Monday, November 23, 2015

Fish Report 11/23/15

Fish Report 11/23/15 
Calm's A-Coming 
Sea Bass Catching
Reef Building 

Calm's a-coming. Tuesday & Wednesday, November 24th & 25th, Sea Bass! Friday looks good too... 

Now Taking Sea Bass Reservations to November 30th Except Thanksgiving Day - Regular Schedule With An Occasional Longer Trip Announced. 

Fishing everyday the weather's fit!

Not Looking For "All-Limits, All The Time" Sea Bass Fishing. We are seeing some 15 fish sea bass limits - working for them. We've even had an occasional boat limit.. If sea bass management were holding a proper course, any client able to drop & reel would be able to catch 15 sea bass with one shiny bare hook. I believe sea bass management is having a very poor result in our region.

I'll announce December trips as weather forecasts firm--like I announce tog trips. 

Saturdays 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 – Sundays At Weekday Rates: 7 to 3 at $110.00. - Other Longer Trips Announced When Winds Look Good.
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.  

In Congress: Ask your Representative to support HR 3094, The Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act, which gives allows the States bordering the Gulf of Mexico control over their red snapper--a species supremely responsive to increased habitat via oil wells & artificial reef. At issue's core are recreational catch estimates.. Despite incredibly detailed analysis showing red snapper populations at all time historical highs; and, also owing to habitat increases, even large snapper populations in areas where they had never been caught before, Federal regulators (NOAA/NMFS) use catch estimates to hold the season under two weeks. 
It is also true federal red snapper population estimates are done by trawl survey. 
NOAA uses fish population estimates created from a method unable to go where the fish live (no one can trawl an oil rig or artificial reef) & then uses recreational catch estimates no one believes for calculating whether anglers have gone over quota. In a system run-amuck, here is a fishery fix that sends a clear message to NOAA: Stop Using "Science" No One Believes!  
It's never been easier to write your Congressional Representative. Every time a Congressional member hears about bad catch estimate data's effect on fisheries it helps push management toward a better outcome.

Now 12,418 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites. Active presently are Doug Ake's Reef with 2,358 - St. Ann's 1,447 - Al Giles Barge 562 - Eagle Scout Reef 732 - Sue's Drifting Easy Reef 147 - Nichols' Concrete 528 - Upside Down Tank 132 

First New Truckloads Of Concrete Pipe Saturday 11/14 - Our largest pre-cast concrete project ever was this past March & April. The Reef Foundation Has Secured The Services Of The 105 x 30 Foot "Iron Lady" Again For Several More Months. 
This week we hope to deploy two loads at Russell's Reef. One at Nanna & Barry Daub's, the other at Big Joe & Tony's Barges..

Please Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation!

We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. 
Thank You! 

Greetings All, 
Got two days of fishing in since my last report. Pretty tough weather this November.. 
On one of the trips we had about a third of clients limited, on the other we were in an hour early with a boat limit. Nice when it happens. 

Weather suddenly looks great for Tuesday & Wednesday's sea bass trips. Both days have a very light rail but I switched them to the 6:30 format anyway. We almost always leave around 6 for a scheduled 6:30 trip.
Thanksgiving & Christmas are the only two days I won't fish. Calm said to remain, we're back at it for Black (sea bass) Friday. Saturday isn't looking too swell right now; err, the swell's looking too big?

My crew & I have been hustling reef material when not fishing. Last week we cleaned up a boatload of steel reef debris from the trawler "New Hope" prior to its deployment at Capt. Bob's Reef. Since then we've already had 7 truckloads of concrete pipe & such come in. 
When possible I like to fashion pipe units because they'll resist scour. The ocean's incredibly powerful. If you'll simply imagine your feet sinking into the sand as a wave recedes, you can believe height is what makes a concrete reef last centuries. 
It's a lot more work though.. 
A smaller 3 pipe unit takes shape. Were these pipe reef units used for oyster restoration instead of coral, a small bag of pre-spat material could easily be attached where the cable passes through just prior to deployment. Each unit would offer a de-facto brood-stock preserve..

Two 6 pipe units stored aboard the Iron Lady & destined for deployment at Nanna & Barry Daub's Reef..

Our children's children will be able to catch fish where we build quality reef today 
..if NOAA will let them!

I recently sent a long comment to NOAA about "ecosystems" approaches in fisheries management. (I'll send it to you if interested..) 
Headed that way, toward ecosystem-based management; the biggest roadblock is in present day management's required use of MRIP. 

Take, for instance, MRIP's 2014 Private Boat tautog NY & CT. They total well over 2 million pounds of tautog in just 4 months - from two estimates. 
The entire For-Hire Party/Charter industry, however, is thought to have caught approximately a million pounds over 5 years - dozens & dozens & dozens of estimates. 
So, according to the "best available data" that our state & federal managers MUST USE - NY & CT Private Boats caught as many tautog in two months as all US Party/Charter will catch in a decade. 

A hallmark of artificial intelligence is a system that learns from its mistakes.  
Yeah, um, MRIP's not going to qualify. 

This EXACT situation is foundational in the Gulf of Mexico's red snapper woes. Management is doing backflips to try to preserve businesses with 'sector separation.'  Here quota is split-up between Party/Charter & Private Boat. Because MuRFSS & later MRIP have so inflated Private Boat catch since 2003, virtually ALL of the "overfishing" of red snapper stems from MRIP Private Boat catch-estimates. 
Because NOAA demands everyone in management use MRIP data - and because EVERYONE can plainly see the data's full of manure - there's a full-on feud between State & Federal fisheries management in the Gulf. 
That's why I think it's important you write your Congressman in support of HR 3094. The real fix isn't in who manages red snapper - but that whoever is managing them doesn't use MRIP... 

Meanwhile, because management has to leap into action every single time MRIP has another psychotic moment, something as simple as building artificial reef gets no attention whatever. 
Seafloor habitat loss over many decades would be obvious to anyone who would go look. Ecology & population biology merit no thought whatever while every new set of MRIP catch-estimates creates an 'overfishing' fire somewhere that needs to be put out. 

National standard one mandates regulators use the "best scientific information available." 
Apparently that applies even when the information is plainly wrong. 

NOAA needs to stand down. Today catch-estimates form management's backbone. Were stock assessments (fish population estimates) used instead as management's primary guide, the endless annual battles over season, size limit, & bag limit for many species would simmer down. 

Perhaps in management's new free time they might then notice sea bass like coral & tautog really respond to robust habitat with lots of nooks and crannies.. 

Marine fisheries restoration is a youthful endeavor. I honestly believe once we have MRIP either accurized or simply relegated to a nice padded room somewhere near Silver Spring, reef fish restoration methods can be fashioned that will take populations far higher than any now dream. 

Soon would be good. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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