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Found 168 results

  1. Got a question about Rocks this happened to a friend of mine and me the same night. My Buddy had 2 nice rocks that he had caught and had on ice for 2 days I had 2 nice rocks that I had caught and had on ice for less than 20 hours we both fillet them and he cooked his one way and me another (used a crab cake res. spread it out on top of the fish and broiled them). Took em out of the oven and they looked a tad bit over cooked but nothing tooo bad. Man o man took one bite of them and the fishy taste was sooo bad and over powering that I couldn't eat another bight. Felt bad about that and put them down for the dog to eat and she couldn't even finish them. Called my buddy up the next day and he said his fish had a real bad fishy taste to them as well. When I cleaned the fish they looked good and I even cut out the dark meat on the fillet. Not sure what went wrong but was wondering if anyone has had this happen to them and what I could do in the future to make sure this doesn't happen again...Tanks
  2. Wanted to start a specific thread for fishing reports in Rehoboth Bay/Canal and Indian River Bay/Inlet as well as Masseys Ditch. I fish weekly there and will post my results. I urge others to do the same. Maybe we can learn something from one another.
  3. NRP officials seized three tons of illegally caught rockfish off the coast of the Eastern Shore Tuesday - I am literally going to be sick i think. we have been so much more of this lately and it truly needs to stop. I am thankful for as the article says, some AGGRESSIVE POLICE WORK. i think we need to see alot more aggression in other areas. let this AGAIN go to show everyone the importance of TRUE ethical fishing practice. we as anglers and people of the water need to do our part to make the public aware of the problems we face in the commercial fishing industry. We need to be active. we cannot let this happen again. if you have not already please please please go to KeepAmericaFishing it is a website designed to help people get their voices heard and it offers and very easy way to voice your opinions to those who matter! please take a minute of your time to keep our sport alive. WE can do this! WE can help! Thanks Zach
  5. Took a photo of my garmin gpsmap while livelining for rockfish in eastern bay monday.we all got our limits of legal size striper.and had a great time.also caught some small and medium croakers on bloodworms at tilghman island.
  6. Monday morning we had simply an unbelievable topwater bite on stripers from 23 to 27 inches!! The rockfish were smacking Stillwater Smack-it poppers all over the place! A fly rod cast popper would have done just as well, as the fish were within easy reach of a well-placed cast. Look for this hot action to last throughout the summer months. Capt. Kevin Josenhans Josenhans Fly Fishing 443-783-3271
  7. Had the day off and headed to NOB for some early season flounder tagging. According to my records, the flounder should be at the pier and begin to bite any day for this location. Arrive to a cooler than expected fog/cloud covered morning and begin to toss my 1/4 oz red jig head with a 4" chartreuse gulp alive swimming mullet. Nothing for a bit and I am talking to one other Navy Active Duty fisherman as he is using a white gulp and a chartreuse head. Both of us working the rail up and down, till I finally start getting some short flounder taps. Let them eat and finally bring up my first flounder of the year at 10" long and toss him back. That's right, no tag due to this year only flounder 12" and over get tagged. I keep getting hit on the chartreuse so I ask the Navy guy if he wants one and he accepts. Sun begins to burn off the fog and we both start working hard, but catching some more flounder in the 13"-14" range, tag them and let them go. I then had a nice fat 16"-17" flounder by a piling take me and had him almost to the rail when he got off, so I dropped my gulp right back down there. WHAM, get smacked again and as I lift the flounder off the bottom, he takes off. Managed to stay out of the pilings and get him to the surface and it's not the same fish, only one bigger. With no net around and not taking the risk, I walk him all the way down to the rocks where the Navy guy walks down and grabs him, while I beached the flounder. Flounder came in just a small bit over a keeper, so in the box he went!:blob1: Slow the rest of the time out there, but nice to get out, my guess is this inconsistent weather has the flounder a bit off for this location. Total for the day was 6 fish tagged, 1 tossed back, 3 lost at the rail and 1 keeper! Almost forgot, the Navy guy had a beautiful healthy schoolie rockfish right at 22" long whiched smacked his jig as he was pulling it out of the water. Filleted up the flounder and my son and daughter tore it up for dinner last night and even let me have some as well!
