is Massachusetts' Private Boat estimate. Quick & easy, like an abbreviation, that estimate is given thusly: MA Private Boats Caught 794,000 Pounds Of Sea Bass So Far In 2014. 
But every statistician I have ever talked with, except one, has told me the true estimate is "They caught ANYWHERE between 245,000 & 1,343,000 Pounds Of Sea Bass." 
Pretty big difference. 
NOAA & NMFS won't budge. They use centerpoints. Their scientists are too busy to try and decide anything else. 
For an Agency tasked with using "The Best Scientific Information Available" ..sure looks to me as though "most convenient use of scientific info" or "whatever suits us" is where they prefer to be. 

It happens that all US Party/Charter Boats are estimated to have caught 65,000 fewer pounds than just those Massachusetts Private Boats. 

Think about that. Picture a map of the US. Get a pointy-sharp pencil and put a tiny dot just below Cape Cod. 
Now circle all the coastline between Maine & Louisiana.
Massachusetts Grady-Whites & Boston Whalers between Cape Cod & Rhode Island caught more than all US For-Hire boats in all Gulf & Atlantic waters. 
Pretty Neat Trick. 
Could only happen in a statistic.

Coastal Fisherman's graphic artist, Tom Jock, & I worked up an ad (?) to run this winter. It pokes some serious fun at bad estimates - but it's a real set of estimates.

Look, were it not for truly heroic efforts of some in management, and I'm going to single-out Maryland's Mike Luisi as this fishery's Capt. Sullenberger - landing safely in the Hudson when NOAA seems hell-bent on crash & burn, and although Luisi's scarcely alone; I believe sea bass fishing would already be a memory if left to data-zombies to manage alone. 

I am absolutely convinced NOAA will not suffer our intrusion into their world. Its their data, their catch-estimates, and they'll decide how to use them: as statisticians would have, or not, makes no difference. 
It's their fishery; the King's fish - how dare I cast their Brand New Estimating System in poor light.  
Year-after-year-after-year: the same messed up data with the same messed up results. 
Send a letter; just send the comment below - Write to your representatives in DC. Tell them there's been no repair whatever to recreational catch data. We need managers to be able to use the whole estimate - all of it. We need managers to use their mind and common-sense to decide if the truth lays above or below the centerpoint  ..and not a system dead-set on using centerpoint-only management.

Fisheries restoration can not move forward so long as we're stuck in this rut. 
Won't take a new law, no legislation; DC needs to remind NOAA that statisticians, also Ph.Ds & Professors, intend for fishery scientists to use MRIP's statistics in their full spread - in their true "Best Available Science" format. 
It happens to be one which requires thought. 
That's why it's called Fishery Management..

My Regards,

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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