19 posts in this topic

Let me say that I'm an avid surf fisherman...when I can...and I love eating fish and getting messy in the sand...and on a boat as well. But It sometimes makes me sick to see all the pictures with beautiful 40" and bigger Rockfish held up in front of a charter boat..just thumbing through coastal fisherman or other coastal magazines, you see all these beautiful huge fish "piled up." Maybe its the fact that it irritates me that the people holding the fish just paid a fee and reeled 'em in...and maybe its the fact that seeing so many huge breeders being harvested just seems wrong....and maybe I'm just an elitist surf fisherman.

Thoughts?:icon_scratch:

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as long as the captains are obeying the law, I really don't see a problem with it. Some people have boats....some don't...those that don't that want to fish from a boat, hire a charter. It puts money into the local economy where ever it may be at it keeps people in work. There's nothing different from a charter boat captain and jumping on your friend's boat to go out for a day fishing except one person is paying cash and the other is paying in some other way whether it be a second body on the boat, gas money, beer, etc.....So no...those captains have spent YEARS learning where the fish are going to be and how to catch them....More power to them....I wish I could fish for a living.....

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I ran charters up on the Ches Bay from 1990 to 2001. I grew up catching rock but not as big back in the late 50s early 60s. I now charter here out of OCMD and have not (personally) killed a rock since 1992 but my customers have with mine and the mates assistance. To this day I ask my customers how many fish do you want to kill it does'nt matter which speices. Have I lost customers doing this, PROBABLY, will I stop measuring the greed/ego factor NO. Yeah I get paid to take people fishing but I also am responsible to let them know about the resource/speices and it's status. I feel my job is done when a reels scream and the rods bend. I don't feel the need to "limit out" every time or any time for that matter. With a center console operation now (as opposed to a 43' baybuilt) i can offer my customers flexabilty and often multi speices trips. I'm sure there are some Ches bay capts. that feel the same way. But that's not whose pictures you are seeing.

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Many Captains practice what CL does. You don't hear about them because big pictures sell an ad, not conservation.

But then again, look at the fishing shows. They C&R and still have sponsors and viewers. But I don't agree with depleting a fisheries just because it will put money in the local economy. We almost did that with the Stripers.

We have enough Rock at the moment to sustain the practice so it's not a big issue. In fact, we have so many that they are tearing up the Chessie Blue Crab depleting it's numbers.

I agree with ya trimlc, I kill few and far between. As evidenced by many on this board, the responsibility runs deep and true.

Legalities and common sense are two birds of a different feather.

It will be ok for now.....

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Some of your comments make me think....i guess i personally feel a need to conserve the Rockfish because I like to fish for them....but maybe if I was a crabber I'd feel otherwise. If I was a captain, I'd definately do what the law allowed and put my clients on the fish and catch 'em up....as I put a much higher life on Human life and sustenance than on animals.

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I am a "killer"!! and I eat what I kill. I think thats what is supposed to happen when u are on top of the food chain. If there is a species in trouble I say close it down let them build back up to sustainable levels. I am all for fishing management but I feel no guilt in taking home a good fish and eating it with my family.What other sport do you see the "hunters" releasing there catch to go and grow another day. I feel no guilt when I bite into a big steak nor do I when I bite into a fish that I took the time and the money to catch. I would love to see my son out there some day with kids of his own doing the same thing that I am doing now. 9 out of 10 fish I catch usually end up back where they came from no worse for the wear. But that 10th one is the one that makes it to my table guilt free:angel7:

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I have set my C&R standards for myself this year. I usually like to keep stripers and they provide excellent dinners for my family. However, I nearly always feel guilty killing them. I think this is a personal decision as long as you stay within the legal limits.

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As long as it feeds people and doesn't go to waste I am fine with it (if its legal of course).

I hate to see big fish killed just for bragging rights.

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I almost always feel guilty once I dress one out and see what is left of a once big fish. Even a 40" gets reduced to a bag of filets, just not worth it in my eyes.

my keeper window is 1 @ 28-36...didn't get any keepers last year.

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Everything we eat is killed -plant or animal. Chark is right in that when you see the creature die and then eat it, you know you have taken a life force from nature. I think that to call fishing or hunting "sport" is really incorrect.

Don't get me wrong I am not saying it is morally wrong, just as higher thinking species we should appreciate the natural systems we depend on.

That being said those pictures do disturb me because i wonder if the people fishing that day 'felt" what theywere doing. I won't kill anything i am not 100% sure i am going to eat. I am still waiting for a keeper striper from Assateague. 3 years now.

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You know I get into this issue with a lot myself. I have a place up on the Bohemia River and 90% of everything I do down there is in search of or in benefit of either rockfish or blue crabs. For us, a two foot fish is a good one, and despite what you hear about the Flats and the Susquehanna River during their spawning season, that fishing can be extremely hit or miss, you just gotta get real lucky to find a monster. Regardless of the overfishing ordeal on the stripers, because I myself keep legal fish for the enjoyment of my family, you have to look at another huge cause to the declining numbers; the food chain. Stripers, along with bluefish and anything else out in The Drink that likes a nice, oily, nutritious meal, is gonna eat a menhayden. Bunker numbers are and have been dropping drastically over the past decade and THAT is a result of commercially overfishing, which brings me to my main point: I do not believe the stripers are declining (on a major scale) because of an overfishing issue, but because of water quality in the Bay, pollution, and a declining number in good food sources for the fish to feed on. Now, before anyone hops on my back for what I just said, I will say this: Yes, the limit of fish is two per person per day, yippy skippy. The problem is the number of guys who kill fish commercially and on the charters... I believe that is a true problem the striper fishery faces. Luckily for where I am on the Bay, a good portion of a striper's diet consists of blueback herring, white perch, and yes, as stated before on this blog, blue crabs. But, we do see the effects of the drastic changes in the bunker numbers up as far as Turkey Point, and I'll specifically cite two examples. One; I make the one hour drive south to Rock Hall many times during the months of June and July to get stripers, using cut bunker as my primary bait. Problem is you can see the price for a slab of menhayden skyrocket when the commercial guys start bringing them in less frequently (you're all saying "Obviously, that's how the economy works."). But there are far less bunker than there were years ago, and you can see that the numbers are declining as the prices and demand increases for them at the same rate. The second example is during the summer months, I can walk from my house on the Bohemia River to the water's edge at high tide, throw a cast net, and expect to get at least a dozen "peanut bunker" on each throw. Problem there... a few years ago it woulda been at least 30-40 peanuts per cast. As far as the crabs vs. the rockfish go, I don't see a problem with the rockfish eating crabs... it's what they've done for hundreds of years. In my opinion, the problem with the declining crab numbers is the same as the one with the menhayden... overfishing. The Maryland DNR doesn't think it will make its 2007-2008 dredging quota for the crabs (if you don't know about it, check out this quarter's issue of the DNR's magazine, The Natural Resource), which means Maryland and Virginia will both have to figure something out for the them if they want to have a sturdy and natural blue crab fishery. We're all fisherman here, but it's those who decide to put conservation before fishing that will truly help out these issues we've ultimately brought ourselves into. I've heard my calling, and I'm now a freshman in college pursuing a career as an Environmental Specialist, with an emphasized focus on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay areas. Sorry about the length of this... I was on a roll and needed to vent.... these two situations frustrate all outdoorsmen... crabbers and fisherman alike, trust me, I do both!

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Very nice post, thank you for venting!

I would tend to believe that the majority are with you. Commercial harvest of bait fish for the "fish oil pills", overfishing and dredging of crabs. Yep, these add to the decline of many species. One feeds on the other and they go where the food is. In the case of the crab, they simply taste too good.....

I haven't had bay crab in many years.

Instead of the industry collapsing and the Feds bailing them out, how about we pay the crabber to stay home for two years??? At least they would have a chance to rebound if the environment will support it. It worked for the Rocks

So with the original post, it's been a long time since I've seen a bushel of jumbo crabs on any cover page. I guess we'll have to just wait and see with the Rocks. I think it's more a food and water quality issue now.

Folks paid a fee and simply reeled them in with little or no work.

Doesn't that remind you of going to a restaurant or preparing an "instant" meal? We pay more for the convenience rather than bake bread from scratch.

Now, if Deer's habitat were the water, we would be overloaded with them.....

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You know I get into this issue with a lot myself. I have a place up on the Bohemia River and 90% of everything I do down there is in search of or in benefit of either rockfish or blue crabs. For us, a two foot fish is a good one, and despite what you hear about the Flats and the Susquehanna River during their spawning season, that fishing can be extremely hit or miss, you just gotta get real lucky to find a monster. Regardless of the overfishing ordeal on the stripers, because I myself keep legal fish for the enjoyment of my family, you have to look at another huge cause to the declining numbers; the food chain. Stripers, along with bluefish and anything else out in The Drink that likes a nice, oily, nutritious meal, is gonna eat a menhayden. Bunker numbers are and have been dropping drastically over the past decade and THAT is a result of commercially overfishing, which brings me to my main point: I do not believe the stripers are declining (on a major scale) because of an overfishing issue, but because of water quality in the Bay, pollution, and a declining number in good food sources for the fish to feed on. Now, before anyone hops on my back for what I just said, I will say this: Yes, the limit of fish is two per person per day, yippy skippy. The problem is the number of guys who kill fish commercially and on the charters... I believe that is a true problem the striper fishery faces. Luckily for where I am on the Bay, a good portion of a striper's diet consists of blueback herring, white perch, and yes, as stated before on this blog, blue crabs. But, we do see the effects of the drastic changes in the bunker numbers up as far as Turkey Point, and I'll specifically cite two examples. One; I make the one hour drive south to Rock Hall many times during the months of June and July to get stripers, using cut bunker as my primary bait. Problem is you can see the price for a slab of menhayden skyrocket when the commercial guys start bringing them in less frequently (you're all saying "Obviously, that's how the economy works."). But there are far less bunker than there were years ago, and you can see that the numbers are declining as the prices and demand increases for them at the same rate. The second example is during the summer months, I can walk from my house on the Bohemia River to the water's edge at high tide, throw a cast net, and expect to get at least a dozen "peanut bunker" on each throw. Problem there... a few years ago it woulda been at least 30-40 peanuts per cast. As far as the crabs vs. the rockfish go, I don't see a problem with the rockfish eating crabs... it's what they've done for hundreds of years. In my opinion, the problem with the declining crab numbers is the same as the one with the menhayden... overfishing. The Maryland DNR doesn't think it will make its 2007-2008 dredging quota for the crabs (if you don't know about it, check out this quarter's issue of the DNR's magazine, The Natural Resource), which means Maryland and Virginia will both have to figure something out for the them if they want to have a sturdy and natural blue crab fishery. We're all fisherman here, but it's those who decide to put conservation before fishing that will truly help out these issues we've ultimately brought ourselves into. I've heard my calling, and I'm now a freshman in college pursuing a career as an Environmental Specialist, with an emphasized focus on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay areas. Sorry about the length of this... I was on a roll and needed to vent.... these two situations frustrate all outdoorsmen... crabbers and fisherman alike, trust me, I do both!