  8. Had the privilege yesterday to wet a line with Joe Bruce of Fisherman's Edge fame. An avid fly fisher, Joe put the fly rod down long enough to catch this 26" striper on a Stillwater Smack-it popper. I guess we caught fifty rockfish from 14 to 26 inches. Schools of silversides were everywhere, and occasionally became airborne, in their attempt to evade the hungry stripers. Capt. Kevin Josenhans Josenhans Fly Fishing
  9. By Dr. Julie Ball IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach Mother’s Day Report 7 May 2010 With the arrival of even more species this week, the spring saltwater fishery is now in full swing. The largest of the new arrivals is the much anticipated black drum, in all its glory. These fish are docile creatures moving in large schools as they forage the bottom for clams, mussels, and other crustaceans. Black drum are making a slow start, with most fish coming from the seaside inlets along the Eastern Shore on clams. Larger fish are now hitting around the Bayside shoals, especially near buoy 13. Expect this trend to improve over the next few weeks. Anglers are still finding red drum action along the shoals and breakers lining Smith Island and Fisherman’s Island, as well as the 9-foot shoal area. Tuan Vu of Chesapeake found his big 48-inch red while fishing near the CBBT this week. Michael Williams of Richmond also had a good day when he released a 48-inch bull on a grub while fishing near Fisherman’s Island. The best bait is peeler crabs, blue crabs, and bunker. One new species created a stir this week when David Cafini of Suffolk pulled a huge 9.5-pouind grey trout from the water near the HRBT. Grey trout have been scarce in this area for several years. Maybe this is a sign of better days for this greatly missed species. The folks at Ocean’s East 2 report the arrival of two other newly arriving species for the season, spot and sea mullet. Surf anglers are pulling small spot, along with sea mullet and medium-sized croaker out of the surf line off Ocean View and Little Creek. The bite is best after dark, with Fish Bite’s blood worm variety the top bait. Croaker are available all over the lower Bay, but the best hauls are still coming from the James and York Rivers where squid and crab are doing the trick. Decent fish in the 17-inch range are filling coolers from near the Coleman Bridge, York River State Park, and the oyster beds near the James River Bridge. It seems that the striped bass got the memo that the Bay’s Spring Trophy Striped Bass season opened last weekend. Anglers are suddenly experiencing excellent striper action all over the lower Bay. Top water action is the most popular method to entice fish exceeding the 32-inch minimum size requirement, especially along the pilings and islands of the CBBT and the HRBT. Several boats are also reporting catches while bottom fishing for drum near Fisherman’s Island. Several rockfish are exceeding 45-inches. Flounder action around the CBBT is still off, but anglers working the various lower Bay and Eastern Shore inlets and shallower backwaters, are finding some keepers. Both Rudee Inlet and Lynnhaven River are providing some good fish, with a few flatfish ranging up to 5-pounds. Limits of decent flatties ranging from 3 to 5-pounds are also coming from the seaside inlets out of Wachapreague. Bluefish are still the word inside Rudee Inlet where anglers are experiencing good catches of decent blues to five pounds. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that anglers are also catching speckled trout up to 6-pounds within Rudee Inlet lately, with any color grub doing the trick. Speckled trout are also hitting within the Eastern Shore seaside inlets and the back waters of Oyster, where peeler crabs and Mirrolures are the best bait. Although most anglers are becoming interested in other species, the deep drop scene is still luring a few boats to the deep when they can get out. As the dog fish begin to move out, more boats will target tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper along the 50-rathom curve and beyond. Offshore fishing will begin to improve this month as the action off Carolina begins to move northward. The fleets out of Oregon Inlet are finding yellowfin tuna, along with a few billfish in the mix. For more information, go to
  10. Another beautiful day on the bay thanks to the Good LORD! spent the day trollin with capt steve goins on the sandpiper and capt jerry swartz. good company as always, and alot of experience and knowledge to be shared from the both of them. I was able to land my personal best rockfish at 41" 26lbs 22" girth. i was so pumped and remained in that state for the rest of the trip. it happened at about 830/900 am on the way back rod. tandem chutes with big eye black heads and 9" white shad, she was double hooked and def not getting loose, thanks again to capt steve and jerry for there knowledge and experience for puttin me on this fish. the next fish was a fiesty 39"er that jerry landed, i believe that was a board rod with tandem chutes with blue glitter shad 9". the rest of the day consisted of pretty steady action, a few 34/36" fish and a few 28/29". what an awesome day on the bay, weather couldnt have been better. here are some photos and video of our trip. IF ANYONE WANTS TO GET HOOKED UP WITH THERE PERSONAL BEST I RECOMMEND FISHING WITH CAPT STEVE GOINS ON THE SANDPIPER Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing on Sandpiper: Deale, Maryland link to short video of capt jerry's 39"er
  12. Fished with a couple friends today at AI. Had about 10 -12 rods in a line down the beach and it was absolutely dead. not a single bait was touched by anything. We had out clam, bunker and crab. We left some baits soaking for over 2 hours and they came back untouched. I never had clam last more than 20 minutes before. Not a good way to start off my 2010 surf fishing season.
  13. Hi ! Everyone I hope all had a great winter. I'm glad to see some nice fish being caught. I hope one has my name on it lol !! I have made some major changes to the store and still more to come over the next month and a half. We will have subs and sandwiches and fried chicken again. All made to order for you to take to the beach. I do have fresh bunker, fresh shucked sea clams, live minnows, live bloodworms, and live night crawlers. Good Luck Fishing for our big Rockfish !!! Thank You Shanan
  14. The weather is getting warm and hopefully will see a fish or two caught here towards the end of the month. Feel free to post your reports here, fish or no fish.
