Fish Report 5/6/16
Adding Sunday, Monday, & One Last Saturday
Sailing Daily For Sea Bass After May 15th
Curse of the 8 ton pipe..
Going Toggin! Really! Sunday, May 8th - Monday, May 9th, & Saturday, May 14th - 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 - 12 Sells Out.
Weather's Been So Bad Even Land-Lovers Are Complaining! Everyone!
Looks to be breaking at last..
Opening June to Sea Bass Reservations. It is also possible flounder (fluke to you northerners) might come in early--arrive on our reefs and wrecks in force by late June.
So: You can now reserve spots from the May 15th Sea Bass Opener to the end of June.
For trips this coming weekend see tog trips below.
After May 15th we're sailing daily for sea bass.
Going Toggin: Couple more trips. Getting a lot more bites & throwbacks, tagging more. We catch more tog in a day now than in two (or 3) weeks this past winter. (ouch)
Some anglers will do from OK to very well - but not everyone..
Be a half hour early! We (almost) always leave early!
Skunks are always possible while tog fishing. Luck & Skill Count.
Crew Have White Crabs For Sale AT THE DOCK for the low, low price of just $5.00 per generous dozen. There Is No Guarantee We'll Have Whites For Any Trip. Sometimes they all die. That shrinkage is why I prefer greens. We may be bringing some whites with us in the ocean. Green Crabs (not Whites!) Remain Provided As Boat Bait And Are Included In All Fares.
Until May 15th: Tog Only, Sea Bass Are Closed Because NOAA Has Accepted Poor Statistical Catch Estimates As If They Represented 'Certain Knowledge' For Decades. NOAA Has No Idea How Best To Manage The Sea Bass Fishery. (yet)
No Live Tog Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live Tog Black Market Has Hurt This Fishery ..But Nowhere Near As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulations)
Agreed With Or Not, All Regulations Observed – Maryland: 4 Tog @ 16 Inches
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!
Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 - On My Rig You Can Reserve What Spot You're In. Please See http://morningstarfishing.com 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.
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.
12,810 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites: Doug Ake's Reef 2,431 - St. Ann's 1,459 - Al Giles Barge 725 - Eagle Scout Reef 768 - Sue's Drifting Easy Reef 147 - Nichols' Concrete 578 - Upside Down Tank 132
Please Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation!
Reef Dinner May 15th At The Marlin Club! 4:30 to 7:00 - Tickets $25.00 at the Door..
We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential.
Photo: Michael Eversmier - What we call "Tog Grass" is actually Pink-Hearted Hydroid (a tubularian hydroid.) Mussels grow on these filter-feeding animal's stems. Doesn't take long to weigh them down.. Tog graze on them as if cattle after mussels spawn; will occasionally eat the hydroids when mussels aren't present.
No fish tales here, just a reef building tale told in weather so grey & gloomy, everyone's talking about how windy & rainy it's been..
Better days soon to come, the Ocean City Reef Foundation has it's annual dinner next week, Sunday, May 15th; opening day of sea bass.
I promise we will have our biggest & best dinner auction ever.. Heather & Wes (with a lot of help!) are loading up on crazy great stuff. We'll even have an original oil of the New Hope; a sunken wooden trawler we used as part of Capt. Bob Gowar's Reef at the Bass Grounds.
All summer long we'll be collecting donations for charts & also raffling off a gorgeous semi-auto 12 ga Benelli Ethos. I'm no stranger to firearms - this shotgun is the most beautiful gun I've ever held..
$10.00 a chance - we'll draw a winner Sunday after Thanksgiving at Atlantic Tackle. No problem getting 5 or 6 witnesses there.
Maybe some of the other boats will pick up on it too.
Had some of our best funding ever last year. Spent it all too - more even. With donors' amazing generosity we put a lot of precast concrete on the bottom last spring & again in late fall. Takes time, but we turn donations into coral..
Here's a link to an interview Larry Jock just published with me - some local reef building history.
Reef building ain't all gravy, I can tell you that.
These concrete pieces we use for reef building are all donated. Manufacturers are glad to be rid of test units and work that didn't pass muster. Concrete must be a son of a gun to work with - even the best will occasionally mis-cast pieces. Manufacturers have to crunch it up & separate the rebar for 'crush & run' recycled concrete type products -- unless a reef builder takes it.
All we have to do is truck it - and then figure out how to get it offshore.
It ain't cheap, but it is often dangerous.
