Thursday, November 17, 2022

Fish Report 11/17/22

Fish Report 11/17/22 

Opening four days before Thanksgiving 

Including Tomorrow! (11/18 Friday!)

A quick look at "How many boats would that take?" & the new video camera work.. 


Anna might be slammed when I hit send. If she cannot pick up, Leave her a message. She has a method to her madness.. Reservations at 443-235-5577 - She's a one person operation & has other jobs too. The line closes at 8pm and reopens at 8am

Weather Cancellations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way.

Fishing for Sea Bass Friday 11/18 - Saturday 11/19 - Tuesday 11/22 - and Wednesday 11/23 All Trips Depart 6:30am (or 6 if everyone is aboard!) to 4pm at $175.00.. 

18 sells out. Bait, rigs, & Gulp provided as desired. 

If fishing the stern area waterproof boots are advised in fall & winter. 

It'll be chilly in the AM too!

*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. Seriously, with a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you overslept or had a flat.. If you're reserved and the last person we're waiting on - you'll need to answer your phone. I will not make on time clients wait past scheduled departure because of a misfortune on your part. 

Try to always leave a half hour early (and never an hour early!) I rarely get in on time either. If you have a worrier at home, please advise them I often come home late. It's what I do. 

Trips Also Sometimes Announced on Facebook at Morning Star Fishing 

I post after action reports (or lack thereof) (and sometimes detailed thoughts on fisheries issues) for every trip on my personal FB page and Morning Star page..

Bait is provided on all trips. Gulp too. 

No Galley. Bring Your Own Food & Beverage. 

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 a 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 have a few loaners - you'll still need ice. Should you catch some monstrous fish, we'll be able to ice it. 

No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home. 

Wishbone doesn't replace backbone.. Have to keep a shoulder into reef building to make it happen.

Block Update! As of 11/14/22 we have 38,460 Reef Blocks & 547 Reef Pyramids (170lb ea or an equivalent) deployed at numerous ACE permitted ocean reef sites - there are also 786 pyramids deployed by MD CCA at Chesapeake Bay oyster sites working to restore blue ocean water… (and, boy are those pyramid numbers about to rise!) 

Currently being targeted oceanside: at the Brand New Rambler Reef 260 Reef Blocks & 10 Pyramids - Tyler Long's Memorial Reef 548 (+18 Reef Pyramids) Virginia Lee Hawkins Memorial Reef 406 Reef Blocks (+72 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Jack Kaeufer's/Lucas Alexander's Reefs 1,968 Blocks (+46 Reef Pyramids) - Doug Ake's Reef 4,174 blocks (+16 Reef Pyramids) - St. Ann's 2,867 (+14 Reef Pyramids) - Sue's Block Drop 1,642 (+24 Reef Pyramids) - TwoTanks Reef 1,303 (+ 15 Reef Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 912 - Benelli Reef 1,552 (+ 118 Pyramids) - Capt. Bob's Bass Grounds Reef 4,091 (+ 88 reef pyramids) - Wolf & Daughters Reef 734 - Dr. Berger's Reef 1,505 (+33 Reef Pyramids) - Great Eastern Block Drop 1,528 (+25 Reef Pyramids) - Two more brand New Drops Begun at Cristina's Blast 80 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Unnamed Site South Side GEBD 160 Reef Blocks & 2 Pyramids - Capt Greg Hall's Memorial Reef 222 Blocks & 2 Pyramids — And 325 Castle & Terracotta Tog Blocks & 10 Pyramids 81 feet Bass Grounds Unnamed ..

Greetings All, 

In my 9/5/22 Fish Report I included a letter I sent across the top of Fisheries Management, and especially those newly in charge of MRIP recreational catch estimates, encouraging them to continue to use video camera work to test MRIP Private Boat estimates. 

And while I have thousands of hours looking at sea bass, flounder, & tautog catch estimates, I'd never looked more broadly at overall effort  — especially not Private Boat angler effort across all species. 

Not surprisingly, boat counts must shoot up substantially to match MRIP's Private Boat angler effort estimates. 