  15. Fish Report 12/29/09 I will be announcing winter tog trips based on weather via short-notice email. Sign-up - - Cheers! Fish Report 12/29/09 Tog Soon.. Very Soon A Christmas Sight Sea Bass: Thoughts Today & From 2001 Holiday Greetings From the Coast, I'd thought a New Year's tog trip would be in order this year.. hmm.. the forecast - call it like I see it - No Joy. We will be going soon, just not on the Jan 1st re-opening. When the weather's right--on any day of the week--we shall. Twelve will sell the boat out - Cabin is now heated - Crabs provided - I'll announce winter trips via email... Coming across the RT 50/Severn River bridge on Sunday; saw 2 big barge/crane set-ups.. Almost a gift, better really: both barges are part of an Army Corps oyster restoration project. For the first time in Maryland's Chesapeake oyster restoration efforts they are allowed to use 'alternative substrates' - rock/concrete. The idea was first put forward by the founder of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Dr. Truitt, in the early 1920s as a way to create oyster spawning sanctuaries: took a while to catch on. You'd be hard pressed to figure out all the different agencies building this reef system in the Severn. If yours is -- my many thanks. The river is closed to commercial oyster harvest. Though I'm not tight to the inside of this project, it seems as though there's a multi-agency/NGO focus to see if large scale reef building can have an effect on water quality.. Bet it works too. I see a time when "Department of Study It" turns more "Department of Go Fix It"-- Those big barges but a glimpse -- a start.. I've never wet a line in the Chesapeake. Promise this though, it needs fixin. I think oysters are 1/4 or more of the solution - get 'em high off the bottom and put 'em to work. Several centuries of oyster reef damage to repair -- in an estuary that was once able to filter itself twice a week.. Need a great big department of fix-it.. Need to fix some regulatory issues too. Diving deeply into that below. Further down still a comment I wrote in 2001: sobering in that I have not changed my tune; only refined it. There is hope that the sea bass quota will be bumped up if a case can be made that the NOAA Regional Administrator finds credible. They are meeting again for this very purpose. I try to explain it below.. Its an opportunity for bottom-up lobbying - where an email to your state's fisheries staff, particularly ASMFC & MAFMC reps, about quota & release mortality can be effective... Also saw an excellent letter on Senator Mikulski's website about the "Flexibility in Rebuilding Americas Fisheries Act." Googles easy. Top down this: Probably at a hard time in life if you need an Act of Congress for any reason. Fishers are not in want of a bail-out, not a hand-out: Just let us fish -go to work- so we and all the many businesses tied to fishing won't need Disaster Relief Aid.. in the heart of the Great Recession. The 'rebuilding' actions managers have recently taken is akin to helicoptering within feet of a mountain summit and, climbing some few feet further, thrusting a flag in its crest then claiming to have scaled it. There's the flag and the footprints, how could this accomplishment be called untrue? Closing data-poor fisheries will surely helicopter fish-stocks up... "Yeah! We did it!" Eh, might fool a few.. Rebuilding fisheries based purely on regulatory sleight-of-hand while throwing participants off the boat isn't going to look good long. A foundation of sand.. A reasonable quota increase & a realistic release mortality figure would more than fix this particular dilemma - but not the problem. These many closures, including the upcoming grouper closure, have similar characteristics. Its impossible to estimate reef-fish populations--create stock assessments--via trawl-nets that get stuck on reefs. And--managing a short/non-migratory species with spawning site fidelity as a 'single stock' over broad 'coast-wide' areas is, very clearly, a management approach that can not work. I'm afraid this really is the greatest fisheries battle I've seen. Lose and it will be my last as a participant, as a fisher. A deep description of one small action in this East Coast and Gulf fight below.. A very brief "Going Fishing" announcement coming in a couple days I hope. Regards, Monty Capt. Monty Hawkins Party Boat "Morning Star" Reservation Line 410 520 2076 Comment on Black Sea Bass 12/29/09 Safe Quota Release Mortality A Management Plan That Can Not Work Regarding the impending sea bass fiasco, there is hope we'll recapture some quota when the Science and Statistical Committee & Joint Monitoring Committees meet. Funny thing, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council--MAFMC--claims sea bass are rebuilt. Even the Blue Ocean Institute has mid-Atlantic sea bass doing fine, that they're not 'overfished'. But we have to reduce catch by 66%? Nonsense. I have it on very good authority that a much larger sea bass quota was recommended for 2010 by the joint Council/Commission monitoring committee. And that recommended quota was actually millions of pounds less than the maximum allowable quota. Now the Science and Statistical Committee's recommendation--which gets forced upon all under recent changes in the law--is millions of pounds less than even the monitoring committee's very safe quota recommendation. On paper we've gone from over 6 million pounds of sea bass quota during 2010 to 2 million. We then have to split it with the commercial fishers. I have--without question--seen sea bass populations skyrocket with over 6 million pound quotas in place.. Odd.. that was before creel limits, seasons, and with a much smaller size-limit -- Regionally, we were just fortunate. Anyway, good, hard-working scientists thought they could very safely have a 4 million pound coastwide quota on sea bass in 2010: That was then cut in two based on some arbitrary 'hunch' to be safer still -- that is why we are facing the