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Fish Report 8/1/10

Sea Bass Continue

A Taste of Fluke

How Goes the Watching?

Hi All,

Some outstanding fishing this week. Odd for heart of summer really. Take your luck where you find it I suppose. It certainly wasn't all gravy.

As most clients were reeling in sea bass Wednesday, Flounder George & I twitched strips for fluke. Caught the heck out of 'em too. Tagged or just thrown back; He & I had no keepers in close to 40 fish.

Not a back-bay trip, this was ocean fishing not quite 30 miles from the inlet.

My mates both fished -on my direct order- for a short while. They of course both quickly caught a keeper and --being clear-thinking young men-- wisely and generously decided to allow George & Captain their fish-fry.

Young Matt too: He hung a strip of cut-bait on his bottom hook and pushed aside all comers at the fish pool weigh-in, his six pound flattie easily trumping some very nice bass.

Saturday we had a pleasant, sustained bite on sea bass with no flounder at all. Several mahi however were invited to dinner, one of which ran a solid 50 yards off Ralph's spinner before being worked back to the gaff.

..some clients had to go out to dinner this week too: bitter with the sweet.

I really think fluke will bust loose soon, but I've been maintaining that position for some while..

I'm certain that we'll go fishing, not sure what we'll bring home.

A new picture committed to personal memory: Chum overboard, two kites up, 4 baits out. With sea bass coming over the rail a Bruiser comes sliding in, investigating. Couldn't tell species. Big. Calorically unimpressive, our baits were investigated and left alone. This shark wanted at least a whole bluefish and perhaps would have preferred partaking of whale carcass.. Neat stuff....

Not so neat but of our time: It defies reason that we catch very respectable fish such as 18 inch flounder and 12 inch sea bass --fish that practically have Purdue Pop-Up baking timers built-in, yet have to throw them all back.

MRFSS recreational catch estimate data is destroying constituents' good will toward management.

It really is very poor recreational catch estimate data, the MRFSS data, that is, in many ways, strangling the rec-fish industry.

Years ahead of management; in 1992 I was the first to put a 9 inch size limit on sea bass. At times a very ugly, heated effort; Resistance was intense.

But the benefits were soon plain to see.

We are no longer restoring with our releases; We are, instead, squandering our restoration.

Strict adherence to data sets easily satired is where we lost sight of our target, of Fisheries Restoration.

Conflict created by absurd statistic..

What now of the new Registry? The new MRIP program that should give a much better gauge of participation, Tell us how many fishers there are, The program designed to replace MRFSS..

Maryland's flounder anglers were granted a 3 month extension on season this spring with a very-stern warning: We'll Be Watching.

That meant management would close the season early --Again-- if MRFSS said some segment of our recreational fishery had somehow managed to do better than the trawl industry -- Again.

I know full-well that managers must do what the voices in MRFSS' hard-drive tell them. As a result I have come to know the deep anguish of early closure, of fiscal catastrophe from worthless statistic, of a season lost not to real oil gushing from a real pipe but meaningless numbers transmitted without wire. . .

MRIP's registry.. How many people are really, actually going fishing..

I think that MRIP will show for MRFSS estimates to be correct it would often require that every registered angler had exceeded the legal limit many times over to achieve the statistically estimated catch. MRIP will force many catch estimates down, sometimes way down. Crazy-high estimates will be unsupportable if actually catching that many fish would require a "Catch Per Unit of Effort" far greater than the party/charter fishers experienced...

Here's a measure we desperately need: Truth.

OK Management: How goes the watching?

What if the first result of "The Registry" was to loosen-up, to lower size limits..

That'd be a switch.

Wonder if that could happen with the sudden ferocity of a closure..........

I hold that were it not for a very few boulders, storm caused shipwrecks & Nazi Wolf Pack torpedoes, our region's reef ecology --including the fish living on them-- would not have survived into the 1980s.

On a budget, our fishery restoration efforts require forward thinking. Yet managers are still attempting to rebuild the huge fish populations of yesteryear with our present day seafloor habitat remnants, the footprint leftover from fishing's industrial revolution.....

Consequently; if MRFSS paperwork sez private boats in Maryland caught zero tautog in all of 2006 yet caught 43,505 of these non-migratory man-made reef residents in 2007 - And it does: Then that's bloody-well what happened and quit'cher complaining already.

If the scientific paperwork sez there ain't no reef where all those reef-fish and reef-loving lobster get caught, where once far more were caught - And it does: Then there ain't no reef so don't worry about it..

A blood-letting on the full moon with weekly leech treatments and two months of mountain airs should cure the insanity. That'd be some good 'ol fashioned doctoring: Nevermind lead's fumes when returning to work.

We squander the economic benefits of 'catch-restriction only' restoration in the disappointment of anglers tossing fish overboard that they might otherwise have taken pictures of, fed their family and friends with..

This isn't billfishing: What goes in the cooler really does matter.

In our hot-blooded quota battles caused by catch-data that infuriates, we --year after year-- miss opportunity to begin habitat restoration.

Feet under a desk: Papers are real.

Two anchors tight, lines down: Fish & fish habitat are real.

Rock-Paper-Scissors: Coral grows on rock. Paper wins.

Fishers lose.

Needs Fixin.

Regards,

Monty

Capt. Monty Hawkins

mhawkins@siteone.net

Party Boat "Morning Star"

Reservation Line 410 520 2076

Morning Star Fishing

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