While last year was the most concrete I'd ever been involved with, even 100X our 2015 effort wouldn't be too much.
Anyway.. "Curse of the 8-ton pipe" April 2015..
I'd asked the Iron Lady's crew if they could pick up a piece of 6 foot pipe with their crane.
At about 8 tons, they thought so..
I had two delivered, but seven footers - not six. These are concrete pipes a man can near`bout do jumping-jacks in
..and, sweet peaches in the biscuit batter, their crane wasn't having any of it.
Pretty day lost for a reef deployment run; I'd blocked the loading area with giant pipes I couldn't move..
Now Saturday mid-morning, I hollered out to Juan at Apex Construction - HELP! - he sent a foreman down with two gas engine concrete saws, the kind that look like a cross between a chainsaw & a chop-saw, and extra blades.
Had a start on 'em that afternoon - a taste. I worked all day Sunday cutting first the inside some 5 inches, then cutting the outside same.
In a perfect world the cuts would have met.
That Monday I had what would be our last meeting with Tom O'Connell, MD's previous Director of Fisheries, to discuss regulations and couldn't be on the job site. I gave the boys, Wes & Dan, a 20 ton bottle jack and some smaller jacks, plus two 6 ton telehandler forklifts and a crane..
I'd also left some concrete chisels..
Ever wonder what it's like to be inside 8+ tons of concrete pipe with a 20 ton hydraulic jack pumped crazy-tight trying to break it?
The boys tried a couple different ways. Then, with the crane lifting & the jacks all pumped tight, Wes struck a blow with a hammer & chisel. Good thing the crane was lifting; that pipe cracked in two like an 8 ton egg..
Then they did the other one.
What a pain in the neck.
Glad no one got hurt..
That afternoon we used our concrete-drill to fashion cable sling mounts in all the pieces. Drill an 1 1/4 inch hole, run used 3/4 inch steel travel lift cable through, & tighten saddle clamps as though your life depends on it.
Now lightened by half, we loaded 'em up.
While loading, a volunteer got his finger pinched real bad by a half-pipe. Considering I thought sure he'd just lost his hand, a busted-up finger was a relief.
Off to the hospital..
I'm glad to report Franky three-fingers is now fully recovered and has no need of his short-lived nickname. Damn good scare for everyone..
Couple days later we took that 90-some ton boatload of concrete, including all the half-pipes, down to Ben Sykes Reef just three miles south of OC Inlet. Deployed & gone forever, I was glad to be rid of the cursed pipe.
(You can see a couple 7-pipe cable units we'd made still on the forward deck. Those cabled-together pipe units are the best thing going. Though labor intensive, they build far & away the best reef with limited material. Those particular pipe units are at Mr. G's Parkside Reef with a lot of Parkside High welding class reef units. Those youngsters have built some wonderfully complex reef units.)
Immediately after the deployment I was doing routine monitoring with my boat, the Morning Star, for Army Corps permit compliance. It's going to be a great reef - awesome. We could build a half-mile of reef here. All of it would grow-in and join our area's fisheries production. This is just a good start.
Finally relaxed .. when right where we'd lowered the half-pipe that had cost two perfectly good deployment days, had been a pain in the neck to cut in two, & had busted Frank's finger; that piece was sticking-up too high---had stuck in the bottom like a knife.
Dang thing really was cursed; got us one more time. Now we were out of compliance with Army Corps permit clearance restrictions.
There was never any danger to ship/boat traffic. Our required clearance at Kelly's Reef is 27 feet - far more than any actual boat traffic would need there. Little Gull Shoal, shoal less than a half mile away, comes to 15 feet. Our cursed pipe was at about 24 or 25 feet.
Still, conditions have to be met - and it was my task to make sure.
Ted Green answered an emergency call sent-out to the commercial dive community. I anchored him right over it - just like a tog fishing set. He tied a piece of 3/4 inch nylon to the pipe.
With Ted safely back aboard, and with just a little slack in that 3/4'' rope which was made-fast to my anchor bit, I nudged the Morning Star ahead easy on both screws. He and I watched on a sounder as that pipe fell over.
I've sometimes donated even 60+ hours in a single week to reefing. Those hours were especially tough.
We're building one heck of a tog reef there - promise.
Sure are easier ways though.
Seriously - we turn donations into coral. Would cheerfully send readers a t-shirt or mug....
Capt. Monty Hawkins
Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD