02.11.2013 More Toggin, Truth in Condervation, Big Meeting

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Fish Report 2/11/13 <o:p></o:p>

More Toggin <o:p></o:p>

Truth in Conservation <o:p></o:p>

Big Meeting <o:p></o:p>


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General Winter Wants To Shut Tog Season Down. <o:p></o:p>

I see one window - Long Tog - Friday - 2/15/13 - 5:30 to 5:30 - $150.00 - 16 Sells Out. <o:p></o:p>

Couple Big Blows Coming <o:p></o:p>

..but so's March. <o:p></o:p>


No Live Fish Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live-Fish Black Market Is Hurting This Fishery) <o:p></o:p>

All Regulations Observed - 4 Fish @ 16 Inches. <o:p></o:p>

Green Crabs Provided. You're welcome to bring any hard bait: Lobster, White Crab, Blue Crab, Hermit Crab: Even Gulp Crab .. No Squid, No Clam = No Dogfish. Cbass jigs OK away from the tog bite IF they're working. Temps are dropping, cbass are few & far between inshore. <o:p></o:p>

Be A Half Hour Early - We Like To Leave Early. <o:p></o:p>

Clients Arriving Late Will See The West End Of An East Bound Boat.. <o:p></o:p>

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3,648 "Oyster Castle" Reef Blocks By The Rail. (904 @ Jimmy's Reef) <o:p></o:p>


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Greetings All, <o:p></o:p>

Great big dagoned snow. Had a sold out boat Sunday, but all my clients were stuck in snow related chores ..or just stuck. Kicked around the ocean some with 2 clients. Mike caught a nice lobster. You'll recall Capt. Paul on the Porgy IV says big swells make hooking lobster more likely. <o:p></o:p>

Pretty slow post blizzard. No Charge & No worries. We'll fish again. <o:p></o:p>

Had 2 Indian River boats fishing down our way too in about 90 feet of water not quite 2 hours from OC Inlet Sunday. <o:p></o:p>

All that bottom up there.. Curious. Chasing internet fish? <o:p></o:p>

I hope they caught all they deserved down here. <o:p></o:p>

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Have had some nice catches, awesome really. Had my head handed to me as well. Both on the same day even. A fellow released a 13+ pound female recently. Exhausted, she didn't make it. Had to back down on the anchors and re-net it. A while later his friend lands one 18.6 pounds. Both nice tog. <o:p></o:p>

Need to grow a long time before we get a few that big. Harder now.. <o:p></o:p>

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Not too many limits, some skunks: Even skilled anglers can go home empty handed on a tog trip. Recently I had a NY skipper who obviously knew his blackfishing, another fellow I've tagged 17+ pound releases for, and even my Russian friend goose-egg while others aboard had one of the best trips of their life. Happens. <o:p></o:p>

It absolutely happens. <o:p></o:p>

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I've given away 1,000 pens that say, Reef Restoration Makes Fishery Restoration Simple. (thanks Alex - ) <o:p></o:p>

Some managers get it, others find the idea laughable. <o:p></o:p>

Take away Ocean City's downtown armor stone, bridge pilings & jetties for instance: See any tog? Now put them back and you have an inshore tog fishery. Little bit of management - fishing's better. <o:p></o:p>

Double, triple, quadruple the habitat & fishing becomes better than anyone can remember.. Would. <o:p></o:p>

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Below is a news-story link of big-energy using explosives to clear old oil rigs; rigs completely encrusted with corals.. <o:p></o:p>

I'm sure they'd rather skip the expense, but at some level the Fed, Coast Guard especially, is MAKING THEM clear these oil rigs. <o:p></o:p>

It illustrates NOAA's ignorance, a deeply ingrained resistance, a failing to accept coral growth and fish production on man-made substrates as 'good' coral & 'good' fish. Remember, they were taught in school that artificial reef is bad, that artificial reef only aggregates fish for recreational harvest. We have no "Productionists" in upper management, only "Attractionists."<o:p></o:p>

Now thirty years on, perhaps forty years since schooling; something as bad as attracting fish for easier recreational extraction couldn't possibly be of consequence to fisheries restoration, has to do more harm than good. Blowing it up can't be bad.<o:p></o:p>


An industry that can drill in mile-deep water can figure out how to clear an old oil rig for safe navigation w/o losing a mature reef's fish population. <o:p></o:p>