Below I copied a part of my 2/28/22 report detailing boat counts for sea bass. No one I spoke with or wrote too thought they were possible. Now you can see how many boats MRIP really thinks ventured forth. 

Pretty amazing numbers. It's no wonder they think Private Boat anglers outcatch Party/Charter everywhere.. 

These numbers create the ILLUSION of vast recreational catches while 

(***In between these asterisks are the newly calculated totals***)

From Fish Report 2/28/22 - On the Theft of Marine Recreational Fisheries

(For this Feb report..) I dug in deeper to MRIP than I have in some while. I used their "effort" calculations throughout. For Massachusetts MRIP shows 248,870 anglers participated in Private Boat trips targeting (or secondary target) sea bass in May/June 2021. They were estimated to have caught 1,038,500 sea bass that weighed over 2lbs apiece. (Interesting that A: This is roughly the same as estimates kicked out in 2016/17, and B: All Party/Charter from Hatteras to Maine caught just 581,500 sea bass across the whole of 2021 - this Massachusetts Private Boat estimate is only for May/June with anglers fishing a 5 fish bag limit..)

Pretty smelly. 

For now, however, it remains that 248,870 anglers divided by 3.5 (what I think is the average number of anglers per boat after asking a lot of private boat guys) ..dividing by 3.5 equals 71,105 boat trips. Divide again by 35 fishable days (although a 45 days season, that's  assuredly a high number. Some MA charters didn't get that many days.) ..divide 71,105 boat trips by 35 fishable days and you have 2,032 boats fishing every decent weather day.

Making MRIP's data fit would require 2,032 private boats fishing everyday in May/June 2021 to hit MRIP's "effort" estimate. 

And, so far as MRIP is concerned, this is not an issue. There are, after all, far more Private Boats than Party Charter. 

That we actually go every possible day and depend on knowledge of fishing pressure for a living doesn't worry statisticians in the least. They have peer reviews by other statisticians that say fishermen are wrong to think anything is amiss with MRIP's purity.  

Not that there's anything realistic about these, but with a 'more realistic' view of fishing where 30+% of fish are caught on Saturday and the rest throughout the week; here we'd see about 4,500 boats catching sea bass on Saturdays while "only" 1,600 were out every possible weekday & Sunday ..and all those anglers were catching nice 4.2lb average sea bass.

I have had reports of over 300 boats in an area of Buzzards Bay. That is a huge fleet on sea bass. But that charter skipper also thought about a hundred boats in that fleet - a third - were newly minted "commercial boats" with a much smaller size limit rod & reel fishing on Massachusetts' recently elevated Commercial quota.. 

What could go wrong?  

(***Here I'll add the "all species" boat trips. MRIP has 894,592 Private Boat angler trips in total for the period for all fisheries/species. Divide again by 3.5 (which many say is high) anglers per boat and you have 255,598 boat trips in Massachusetts' May/June period. With no particular season across all species I'll give it 60 days (outrageously high - would require a rare stretch of wonderful weather.) That means there were 4,250 boat trips everyday — Massachusetts anglers were strongly disputing the 2,052 boats per day below Cape Cod required to land their sea bass estimate for May/June 2021 that was a big part of our coastwide "overfishing" assertion. If there were only ten weather days of those 60 possible trip days then you'd add 852 boats per day - eg: if 50 days fishing all MA species then it becomes 5,102 boat trips per day. That's for the whole state - while the sea bass fishery is strictly below Cape Cod for the time..***)

Along the Maryland coast in 2021 MRIP has MD Private Boats in May/June catching 103,000 sea bass. 

I have both Party/Charter & Private Boat guys watching for boat counts. They're used to me asking on the radio and texting. A crazy high day would be 40 Private Boats. Oft times it's much closer to none. A bit of wind or just a weekday no one took off to go fishing? No effort or dern few. 

Yet MRIP's effort estimation shows we'd need 186 boats targeting (or secondary target) sea bass from OC Inlet each of the 30 days I was able to get my boat out in May/June 2021. 

Using MRIP's "Effort Time Series" we see 46,073 angler trips for Maryland's 'All Ocean' estimate. Given a very generous 45 fishable days there'd have to be 292.5 Private Boats fishing daily from Ocean City's one inlet. 