I agree with most of your post, but I don't think overfishing is the cause of the bluecrab problem. We are catching record lows and the population is still declining. That stat alone rules out overfishing as a major cause. My guess at the culprit is habitat and pollution. I bet if we can restore the bay grass and oyster population you will see a tremendous rebound in the crabs for two reasons, the obvious is crabs will have somewhere to hide and mature. The second reason is if those two things rebound then that means the bay is healthy and thriving, thus crabs will do better.

Now in saying that, I do agree that we need to cut the crab fishing numbers UNTIL the bay is healthy enough to sustain its crab population once again. As the health of the bay improves, the catch quota for blue crabs increases.

DNR needs to quite its crap with gear/time restrictions and set tighter limits. people are still pretty much going to catch the same amount of crabs with less gear, they will just stay out a bit longer. They do need to protect the sooks, but if there are no jimmies out there to fornicate with those sooks it doesn't matter how many randy sooks are out there.

It is great to see both MD and VA working closely together on some of the regs!

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I agree with most of your post, but I don't think overfishing is the cause of the bluecrab problem. We are catching record lows and the population is still declining. That stat alone rules out overfishing as a major cause. My guess at the culprit is habitat and pollution. I bet if we can restore the bay grass and oyster population you will see a tremendous rebound in the crabs for two reasons, the obvious is crabs will have somewhere to hide and mature. The second reason is if those two things rebound then that means the bay is healthy and thriving, thus crabs will do better.

catching record lows does not rule out overfishing, it is a direct result of overfishing. I am not saying that it is the only reason, but it is a factor for the decline. I agree that pollution plays a part but the population steadily declined before the water got so polluted. another factor is the recovery of the rockfish. they love crabs and when their stocks were coming up a few years ago after they were almost gone it was almost as if there was a new predator in the system. we had a rising rockfish population and a declining menhaden population so more crabs were getting eaten to make up for the menhaden loss. I caught plenty of rockfish years ago that had bunches of little baby crabs in their stomachs and plenty that had absolutely nothing in their stomach and were skinny as eels. at that point there was just not enough food for all of them. all of those are factors and I believe that you will not fix the problem by only addressing 1 or 2 of them. you need to address all of them. the chesapeake bay is not at all like it used to be. I remember when you could see 20 feet down and count the crabs on the bottom when I was catching big blues on my snoopy pole. now you can barely see 6 inches down.

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I have been living on the Eastern Bay now for the past 9 yrs and love it here. When we first moved here the rock jetty coming out of the boat basin was covered in oysters. They died off 6 years ago and have not been seen since. Every year we have had grass so thick out here that when it breaks free and washes up on the beach it sometimes gets feet thick.Last year there was no grass. Last year we had so little rain that I thought the grass would really take off but nothing grew at all. This summer is just around the corner and I am really wondering if there is going to be anything growing of our beaches. It was a real pain for fishing and boating (the grasses)but you would see the crabs and little fish darting in and out of the pods of grass looking for shelter. Now their lives are a little harder........poor little guys:confused3:

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I think you can blame the crabs on the stripers to a point but only because bunker are declining and overfished. Stripers would much rather corral up some bunks and have at it then tackle a blue crab...now softies and peelers are a different story...everyone love them.

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I think you can blame the crabs on the stripers to a point but only because bunker are declining and overfished. Stripers would much rather corral up some bunks and have at it then tackle a blue crab...now softies and peelers are a different story...everyone love them.

I wasnt trying to blame it on them, just trying to say it is 1 factor of several. I think that overfishing is what led to their decline but the pollution, predators, and overfishing are keeping their numbers down. I hope that makes some sense.

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