Monday, September 14, 2015

Fish Report 9/15/15

Fish Report 8//15 
Sailing Sunday 
Couple Limits 
Twelve Thousand 

Sailing For Flounder & (a tiny handful of) Sea Bass. Sea Bass Close Soon Sept 21st - Running "Flounder Only" trips through September 27th before hauling the boat for a bit of October maintenance & checkbook cleaning. 
May do a mahi-mahi trip or golden tile before we haul. Will return to our daily fishing schedule when sea bass reopen on October 22nd. 
Not taking reservations for second season just yet, however. Will announce here in a later email. 

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. I Do Not Recommend Chasing Reports Of Great Fishing With The Expectation Of Repeating Past Catches. Fish That Have Been Fried Do Not Bite Well. 
I am very often asked, "When's a good time to go fishing?" 
..when you can. 
And the wind's not blowing!

Sailing Daily Weather Permitting!! 
Saturdays 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 – Sundays At Weekday Rates: 7 to 3 at $110.00.  
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! (Meclizine's Better!) 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 chimney blocks.  Now 12,180 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites. Active presently are Doug Ake's Reef with 2,274 - St. Ann's 1,387 - Al Giles Barge 530 - Eagle Scout Reef 684 - Sue's Drifting Easy Reef 138 - Nichols' Concrete 528 - Upside Down Tank 132 - Now Elaine's Concrete too, a reef we built in the mid-1990s to about 18 inches thick. After wonderful colonization & crazy-good fishing, it scoured-in after just 3 years. Using the old buried-in and now lost reef as a foundation; we have begun restoring production to this lost artificial reef with 24 reef blocks at Elaine's. 

Please Sponsor Our Larger-Scale Reef Building At - Believe This: We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. 
Another Big Project Coming Soon!   
Thank You! 

Greetings All, 
Past now; had some rock solid fluke fishing for a while. It's an "embarrassment of riches" to come in an hour or more early on a flounder trip because the boat cannot keep another flounder.. 
We're still catching, just haven't had a boat limit in over a week. Lots of clients limited though..
Sea bass, although just starting to liven up a tiny bit, close very soon. We'll be 100% targeting flounder for a while, at least through the last weekend in September. 
The boat needs work - always does after a hard summer. 
Will get her back into shape & get ready for fall/winter. 

A milestone? Hit 12,000 reef blocks a couple weeks ago--reef substrate we deploy daily. Dropped number 12K on Sue Foster's Reef. 
Next day we started toward 13,000.. Will get there too. 
Have another load of 90 pound landscaping blocks donated by Potomac Valley Brick and York Building Products from their Thomasville, PA facility coming. 
These blocks make great reef. Because monitoring after Hurricane Sandy showed blocks 1/3 their weight hadn't moved, I'm confident these beasts will stay planted everywhere we put them. 

We've also recently begun fastening four 16 inch chimney blocks together. With a single hole for a chimney flue, four blocks in line makes a very nice tog condo. I can see 1,000 of these chimney block units (4,000 blocks) becoming an incredibly toggy place. 
Sea bass, fluke & lobster will use this type of reef too, but tog are especially fond of caves to dwell in. 

Sank a couple small steel boats over the last few years with the intention of making them 'toggy.' 
Cut holes & welded hatches; loaded all manner of concrete block & plank in them. 
Monitoring this summer revealed tautog have indeed taken up residence. 
Funny ..some tog already have tags in them. 

Lost most of Labor Day weekend to weather. Usually book out Tuesday-after because it's so slow. 
Weather looked mighty fine -- and no trip on the books.. 
Got in Monday with an OK catch of flounder on our regular trip, then loaded up Capt. Rick Younger's 600 foot drop camera for some exploration on reefs NOAA hasn't found interesting yet. 
Takes five of us to run that deep drop camera.. 
Left at 5pm Monday, got home 8pm Tuesday. 
Good fishing, perfect weather, great video. 

Rocky reef in 300+ feet of water is unbelievably productive. I'm unsure if we captured images of sacred deep water/cold water corals. Will need an expert to review the footage. I am positive these reef habitats have a long history in the lobster & sea bass trap fisheries. They have a shorter recreational history--but exploding in our micro-braid era of high speed reels. 
I'm told by very good sources that rock-hopper trawl gear has visited these rocks too. 

Why these rocks are vital to so many fisheries is perplexing to management. 
Why would a boat risk over $15,000.00 in trawl gear to tow over snaggy rocks? 
Why do lobstermen target rocky bottom & not sand?
Why do fishers struggle to keep rocky locations a secret? 
Why does the fishing public support building reefs? 
How come clients cease catching sea bass if we 'swing off' while anchored over a shipwreck or rockpile? 

Managers today "know" building artificial reef concentrates/attracts fish for easier recreational catch. That's what they were taught in school. 
Hmm..  When a storm uncovers a long-buried rock ledge is any growth and fish colonization occurring on newly exposed rock equally as bad as newly built artificial reef? 

Dropped the camera on rocks in over 300 feet of water in the Washington Canyon. We'd already established the presence of blueline tilefish & sea bass; caught 'em good. Looked like a lobsterman was aware of other species present.. 
Looking at reef no other human had ever seen reinforced a notion I've had for some while: These rocks are not ultra-rare chondrite meteorites, they're not some manner of magical magnetized iron that allow fish to navigate. It doesn't matter what kind of rock they are except for one very special property: They Have To Be Exposed. 
Once rock is covered over - No Reef, Just Sand. 
Except for their location there's positively nothing special about these reef substrates. They're just rocks. 

How in Blazes it ever came to be that a scientifically minded body would conclude adding or building reef habitat was bad "because it concentrates fish" is beyond me. 
Seriously - the "Attraction or Production Debate" stops reef building dead in it's tracks in upper management. 

If there were 10 acres of trees would anyone ever suppose planting 30 more acres would concentrate the wood's squirrel population? 
Would it not spread them out? least until successive successful breedings had brought the wood back to it's holding capacity - here 3X as many squirrels. 

What if instead of 30 more acres we planted 3,000 acres of trees: Using fishery management's logic, going from just a tiny ten acre wood to 3,010 acres would ONLY concentrate squirrels so Uncle Jed could make squirrel pot-pie easier.. 
Uh Hu. 
He'd find more squirrels alright, but not right away. His grandkids would too. 

We're making fisheries restoration much harder than it needs to be. 
Way harder. 

Reef Restoration Makes Fisheries Restoration Simple. 

Will keep working on simple solutions. 

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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