worst fishing restrictions ever.. A two month season where there were twelve. It is clear to many that the quota could safely be loosened up, even doubled. That would give fishers a bit of breathing room. How about that 25% release mortality? Can that be an accurate scientific representation of the released fish that die? Sakes no! Release-based fishery management would have failed catastrophically some twelve years ago were the release mortality anywhere near 25%. Many of the sea bass we catch, especially in heavily targeted areas, have multiple hook-scars in their lip - sometimes even 4 or more. While those particular sea bass may not end up as Alpha spawners, if 25% of released fish actually died--and we kept catching on the remainder--pretty soon 'keeper' size limit regulations would result in an utterly collapsed fishery: Our first forays into management would have been a disaster. I was carrying 70 to 90 passengers a day when I mandated a 9 inch sea bass size limit in 1992. I had to prove to my clients that throwing fish back was going to make a difference. This was long before regulation happened.. Talk about some ugly scenes.. Making anglers throw back fish without real regulation was sometimes very tough - especially because back then everyone "knew" that any/every fish released died - - That's what we were all taught... Lots and lots of tagging later---work I mostly paid for out-of-pocket---clients were willing to throw back sea bass. Its just obvious that it works, that they'll not only live to bite again, but do so right where we put them back. Using Kahle hooks as I have since 1982, the only mortality on release is with special weather conditions or fairly unique predation - - Rare. I'd be surprised if the real release mortality figure in the mid-Atlantic ocean is even 1% over the course of a year. My observations, backed-up by scientists own observations, must now be proven some 18 years later - again. Its reminiscent of something out a Monty Python sketch.. add your own British accent. "But I saw it swim down." "Right you did, and then it blew up." "They don't blow up. We recapture them all the time." "No data - no data whatsoever. 12.5% blow up and 12.5% turn into lobsters, therefore 25% die when you foolishly don't eat them. Its written on paper. We'll calculate you killed but didn't eat more than you killed and did eat. Do you fancy your lobster steamed, broiled or boiled? Eh? Eh?" A reasonable quota increase & a realistic release mortality figure would more than fix this particular dilemma - but not the problem. {bit of pleasant research -- YouTube search: "Monty Python- the witch scene" - in this scene substitute "overfishing fisher" for witch, the Monks go by fast. Believe me, there are direct correlations to witch hunting in this fisheries dilemma... and then there's the 'annoying peasant' clip too..} Annoying? Here's the problem. Any who claim to possess a valid coastwide black sea bass stock assessment & restoration management plan without regional division/evaluation has on their desk before them a lie. Hmm.. Say Capt, that's rather coarse verbiage.. But if that statement is true, and it is--that's why they call it a data poor fishery--then from these many years of assessments have been built a paper palace of lies. Deep down, under layers & layers of bad data; so many layers that they can not see the truth of the situation -- is the Science and Statistical Committee. Emanating from this committee, and they alone, are quotas that may well doom many fishing businesses in 2010 - its the law. The foundation of their Paper Palace - The black sea bass stock estimate - The estimated population of cbass alive in the mid-Atlantic - The BSIA - The Best Scientific Information Available - is gathered via a trawl-net survey. Works well for some species, but trawl-nets get stuck on these robust reefs where sea bass now live.. Reefs that were trawlable once thrived, but after half a century of fishing impacts--think scraped clear--those areas no longer serve as reef: though in some instances the substrates remain, possibly with some growth, leaving a door open for restoration. Only the most robust natural reefs remain ecologically functioning as they originally did. A growing amount of artificial reef and a decreasing amount of accidental shipwreck are bridging the loss of natural habitat.. This remaining reef habitat--where reef fish now live--is not suitable for stock assessment by trawl --- yet is the primary source for our BSIA - Best Scientific Information Available. Hmm.. Put aside fish counting a moment: Consider the fact that the natural footprint of reef is nearly gone, destroyed; yet that has failed to pop-up in the Best Science Information Available either... But Wait! We not only use trawl-netting to count the live fish where we can not trawl: We use MRFSS, the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey, to count the fish recreational fishers caught - killed both by release and iced in a cooler.. But Wait! MRFSS is a Dead Man Walking, sent to hang-by-the-neck-until-dead by the guvmint for failing to provide good data. No use writing about its failures. Replacing it is the Marine Recreational Information Program. MRIP offers a better way of counting fish that were caught. It kicks in January 1st, 2010. Just before being led to the gallows though, MRFSS asked one final wish: To take as many recreational fishers with it as possible. That wish appears to have been granted.... As I've said, a reasonable quota increase & a realistic release mortality figure would more than fix this particular dilemma - but not the problem.. Reef dwelling species need a new form of management based on controlling effort over discreet spawning sub-stocks within their range - - and protecting and enhancing fish habitat. (which, though ignored, is in another part of the Magnusson Act, but apparently not as iron-clad as quota controls.) My Argument: A fishery comprised of local, isolated--not