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Fish Report 6/28/06

Of summer fishing and computer glitches...

Hi All,

First off, if you're scratching your head wondering what this 'fish report' is; click reply with a short note about what numbskulls fishermen are - I'll get you off the list. My address book disappeared and it has been a chore to reload the info. There are bound to be names that shouldn't be. I apologize - there's enough spam in the world!

A fish report then: I suppose a good way to characterize the fishing is by looking at 6/19 and 6/20. That Monday, with 20 to 25 SW knot winds, was one of the toughest days I can remember. High man had 8 sea bass - some only had 1 or 2. The next day, Tuesday, we were bagged out - completely 100% done - at 12 o'clock sharp.

Every other day has been somewhere in between. We're not seeing a whole lot of limits - just a few now and again.

I'd mention flounder too, we had a couple good days on 'em but then it fell in a heap - just a dozen or so in the last week.

Haven't caught a blue lately.

Remarkably, we are seeing a few red hake (aka ling). Now, don't get the deep fryer out just yet; I'm talking about a very few ling. Still, it's encouraging because they are being caught in places that have not yielded a ling in nearly 20 years. You may recall that I think commercial scalloping effort has an effect on the red hake population. This is because in the early life stages they live within a live scallop. A 'commensal' relationship the scientists say. The ling 'move in' at just under a 1/2 inch in length and remain, except for nocturnal foraging, until they are almost 5 inches long. It does not appear to benefit the scallop, nor harm it. Strikes me as odd to see them coming back as we are still very much in a peak of commercial scalloping effort. However, they did close a large area called the Elephants Trunk to scalloping in 2004 - hardly time enough for a ling population to mature but perhaps enough time for us to start seeing some benefit.

To our north I heard reports of the 'ling resurgence' from this winter past. Some will say "It's a cycle". I say baloney - it's cause and effect - we just don't know what they are!

It is odd that as mid-Atlantic scallop landings went up - red hake numbers plummeted. For a while I thought we'd better mount a few for the Smithsonian!

There are many marine critters that enjoy a red hake snack. They have turned up in numerous stomach content analysis. Often times I've had charter skippers and mates tell me of tunas with their bellies packed full of 'em. I would fully expect that sea turtles too would prey upon this rather slow bottom dweller.

Just another place for ecosystem management to step in...

Regards,

Monty

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