Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fish Report 7/17/16

Fish Report 7/17/16 

Cbass w/a (very) Few Flounder (so far!) 

Buy Two Get One Free Tickets On Sunday, 8/7/16

BOEM's Habitat Work

Round Two: Special Sunday, Aug 7th, Buy two tickets - get a spot free. This is NOT an offer for any other day - just August 7th. I was trying to think of how regulars could invite a friend or bring a child/grand-child - it worked once. Let's see if it plays again. In summer it's especially important new anglers are aware of motion sickness preventatives. Being sick all day is no fun at all.. (see section below)

Sailing Daily For Sea Bass & nicking just a few flounder too - Weather Permitting - Saturday's 6:30 to 3:30 - $125.00 – Otherwise 7 to 3 at $110.00.. 

I anticipate a lot more flounder soon. There's no way to know whether fluke or sea bass will bite better on any day. I absolutely couldn't guess ..but I do know my crew & I will be trying our best to make everyday a success. 

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..  

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 - We usually have some aboard - Better is Nuts.Com.. Chewable Meclizine is a good pharmaceutical, there's also a "less drowsy" meclizine pill that a lot of clients like; Scopolamine Patches are the gold standard. I see Dramamine is also selling ginger in a pill now. I bet it works!)

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 Is Fine For A Few People. 

No Galley! BYO Sandwiches & Soft Drinks. A few beers in cans is fine. (bottles break at bad times)

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! 

13,398 Reef Blocks Deployed at numerous sites: Doug Ake's Reef 2,503 - St. Ann's 1,519 - Al Giles Barge 857 - Eagle Scout Reef 864 - Sue's Block Drop 96 - Nichols' Concrete 614 - Capt. Bob's Block Drop 48 - Benelli Reef 132

Blocks Provided By Potomac Valley Brick - Thank You!

Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation! http://www.ocreefs.org  (lots of reef pics here..) We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. Thank You! 

Greetings All, 

Sea bass fishing is holding up surprisingly well. Sunday I thought Robert would catch his 3rd limit in three trips, but, alas, 13 was his final count. Some days cbassing is sweet - other days it is most definitely not! 

Flounder are doing whatever they want to do; which mainly, right now, is stay away from offshore structure. I think good size ones will rock-up soon & begin feeding on our reefs & wrecks. We are seeing sub-legal flounder in abundance from 145 feet 35 miles out to nearshore & back bays. 

There's a lot of really small flounder. A crazy lot. It bodes well. 

I took a couple nephews out for an evening reef trip a few days ago &, using tiny hooks for triggerfish, was surprised at seeing numerous tiny sea bass. They're so small I think they must be this year's spawn.. Will need to really dig into that. Capt. Rick up in Lewis reported sea bass spawning earlier than usual, but I didn't see it. If I'm actually seeing what I think I'm seeing, we could have age zero spawning sea bass this August - fish spawned just this spring joining the spawning stock.

I tell you - it really looks as though sea bass are staging for a doubling of population, or better, over the next couple years. There are incredibly many more small males than I've seen since 2000. I believe these are a far better indicator of spawning production than legions of "We Must Have Large Females" advocates would hold. We've had a greater percentage of large female sea bass--females larger than science even believed existed pre-2000, for more than 15 years: and have seen the sea bass population shrink..

Another indicator is colonization of areas that had been vacant while wind-power surveys were occurring. With a super-light rail last week I investigated bottoms that hadn't held fish in perhaps 5 years - slam in the heart of the wind area. I did not find populations as once existed, but did find good numbers of spawning sea bass. Used to be I could fish 60 or more people on these reefs. Perhaps we'll see great inshore fishing again soon; now that surveying is done & spawning has increased.

I have no idea where we stand in regards to the threat of yet another multi-month sea bass closure. Overfishing based on catch estimates no one believes & quota assigned by science so old, the sea bass population could have trebled or been cut in two and it would not show.. I do know I did my best to avert a long closure. I have absolutely done all I could to put the decision to close, again, based on bad data, again, all the way upstairs. Far and away the easiest route is to regulate as the data dictates - that's their entire history. If something different occurs, it will be a great day for fisheries.

Read the January 2015 NOAA/NEFSC/MD Interim Report - Report on Benthic Habitats in the Maryland Wind Energy Area; a real-page turner (yeah, not.) Seems they didn't find any sea bed habitat of note in the MD Wind Energy Area save a couple shipwrecks. 

Well, they did find some cobble (small rock) bottoms, but chose to look at what I consider Essential Fish Habitat thusly: The value of cobble as hard-bottom habitat for invertebrates and fishes is conjectural; if it is dominated by relatively barren stones (Appendix 7, Fig. 10) with little colonization by sessile organisms (sponges, anemones, hydrozoans, bryozoans, etc.) it is probably of limited habitat value to other organisms. Barren surfaces often result from stony surfaces being subject to scouring and/or periodic burial by mobile sediments (Valentine et al. 2005).

Been an awful lot of 'conjectural' fish fried from these 'conjectural' cobble habitats. It's frustrating beyond belief that the people tasked with discovering, protecting, enhancing & preserving Essential Fish Habitat don't know it when staring at it.. 

Always have to write politely. Damn it's irritating. Guarantee if a deckhand said something that dumb in my wheelhouse, "Not sure if cobble-rock is good fish habitat, Capt." the following conversation would be terse & coarse in the extreme.

From the Washington Rockpiles to the Old Grounds - Cobble. It's not just fish habitat, it's our BEST fish habitat.

Cobble bottoms without reef growth are, in my experience, "recently trawled" cobbles. The growth & fish will come back, if they aren't trawled again too soon. Trawling--towing a net with a heavy chain along it's bottom--scrapes the growth off rocks better than the best grass-cutting a John Deere mower ever did. 

Is it possible storm events could cover or uncover patches of bottom? You bet. That's why I always have an eye on the sounder. But only a completely ill-informed fisheries policy would assume cobble's usefulness as fish habitat 'conjectural' because of scour. 

Believe this: my clients catch sea bass & flounder on cobble bottoms. Sometimes even tog if there's a ledge in there. Every fisher in the Mid-Atlantic - every one - is dependent on cobble bottoms function in our marine ecosystem at some point. 

Wind energy will own a great big piece of our sea bed. They ain't giving it back. To assume there's nothing to damage - no habitat that might change - is thinking every bit as sound as allowing river dumping https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuyahoga_River .. 

Ocean turning green. Destroy what's left of natural habitat. Make numbers up and call it an 'estimate.'

Some damn fine science.

Regards, Monty 

Capt. Monty Hawkins 

Partyboat Morning Star
Ocean City, MD

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