Everyday hundred eighty six boats going every fishable day. Like the start of the White Marlin Open but with smaller boats..

Aside opening day (another artifact of bad catch data) and a pretty Saturday, most days we each see one or two private boats - either within a couple miles or nearby - a dozen/fifteen altogether. 

Think we'd notice 170 more? 

The math: MRIP's "effort" has MD at 19,600 angler trips targeting sea bass either as primary or secondary species on private boats - divided by my belief of 30 possible fishing days in May/June (what I was able to fish after weather cancelations though I was booked everyday) ..divided by 3.5 average number of anglers per boat = 186.6 boats fishing every day. 

There was a camera mounted to count boats at Ocean City, MD's Inlet, but it failed in May/June. 

Perhaps we will get a good boat count for another two month period. 

I hope we'll soon test my theory. (Written in February 2022)

(***This summer and fall MAFMC did begin to explore my work. They did(!) Camera working again, they used July/August 2021 where the MRIP Private Boat angler trip estimate was at 185,341 trips. To meet that angler estimate would require 882 boats per day (60 days - again too generous) at 3.5 anglers per boat. They used 4 anglers per boat which came out to 742 boats a day. 

This time there was video. We certainly didn't look at every day, but there was nothing at all like MRIP estimate's assertion. I'd be surprised if they can find a day with 100 boats save major billfish tournaments.. ***)

In Sept/Oct 2021 Connecticut anglers caught 3X more pounds of sea bass than they'd averaged in the previous decade's Sept/Oct periods  — 1,009,000lbs. 

With MRIP's estimate of 236,419 Private Boat anglers it would have taken 67,548 boat trips at 3.5 anglers per boat. Divide again by 45 possible days of fishing in Sept/Oct and it would take 1,501 Private Boats targeting (or secondary targeting) sea bass every possible weather day — 1500 every day.. (***Using all Private Boat anglers at 3.5 per boat it's 3,589 boats fishing every possible day…..***)

While the MRIP effort estimate for Party/Charter remained within a couple hundred clients between 2019 & 2021 at around 5,750 anglers; Private Boat shot from 91,500 anglers in '19 - to 114,600 in 2020 - to 236,419 in 2021.. That's a big jump.. 

Stranger still, while CT Party/Charter skippers think they catch 50 or 60% of their state's sea bass landings, MRIP shows a Two-Million pound lead for Private Boat. 

Someone's way off. 

Rhode Island would require 556 boats fishing their sea bass grounds across 45 days of Sept/October to have caught their estimate. (***Total Private Boat trips for all species at 3.5 anglers per boat would require 2,255 trips per day. You'd think they'd notice in RI?***) 

Although Private Boat caught far more than others, it was just a waste of money. According to MRIP, Rhode Island Shore anglers caught over 2X what the state's Party/Charter boats did and those shore-caught sea bass were a third of a pound larger too. While their habitat is truly unique, that's a lot of shore caught sea bass.. 

Remember, in Party/Charter we stopped MRFSS's skyrocketing catch nonsense two decades ago. If we don't soon stop this Private Boat business, MRIP's recreational catch estimates will make trawling for fluke look like a few fellows prancing around a field with butterfly nets while the real summer flounder slayers trailer up and hide their overfished bounty in a home freezer.. 

The data is cumulative—like fishing's slow collapse across decades, seeing it without the filter called "generational shift" is difficult. As with NY's July/Aug 2020 estimate: once you get used to seeing one state's Private Boats catching well over a million pounds of sea bass with a 3 fish bag limit in just two months, there will be no alarm when they do it with a one fish limit. 

Needs fixing. 



11/17/22 addendum - While mounting a camera was a simple matter for marine fisheries here in Ocean City MD with its one inlet; boat counts can be created no matter how many access points there are to the ocean and large bays. We don't have to have complete video coverage, enough for a solid statistical sample will do. These cameras need not be CIA amazing - enough pixels for a good idea what kind of boat is going out will do. No need for privacy concerns.) 



Capt Monty Hawkins

Capt Monty Hawkins

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