intermingling--spawning components can not be well regulated with coastwide controls: That not having regional or some fine-scale geographic control leaves the successful restoration of such a species only to good fortune--luck: That species such as sea bass have been shown to respond extremely well to localized controls and that if these controls were put in place over broad areas, but with fine-scale management, then their restoration would exceed any present calculation. And will when management can be coerced into trying it. These benefits to all fishers would be enhanced by protecting habitat from physical damage. The restoration of natural sea floor habitat can be accelerated by strategic artificial reefing which would further hasten recovery of fish populations. It is here that habitat engineering can be put to greatest use: Management can exceed any historical reef-fish population estimate given more habitat to work with. Not just sea bass.. I was amazed at the article I read over the holiday in the February 2009 Journal of Fishery Management - "....Spatially Complex Population Structure for Gulf of Maine Atlantic Cod" - Reich & DeAlteris. Their simulation has remarkable similarity to my sea bass thesis: That managing cod, who apparently also have specific spawning site fidelity, can not be accomplished well using broad management areas. Unfortunately for them, their study is based on fisher's observations - lots of them. They actually use the word "Anecdotal".. pure poison in scientific circles. Still, I wonder if red snapper & grouper behave somewhat similarly - maybe lots and lots of species do.. From Texas to Maine fish with similar characteristics are giving everyone trouble... Rebuilding fish can be accomplished without closing fisheries. What we experienced with sea bass populations up until 2003 was proof enough. That example of explosive population growth is readily seen in the Vessel Trip Reports -- but not MRFSS, the Marine Recreational Fishing Statistics Survey. Its no coincidence that it is partially from MRFSS that The Paper-Palace is built.. With the Marine Recreational Information Program & Vessel Trip Reports offering better insight to actual catch, management might soon be ready to step outside The Palace and have a look/listen. They need to give us some breathing room first - open that quota. More reading? Seriously? The 'comment' below is from 2001.. Even if you just read the first few sentences.. Here's to an industrial artificial reef project near you & a pan full of sea bass 12 months a year. Or a tog this winter.. Regards, Monty Capt. Monty Hawkins Party Boat "Morning Star" Reservation Line 410 520 2076 Concerning the 2002 Recreational Management Measures for Black Sea Bass 12/2001 Capt. Monty Hawkins, Ocean City, Maryland Greetings, For the next 2 years recreational management of black sea bass should be no more restrictive than a creel limit of 25 at 11 inches with no closed season. This would give scientists and managers time to develop a management plan based on "regions" as the life cycle of sea bass clearly calls for. Because these fish exhibit a strong area fidelity*, that is, they return to very specific places or areas after an unclear winter migration, they can not be managed well when considered to be a single stock from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod. Seasonal closures are impossible to fairly execute as the southern states shoulder the burden of spring closures, while other ports lose deep water winter trips.(*Habitat Fidelity assertion based on *Able and Fahey "First Year in the Life of Estuarine Fishes in the Middle Atlantic Bight", Essential Fish Habitat Source Document "Black Sea Bass" and personal tag returns. See also David Dobbs "The Great Gulf" for codfish stock assessments / divisions and difficulties created for managers and stakeholders.) A 2 year freeze on regulations would prevent further "fishing down" of the '97 and '98 year classes** while allowing fishing to begin on the '99 year class which was one of the finest on record. If not, then the fastest growing fish will continue to be culled from the spawning stock as size limits are increased, creating a stock that has been selected for slower growth.*** This has strong potential for negative long term economic repercussions. (**Year class estimates based on Able and Fahey "First Year in the Life of Estuarine Fishes in the Middle Atlantic Bight", Essential Fish Habitat Source Document "Black Sea Bass" and personal tag returns.)(***Edley and Law, 1988; Law and Grey,1989 from Jennings, Kaiser, Reynolds "Marine Fisheries Ecology") Clearly the recovery of this fishery is ahead of the management plan. Further restrictions on the recreational industry are not needed. It could never have been the intention of any congressman or senator to bring economic harm to the participants in a biologically thriving fishery. Throughout the recreational industry there is unanimity that stocks are highly resurgent. Throughout the scientific community these stocks are recognized as improving very well with a trend of record setting biomass surveys. In the commercial industry there are no doubts that the stock is fine, but because of permitting and quota problems, long time participants are still unable to benefit from any recovery in localized stocks. The number of sea bass that were released on the party boat I captain almost doubled over the last year. In 2000 we released 99,241 sea bass and in 2001 we released 196,425. This year's (2001) catch (landings & releases) is far and away the largest number of sea bass that I've ever seen. Make no mistake, there can still be a many fold increase in the stock size, given the anecdotal evidence that I have heard from people that were fishing during the late 50s and 60s. Personal observations while fishing and video tapes made of unfished natural reef-like substrates indicate that heavily fished natural, accidental and artificial habitats hold