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08.15.2010 Sea Bass & Flounder

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Fish Report 8/15/10

Sea Bass - Flounder

T-Shirts

Jimmy Jackson's Reef

Hi All,

August has always been a pretty tough month in my trade. Marlin fishers shine, bottom fishers struggle.

Wasn't all struggle though. One day we had the best sea bassing I've seen this month.

Another day we had a strong bite first thing in the morning; slowed to a crawl. Then, later in the day, they came back on again. Very unusual for sea bass; happens.

Some surprise tog. In summer they may taste like lobster.

Another day we had more keeper flounder than cbass.

Another day we had our head handed to us!

..and very, very soon we'll see some decent croakers.

If you want to go - we're going. Predictions of what will bite can be narrowed down to the species above, plus some others.

If I do stop on croakers it's only for a while & only if it's a hot bite. They make good bait and, with some small talent, a decent fish fry too. Naysayers simply haven't had coconut fried croaker.....

I didn't have the coin to get boat t-shirts made this year so I offered the project to Tucker. He's got them, just stop by the boat....

Some readers will have seen a lot more of the Delaware Bay trout fishery than I did - those vast fleets of recreational boats. My friends had a great laugh when I caught a 6 or 7 pound 'baby trout' back in '79 - this when doubleheaders of 9-10 pounders--bigger--were not at all uncommon.

Had a fellow inquire today about those sea trout. (weakfish - grey trout) Go back a fair many years and he'd be about right--timing wise. Used to fish for 'spike' trout, very young fish, starting about now when their southerly migration began.

I believe it was 1989 when the 9 inch limit was put on sea trout. One of the first marine size restrictions -the dawn of fishery regulation in the ocean- we thought it was the end of the world. 13 inches now. Been put out of the fishery for a long time. When the regs first came in we saw benefit. Now it seems as though striped bass have discovered what a tasty treat those small trout are.

Like the 4 inch sea bass a flounder spit up Saturday.

I absolutely guarantee we caught more small trout on a mediocre day in 1985 than in the last 15 years combined.

Still see the small trout in the sloughs--especially mud bottoms; That old fishery we so enjoyed.

Recreational fishers are now allowed 1 sea trout over 13 inches.

Can't restore a fishery with just catch restriction.

But we keep trying......

First cool afternoon in forever, deckhand Mike and I built a prototype C-BOMB -- Chesapeake Bay Oyster-reef Module Building unit.

I am convinced rock/concrete substrates and reef balls are not the whole solution for the Bay - nor are 'materials of opportunity' our full solution at sea.

..I'm also now sure that Mike and I know precious little about forming concrete.

We'll build another prototype.

At a state Artificial Reef Committee meeting a short while back two heavy hitters in the Chesapeake seemed pretty adamant about reef projects.

One group likes their concrete ground up sub-bowling ball size for reef substrate. Another seemed to be looking for reef balls to reduce dredge impacts to artificial reef built of loose, easily dredged, oyster shell..

I thought it ironic that one was paying extra to grind it smaller, the other paying extra to make it bigger.. With no defense from silt.

I think we need a size-scalable reef unit that more closely mimics oyster yet allows most silt to pass through - The C-BOMB.

No one seems to want to use concrete pipe - My kingdom for 4 big bargeloads out front every year .

Or just boulder.

Sakes.

The Jimmy Jackson Memorial Reef Fund is doing very well. I have an idea for tog-condos that really needs to get tested -- I know it will work, that with modification we can make concrete pipe much better tog habitat. Nestled in amidst existing reef; "Jimmy's Tog Town." He'd have liked that.

Summer soon over, we'll be back in the reef building business shortly. Might start with an old scallop boat.. Maybe.

I'd sure like to see our Armed Forces get some target practice - Live Fire target practice.. A Warthog nosedown, letting fly a lot of lead; A small naval battery testing all that fancy computer targeting equipment; Simply a Coast Guard cutter stitching the waterline of a 77 foot scalloper with her 50 cal - Well anchored and area secured - Bet that would get some hits on you tube..

Used to be Operation Sink-Ex off Puerto Rico. I don't know how many ships got sunk - all in 2000+ feet of water.

What a waste..

Be a sight better if training resulted in habitat.............

Chesapeake's oyster nearly lost; Reefing is making some progress in the most studied estuarine hard-bottom habitat loss in the world: Of that I'm glad.

There's a lot of habitat missing out front too, In the ocean; That big danged piece of water that doesn't see a penny on the restoration dollar compared to the estuaries.

Not kidding when I assert that in cbass/coral we are trying to restore squirrels to a Nebraska wheatfield: Not only has management not planted a single tree with purpose, They haven't gone to see if there are any trees - Or ever were any.

Callum Robert's "The Unnatural History of the Sea" - still haven't finished it. On the subject of trawl damage he is quite detailed. Fishers have been complaining since the 1300s about habitat loss from stern-towed gear: True.

A whole generation --the first generation really-- of US marine managers concerned with fishery restoration is fixated on catch data, sometimes very poor data - while ignoring the basic, simple biological truth of habitat production.

Not a bunch of habitat brochures & and toothless law: Needs finding & fixing.

"Corals Discovered Near Washington, DC"

One day.

Fuss with August a while more.

Catch a sea bass, flounder - whatever will bite!

Regards,

Monty

Capt. Monty Hawkins

mhawkins@siteone.net

Party Boat "Morning Star"

Reservation Line 410 520 2076

http://www.morningstarfishing.com/

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