Monday, January 01, 2018

Fish Report 1/1/18

Fish Report 1/1/18
A Fine Start (not!) 
One Tog Trip 
Cbass Meeting..

Folks - This is WINTER tog fishing. A trip can go south fast. Tog DO NOT always bite! 
(If they did they'd more closely resemble the distinguished portly rotundity of a partyboat skipper..) Yes, my clients have caught 7 tog over 20 pounds   ..but there were many other days when we paid dearly. 
Mate Danny MIGHT have white crabs. Usually does. The boat provides green crabs. Reservation staff hardly know what species we're after, let alone whether there will be a certain kind of bait. 

Sea Bass Are Closed. I sincerely hope this will be the last year of that nonsense. (have hoped just that some many years now..)

All Winter Trips Posted Via Email. There's just no use trying to go everyday in winter.. 
Opening Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 - Depart 7 at the latest, Return 3ish - $110.00.. Tog Only - Sea Bass Closed. Trip Sells Out At 14..

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..

My Mate USUALLY Has 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.   

Skunks are always possible while tog fishing. 
Really. It's a frequent occurrence. Sometimes even the very best toggers get their head handed to them despite folks all around having done well. 
Then too, sometimes the whole boat can do very poorly. 
If you can't take the heat, and there ain't much of that either, stay out of the kitchen. 

Going Toggin Anyway! Tog Only, Sea Bass Are Closed Because NOAA Has Absolutely No Real Idea How Best To Manage The Fishery. 
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! 

It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure. Bonine seems best because it's non-drowsy. Truly cheap & effective insurance. 
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 winter waterproof boots are almost a necessity. (and great socks! like over the calf smart wool .) While some rarely, or never, wear gloves for fishing, you'd not likely see me fishing this time of year w/o at least the half-finger wool gloves. 
Layers are best because, believe it or not, sometimes it can be very pleasant offshore--especially when the wind lays down. In winter it's warmer offshore owing to warmer waters. In summer it's cooler..

19,479 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites as of 11/12/17: TNC's Restoration Reef 278 - Doug Ake's Reef 3,343 - St. Ann's 1,928 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,505 - Eagle Scout Reef 970 - Sue's Block Drop 569 - Nichols' Concrete 1134 - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 705 - Benelli Reef 418 - Capt. Bob's BG Reef 772 - Wolf & Daughters Reef 220
Recent Blocks Provided By Potomac Valley Brick - Thank You!
Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation! (lots of reef pics here..) The OC Reef Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit with no payroll & no rented office space -- We Build Reef. Also registered w/Amazon Smile. We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. Thank You! 

Greetings All, 
Togging begins. Have an idea we'll see an accelerated cooling of bottom temps; that this year's tog season might be abbreviated. 
Only see one day fit for a trip - a chilly one at that. The colder it is, the calmer winds must be to lure us out. Will have plenty of propane on hand for cabin heat. 
Hoping this sustained cold will get done & let us get back to a 'climate warming' sort of winter. 

MD tog regs remain 4 fish at 16 inches. 
When I put self regulation on tog back in 1992, it was 3 fish at 16 inches. I also strongly recommended releasing females.  
Just my gut on it--what I thought was sustainable. 
NOAA, NMFS, & the States spend a LOT of money for the 'best available science'.. 
When MRFSS & MRIP (our recreational catch estimating programs) said NJ jetty fishers had landed 74,000 (old estimating system) & 173,000 tog ("new & improved" MRIP system) in Mar/Apr a few years back, no one in US Fisheries called it what it was - a Bad Statistic (BS for short) 
When MD's Private Boat estimate was 19,000 tog landed in Mar/April - Fisheries applauded that estimate & admired the integrity ..of what could not possibly be true. 
Many, many estimates like this lie throughout our system. 
I hold you cannot possibly create good regs if you cannot instantly recognize data that could not possibly be true. 
For Maryland's Private Boats to have landed 900 tog in March/April would have been front page news. To assert & accept they instead caught 19,000 is to admit a depth of ignorance from which sensible regulation is a matter of luck.
Pressure mounting on tog owing to an equally unimpressive understanding of sea bass stocks & spawning potential, (where sea bass have been over-regulated and some of that fishing pressure shifted to tog,) we have only stayed ahead of a collapsed tog fishery by building habitat at a rapid pace. 

Management is coming around to it: they're regionalizing management of some species; and, in the case of tog at least, penciling in the margins what contribution new reef may have had on spawning success. 

A system of fisheries management & restoration of populations based on spawning biology/ecology - that factors habitat fidelity in regions - is intolerant of MRIP's boastful Bad Statistics - that considers deep commercial landings history to create a logical habitat footprint from which seafloor habitat restoration can begin: there is management from where fishing can be made better & better. 
In fact, I believe some species can be made more plentiful that ever before. Sea bass & tog are at the top of that list. 

We should ALL write ALL our DC reps & ask their support of the Modern Fish Act. This is Congress recognizing they created a monster by FORCING all of management to unquestioningly accept whatever catch data MRIP regurgitates.. 
The simplest of short notes is more effective. 
They LIKE hearing from REAL constituents. (as opposed to paid lobbyists..) 

A tog trip soon; hoping for a break in this cold. 
Will also build some reef soon. 

Capt. Monty Hawkins 
Party Boat "Morning Star"
Ocean City, MD

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