far fewer sea bass than unfished habitats. However, since the dramatic improvement now seen is a result of smaller size limits and no possession limit; it stands to reason that the stock size will continue to expand ahead of schedule under the far more stringent management now in place. The goal of the 2002 recreational management measures is to reduce recreational landings by 17%. A worthy goal indeed considering the likelihood of lawsuit by commercial interests. Can it be reasonable to cause economic hardship within an industry based on statistics with such a large percentage of error? Problems with data plague many fisheries. Witness the recent worldwide statistics revision caused by China's falsified data. Often times the MRFSS, despite their best efforts, are very far wrong too. For instance, can it be true that Rhode Island's nearshore sea bass landings jumped from an average of less than 20 thousand pounds to well over a quarter of a million pounds in 2000? I have to assume this is an error. It would only take 1 more error of this magnitude to show that recreational fishermen were within the guidance of the present management plan. In 1992 I was very likely the first partyboat captain to place a 9 inch limit on sea bass. I did that based on the obvious need for action to restore the stock and scientific observations that spawning had occurred, even twice, by 9 inches. That was 5 years in front of the Fed., 6 before MD. I actively sought creel and size limits on sea bass at the federal level. Having been so closely involved with the paradigm shift of "over the rail, into the pail" (nothing was ever released!) to a fishery that now hovers around a 75% release ratio; I can, with absolute confidence, assert that the MRFSS release figures for Maryland partyboats in the EEZ from 1981 to 1992 are complete fantasy. The fruits of these management measures are now being enjoyed throughout the mid-Atlantic. Sea bass stocks along the coast of DelMarVa have increased nearly a thousand fold when compared the early to mid 1980s. No, MRFSS data does not bear this out. However, memories of working the deck of a partyboat in August and knowing before you left the dock that you wouldn't catch enough sea bass for your clients dinner are hard to erase. By comparison, catches, mostly releases, for August 2001 frequently numbered over 4000 fish and sometimes double even that! Although I have not found anyone that would share it with me there must be a dead discard hook mortality figure that is used in calculating the recreational impact on sea bass. What is alarming to me is the recent discovery that scientists are quoting research done in the Gulf of Mexico on sea bass that shows high mortality rates when released in depths greater than 70 feet. This same study indicates that anglers should only release sea bass caught at greater than 70 feet after puncturing the air bladder. Nothing could be further from the truth in the cooler waters and air of the mid-Atlantic (implied from personal observation of temperature/depth effects on sea bass compared to Lukacovic/ Md. D.N.R. rockfish mortality study). Our release mortality does not begin until a depth of 115 feet and then only if there is predation by gulls or bluefish as the fish reacclimate their air bladder. I thought that this issue would have been put to bed by now, but apparently not. (personal observation and over 50 tag returns from fish released in greater than 90 feet of water) Additional savings to the stock could be had by requiring directed sea bass fishers to use hook types that are demonstrated to reduce deep hooking mortality.(implied from personal observation of effects on sea bass of various hooks compared to Lukacovic/ Md. D.N.R. rockfish mortality study {great similarity}) This would be especially advantageous to anglers that seek action in heavily fished areas as I believe sea bass are very unlikely to leave an area during prime fishing season. If we absolutely must have 17%, it can be made up in release mortality and found in statistical error. Although it may never be proven to be right or wrong, I believe habitat increases, both natural and artificial, have also been important to the robust increases in our local stocks of sea bass. Anyone can pick up a newspaper and read of artificial reef improvements off their coast. It is the resurgence of our natural reef-like bottom areas that are the key to improving settlement. Any modern text on fisheries biology has at least a chapter on commercial gear impacts to less robust substrates and their associated communities. As trawl and clamming effort has decreased in this part of the mid-Atlantic so have areas of mussels, corals and the many other species that make up a healthy benthic population begun to rebuild. Sea bass larvae have been shown to settle, not just in our estuarine systems, but also on suitable areas of our nearshore continental shelf*. When the art and science of fisheries management can exploit the relationship between habitat, fidelity and stock size, many species will again flourish. Thanks for your time, Capt. Monty Hawkins P.S. Has anyone seen a red hake lately?
  16. IGFA Representative Announcement Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach IGFA World Record APPROVED!! Male 20 pound Tippet Fly Rod Class Striped Bass 51lbs, 5oz I am pleased to announce another approved IGFA World Record from Virginia waters! Richie Keatley of Norfolk was approved today as the newest World Record holder from Virginia. The 51lb, 5oz striped bass he boated on the fly at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on December 17th, 2010 topped the existing 43lbs, 12oz record previously held by another Virginia resident, Harry Huelsbeck. Richie was fly fishing in his 22-foot boat at the Bay Bridge Tunnel using a hand-tied 3/0 Clouser blue-tinted fly. After a nerve racking battle and three netting attempts, once again Virginia fishing history was made! Congratulations Richie!!
