Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fish Report 7/23/15

Fish Report 7/23/15 
Fluke/Flounder Rule 
The Meeting 
Acoustic Blues 

Special Fluke/Flounder Trip - Sunday - July 26th - 6:30AM to 4PM - $125.00 - Long Run Likely - Looking to get over good fish. 20 sells out. Reservations Required.. 

Sailing For Sea Bass & Flounder (called Fluke from NJ north). 
Absolutely Cannot Predict Which Species Will Bite Better On Any Given Day. Very Firmly: If you positively want one species & not the other you can watch the gut bucket to see which day would have been best for you. Fishing has been OK, which is always better than not fishing at all. Sending almost every party home with a fish fry's worth at least - but it requires work. We cannot know what will bite better on any given day until the bite is over. 

Saturdays 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 – Otherwise 7 to 3 at $110.00. Sundays Off Through Summer. (Unless I want to go fishing. In that case I'll open the boat to reservations!) 
Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - On My Rig You Can Reserve What Spot You're In. Please See For How The Rail's Laid Out..
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..  

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. With a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you over-slept or had a flat..

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! (Wockenfuss Candies sells crystalized ginger locally - Better is Nuts.Com.. Chewable Meclizine is a good pharmaceutical with Scopolamine Patches the gold standard.) For Anglers With Known Issues Dramamine & Meclizine Work Best If Treatment Begins The Night Before..
Honestly - If you get to go on the ocean once month, once a year, or even less; why risk chumming all day? Similarly, if you howl at the moon all night, chances are good you'll howl into a bucket all day.  

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For A Few People. Do Not Bring A Very Large Cooler. We DO have a few loaners - you'll still need ice. 
No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.  

Small-scale reef building that adds up over time; We've recently reloaded the block pile with 90 pound reef blocks. Now 11,672 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites. Active presently are Doug Ake's Reef with 2,255 - St. Ann's 1,349 - Al Giles Barge 458 - Eagle Scout Reef 636 - Sue's Drifting Easy Reef 50 - And 480 at Nichols' Concrete. 

Please Sponsor Our Larger-Scale Reef Building At - Thank You! 

Greetings All, 
Fishing has not been unkind. We're seeing a few limits of flounder almost everyday. Except the day we caught no flounder at all - just sea bass. 
It's not cane-pole, tie the line around your toe fishing. You have to work at the bite. 
Some folks really enjoy it. 
I know I do.

What has been unkind is year after year of acoustic surveys in the Maryland wind area. I detailed several experiences with sub-bottom profilers, a type of ground penetrating radar if you will, in my 6/27/15 fish report. These electronic instruments turn feeding off in sea bass & flounder. 

I mean completely off. 

I can see the bite noticeably diminish at 6 NMs. With a survey boat at 3 NMs our reef fish will not feed. 

The wind area is about 100 sq miles. The extent of acoustic impact goes well outside those dimensions. 
A survey is comprised of a miles-long line every 30 meters. 
It takes a long time to complete a survey. 

Maryland spent I couldn't gue$$ on a survey in 2013. That boat was back again last year for a while. In previous years there had been other surveys. This year the area was surveyed again. 

I'm in. Wind power is something we ought to have. It is NOT going to be Julie Andrews singing in the Alps about the sound of music, however. It's big, industrial equipment that puts a lot of folks to work. 
What I'm trying to avoid is wind power putting me out of work. 

Not doing too good yet. 
You see, A SURVEY (one) is inconvenient. Yeah, OK, it turns off the bite. But fish start feeding again when the equipment moves on. And stop feeding again when the equipment comes back. Miles & miles - a "mowing the grass" pattern every 30 meters. Feed On - Feed Off. 
I don't think anyone knew multiple surveys over multiple years would do what I think has occurred off our coast. 

I believe a lot of fish said "Screw it. This habitat's no good." 
They've left the wind area & surrounding region. Period. 
At least it sure looks that way right now. 

Survey boat just got done. 
Soon I'll have to get out the video gear again. Go take a look. Compare. 

Was at a meeting Tuesday, an "Ecosystems & Habitat Advisory Panel" meeting. 
Uncle John says, "When you look around the table and don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy." 
So I cancelled a trip in JULY to go to a meeting held by my friends who cancel so many other trips for me. 
Lots & lots of environmental types present, four paid commercial reps, staff to various agencies - & me.  

Near as I can tell it was the first-ever habitat discussion by the MAFMC that included our shelf waters. So far as management's concerned we have sub-aquatic vegetation (SAVs) & shellfish beds in the estuaries. 
Then there's a giant blank spot, a "Habitat Free Zone," from the beaches to 100 fathoms about 60 miles out where we suddenly have tilefish habitat & "deep sea corals". 

I believe I did get "hardbottom" inserted at several places where 'shellfish beds & SAVs' were listed. 
That's what natural sea bass, flounder, red hake & tautog habitat is called: Hardbottom Reef. 

When I brought up major impacts to federally managed species from survey effects on over 100 square miles of seafloor, I was told, "You do have a problem with that. There's the guys from BOEM." (Bureau of Ocean Energy) 
Wasn't management's problem that over 100 sq miles of ocean floor had flatlined. 

Since 2001 I've been told: 
"Yes, it's sea whip, a soft coral. But I don't see how it could form habitat." 
"They're just small patches of corals. It doesn't seem like it could be habitat.
"They're not reef-building corals." (As if fish gave a rat's behind whether a collection of corals would ever form an island atoll..) 
"It's not a priority." 
Mostly what I've been told is: 'Not My Job.' 

At the meeting two ladies from NMFS were practically begging for information on "What to restore." 
MAFMC seemed adamant: 'We Do Fishery Management - NOT RESTORATION.' 
"What should we restoreWhat restorations should we fund?" 
"Don't know. We do fishery management.

Been doing this a long time now; trying to get .guv up to speed on fisheries restoration. 
Dams come down so shad & herring -- great & grand salmons -- have a chance. 
It's big & visual - gets in the papers. 

Restoring estuarine based species isn't going to work w/o estuarine restoration. Where we've mollycoddled striped bass, sea trout & bluefish have failed to thrive. 
If we truly restored the estuaries, however, they could all thrive. 
At least where waders allow study - science happens.

Protecting golden tile habitat in the deep may be why we can still catch a few. It certainly helps. 
Come inshore a touch & we'll see where blueline tiles live too. 
Deep water coral work is cutting edge. It's right at the frontier - life forms we never imagined..  
Where science is cool - science happens.  

Well, fishing happens in between the bays & canyons. A lot of fishing. 
Ain't cool - just fishing. 
Bottom fishing. 
But it's where federally managed species: Feed, Grow To Maturity, Shelter From Predators, & Spawn. 
Some would call that Essential Fish Habitat. People like Senators & Congressmen. 

Extraction (fishing) is but one aspect of management. Catch restriction cannot stand alone - is failing. 
Managing production; maximizing fertilized egg survival to harvestable size, (hopefully to have spawned as well) is as, or more, important than catch restriction. 

One vital aspect of fisheries production is habitat. 
Force fish to spawn young & give them lots of habitat - extraction will be very good. 


Habitat? Where??
Pic by Nick Caloyianis..

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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