  17. Even with recent snow storms and frigid temperatures, the anticipation of the arrival of spring is prompting anglers to head to local tackle shops in preparation for the new season. As a result, local tackle shops are bustling with activity as anglers regroup and restock for the debut of the spring players. Now is the time to check your equipment and respool your reels. Interest in striped bass is lagging way behind, but for those diehard rockfish anglers still targeting fish in ocean waters, reports of sporadic bursts of activity is encouraging. A recent report of a bite off Cape Henry resulted in several nice catches for trollers. Catch and release action along lower Bay structures and at the mouths of contributing rivers is persuading boats into Bay waters. Several boats are reporting catches on live eels near the High Rise section of the CBBT at night when they can get out. Daytime temperatures are forecast to push eighty degrees this weekend, which may jump-start some striped bass action off the Virginia coastline. Puppy drum to around 24-inches are still hitting in both Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, while pups to about 25-inches are still going crazy in the Elizabeth River. Although speckled trout action slowed this week, a few nice fish are still coming from within the Hot Ditch and near the Cove in the Elizabeth River. George Allison of Portsmouth and Buddy Foster of Chesapeake caught specks up to just over 5-pounds while casting Mirrolures in the Cove area of the Elizabeth River lately. Jamal Esfahani of Virginia Beach also had a great day when he landed an 8-pound, 5-ounce prize while casting from the shoreline inside the Ditch. The water inside Rudee Inlet is so chilly that the resident specks have acclimated, becoming very sluggish. These fish can be found sunning just under the surface, and can be easily lifted out of the water by hand. Jon Lucy of VIMS reminds taggers that specks provide vital information for the state’s tagging program. With winds keeping most boats near the beach over the last week, tautog anglers are testing more inshore areas with less than meager results. It is still too early for inshore tog action. Toggers will find decent results on the more offshore structures once they can get out, with decent fish available for the taking on wrecks about 20-miles out. Crabs and clams are still the bait of choice. Deep water species are still luring anglers out to waters deeper than 300 feet when the wind allows. Boats venturing out are still finding good numbers of big blueline tilefish and seabass. Some are also lucking into some nice grouper, blackbelly rosefish, and golden tilefish. The Norfolk Canyon and its associated wrecks are always productive this time of year. Don’t forget your metal jigs, since the largest seabass are often tempted with metal.
  18. kind of a stupid question, but what are the size minimums and possession limits for stripers on assateague?? never really had to know because i never caught one off the beach:angry5: but just in case i do this year, thanks
  19. The new regulations for Flounder and Weakfish (Grey Trout) have been voted on. Flounder 18-1/2" min. length - 4 fish per person Weakfish 12" min. length - 1 fish per person starting May 1st. It doesnt suprise me to see the one trout a day limit. The way that the rockfish have taken over the bay all year doesnt leave much food for the trout. Ive seen a huge decline in them over the last 5 years.
  20. to prove people wrong that one is able to catch a huge rockfish off the beach. Everyone i talk to thinks i am crazy for thinking that it's possible to catch a rockfish off the beach... i think this is the year i'm going to put alot of time into proving them wrong, even though i might have to drive 160 miles to do it... this is my year....hopefully....hopefully...
  21. Hi Everyone!! I just wanted to post our first fish of the year caught by Mike Hastings of Berlin on New Years Day! which was a 29", 8 1/2lb Rockfish caught on frozen bunker in the surf and he also caught a Red Drum on 11/28/2009 that was 8 1/2lb and 26". I hope winter is going well for all. Thank you Shanan
  22. I had a great conversation last week about the Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout with ESPN writer Capt. Chris Gatley. My brother John and I fished in the tournament from my modified Yamaha PWC. He wrote about the tournament, the boat rescue and I am thrilled that he mentioned jet ski fishing as well. He even used a couple of the pictures I sent in. Here is the story. The Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout presented by Bass Pro Shops finished up last weekend in Virginia Beach, Va., with some trying conditions and even a rescue. With more than 170 boats, and one jet ski angler, battling for $140,000, sub-freezing temperatures hit the region and pushed large groups of striped bass offshore, past the three-mile line and into the closed waters of the EEZ. Courtesy: Brian Lockwood The first day of competition saw "wide open fishing," tournament director Mike Standing said. Some boats caught as many as 50 fish before they migrated east due to cold and making it more difficult to find fish on day two and three. Each winter, 90 percent of the striped bass, also called Rockfish, mass in a 25- to 35-square-mile portion of the Virginia coast. When air and water temperatures remain in the 50s, fish actively feed on a more northerly to southerly route along shoreline beaches, within three miles of land. However, when air temperatures plunge below the freezing mark for extended periods of time, schools of fish drop offshore and feed on a westerly to easterly pattern; ultimately pushing schools of striped bass into the protected waters of the EEZ as bait and fish seek warmer, more consistent water temperatures. The few fish that will remain in the frigid waters along the coast forced all competitors to get creative with their presentations as they hunted down fish, further separating the men from the boys. In recent years, fishing in the closed waters of the EEZ during this tournament has been such a problem that the tournament had to remedy. Each participating vessel was outfitted with Garmin hand-held GPS units. "This was the first year that Garmin supplied a hand-held GPS so that each participant could be tracked, ensuring that no one exceeded the three mile line," said Brian Lockwood, also known by locals as Jet Ski Brian. "Hopefully the GPS units will keep that from happening and eliminate any doubt." Standing thought the GPS units served their purpose. "I was very exciting to partner with Garmin," Standing said. "The use of this GPS device by each competitor leveled the playing field, and I am very happy with the acceptance by the competitors." Anglers still might have been tempted as there was shoreline ice and cold water temperatures inside the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent confluences, making conditions difficult. "Normal high air temperatures this time of year are typically 48 degrees," said Capt. Harry Svenson of Cheap Shot Fishing Charters, who took third place in the Open Division and finished first among Calcutta entrants. "This year, we have been lucky to break 32 degrees and today it is 19 degrees." "Water temperatures have been as low as 36 degrees, shutting down the eel bite and forcing us to troll Parachute Rigs (also called Mojo Rigs) south of Virginia Beach." Courtesy: Chris Gatley Parachute rigs got their start along the Virginia coast many years ago. Now, they are used all along the striper coast.Boats targeting striped bass on the troll in Virginia and North Carolina must knife through heavy water currents when targeting deeper sloughs. Downriggers were formerly used for precise depth control situations but an unknown southern angler determined that a giant lead ball outfitted with a hook offered one more opportunity to catch that tournament winning fish. Now, this rig is commonplace. Svenson trolls several rods covering all sections of the water column. As fish attack his spread, he adjusts his rigs and color patterns accordingly. It is not uncommon for Svenson and others to troll a half-dozen Parachute Rigs at one time while using 50-pound class tuna gear and 150-pound braided line. Svenson's trolling spread consists of a 48-ounce Parachute with a three-way swivel up the line 5 feet from the Parachute lure itself. From the swivel, Svenson attaches 10 feet of heavy fluorocarbon leader and a bunker spoon. If Svenson feels that big bass are feeding on herring, he'll replace the spoon with a 9-12 inch swim shad. The two corner rods along the motor are the same rig but with slightly lighter Parachutes outfitted with different lure colors. The port rod is a 24-ounce Parachute with an umbrella rig outfitted with one lone 12-inch Swim Shad trailer off the rear of the umbrella rig. Once the deep lines are deployed, Svenson and his crew deploys a series of flat-line rods outfitted with lures including a Mann's Stretch 25, large Swim Shads and other large swimming plugs aimed at fish feeding near the surface. Courtesy: Brian Lockwood Anglers are then looking to troll 3-5 mph while targeting structure and open water fish feeding on bait balls.The event even included some high drama, but the team from Bass Pro Shops, which also sponsored the event, came to the rescue. "During the event, the Bass Pro Shops team boat was the first on the scene of a sinking, non-competing boat," Standing said. "The vessel was rapidly going down, but not before the crew of the Bass Pro Shops boat plucked the anglers from the water as rescue crews were in transit." "First class guys from a first-class operation." For more information on the 2011 Mid Atlantic Rockfish Shootout and to compete, please (757) 319-5146 or visit their Web site at
  23. My brother John and I entered the Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout on my modified Yamaha PWC and fished today. Unfortunatley we only caught one 33 inch 15.5 lb fish. We departed Rudee inlet In Virginia Beach and headed south. Ended up about 36 miles down off of Currituck Light House in North Carolina. Most of the boats were still going south but I was getting poor mileage since there was two of us on the ski and it was a little sloppy with 3-4 footers early on. We trolled the area for a while and then decided to head back and try our luck off of Sandbridge. There were several boats between False Cape and Sandbridge and I caught our one Striper on a 20 oz mojo. Water temp was 40.2. While I was there a boat had just sank and the crew had just been rescued buy a Bass Pro Team that was fishing in the same tourny. A couple guys got wet but I hear all were fine. I do not know what the cause of the sinking was but I hear it was a 26-28 footer. We had a great day and covered a total of 84 miles and burned 27 gals. I hold 21 gallons but carried an extra 10 with us today. I heard later that the big bite was about 43 miles south which is further than everyone expected and more than I could have gone. Had a great day, here are some pictures from today.
  24. Couple of questions. First I have seen some monster drum caught at night so they obviously feed at night. Do stripers hit at night? Have only fished in the dark once and that was near a full moon. This saturday it will be just the opposite and cloudy. I know that there have been blues around too. Same question goes for them. Do they only hit during the day? My plan is to get to <acronym title="Assateague Island">AI</acronym> at dawn (need to hit the bait shop when they first open which I assume is 6 am). Fish all day and if there is a decent opportunity for strikes at night I'll fish then too. I know you can only do this on the <acronym title="Maryland">MD</acronym> side of <acronym title="Assateague Island">AI</acronym>. I already got advice on bait shops in a previous post. Just trying to make this trip as fun and successful as possible. Thanks for any and all tips! Also if you do fish at night on the <acronym title="Maryland">MD</acronym> side what is the rule. I know you can't camp on the beach. So I assume this means you can't itch a tent to stay out of the wind.
  25. Hey, i was hoping to get a little help on some rockfish action. I promised my father-in-law that i would go rosckfishing with him. the problem is neither of us have ever realy fished them. he has a 19ft boat so i was thinking the cbbt. Is evening better than during the day? What baits are working best. Any thing that might help us catch a fish or two.