Maybe this is why Russ Dunn said we'd never see red snapper fishing as good as it was.. <o:p></o:p>

Hey Russ; Every Agency Involved Too, If you lay these rigs over gently and overspread the area with upriver granite or Florida marl you'd soon discover you had, in fact, made that area's fishing much better; had created fish populations better than ever. <o:p></o:p>

Or you can let them boys keep blowing up live reefs while closing red snapper because of over-fishing. <o:p></o:p>

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Clever use of habitat ecology that. <o:p></o:p>

Sometimes I really wish I could switch to the wheelhouse vernacular in these reports..<o:p></o:p>

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Some insight as to how prejudice is formed. "Artificial reef is bad" a mild case; its this easy. Here Jane Elliott's famous Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes illustration.. About 10 minutes. <o:p></o:p>

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One day I'll find a ceramic coffee mug for the Hawaiian Underwater Research Lab, HURL. Yes, their acronym has everything to do with seasickness. <o:p></o:p>

Are we really supposed to believe MRIP isn't Murfss Rest In Peace? That at least they thought it was going to be? <o:p></o:p>

Beating-up on MRIP.. You should see the press releases where a program that was supposed to be running by 2009 is proud to announce they're about to get going: Here from the "NE Regional Office MRIP Fact Sheet" published a short while ago: "..A 2006 independent review of NOAA Fisheries data collection methods serves as the blueprint for improvements under MRIP and priorities for moving forward. . . . Milestones to date have included: <o:p></o:p>

Creation of the National Saltwater Angler Registry, currently being tested for use as a component in replacing the Coastal Household Telephone Survey. <o:p></o:p>

The re-estimation of catch estimates to correct for potential sources of bias in the way we have historically collected data from anglers...." <o:p></o:p>

A really important number needed to calculate How Many Fish Did They Catch? is, How Many People Went Fishing? <o:p></o:p>

They did the re-estimates before folding-in this missing ingredient, the license created head-count. The National Salt Water Registry was supposed to reveal how many people went fishing. I believe ignorance of this number is at the very core of this fiasco. Whether its adding a hundred thousand tautog to the Mar/Apr NJ jetty estimate, three quarters of a million scup to Massachusetts' for-hire summer landings, or almost a million pounds of sea bass landings that never happened; In these "milestone" re-estimate tables are mountains of proof MRIP had four flat tires; hasn't passed a milestone yet. <o:p></o:p>


Its important readers know while some are trying to convince us huge progress has been made, others are truly & diligently working toward real solutions. I'm sure this issue with recreational catch data will get ironed out; It will get fixed. <o:p></o:p>

What I'm unsure of is if whole recreational fisheries will have headstones before NOAA passes milestones. I'm positive its more painful than kidney-stones..<o:p></o:p>

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Anyway, one thing that's more & more common at meetings is being told to stay on precise topic -- what's in that power-point slide on thatscreen is all we/you need to know: Do You Have Questions On That Specific Item? <o:p></o:p>

Readers will not be surprised I have questions; questions which might involve decades of foundational knowledge that may, in fact, illustrate the absence of any foundation in the presented idea's premise. <o:p></o:p>

A question like, "If no one in this room believes the estimate, why are we using it?" has no place because its not on the screen.. <o:p></o:p>

People who have to believe our present-day recreational catch estimates have difficulty grappling questions framed as though the estimates were false. <o:p></o:p>

There are times when no one involved - at any level - believes a catch estimate. <o:p></o:p>

Doesn't matter what's true. There it is on the screen. This is our best available science. <o:p></o:p>

Sorry if that destroys your life's work, life savings & marriage while actually shrinking the fish population. <o:p></o:p>

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Maryland summer flounder fishers had a lucky roll of the MuRFSS/MRIP dice: A Zero! <o:p></o:p>

A zero or very low estimate allows managers to regulate as though fishing pressure has waned to inconsequence, is so diminished that regulation really has no effect. <o:p></o:p>

In theory, because May/June's estimate has MD's private boats catching zero flounder, we could remove all regulation from May/June 2013 and, very arguably, remain within federal guidelines. "Best available science old chap! Right, Right; Cheerio now.." <o:p></o:p>

No real repair creating true mathematical values in our estimates, just luck. <o:p></o:p>

We rec fishers could press hard for a huge reduction in MD's summer flounder regulation with our golden goose-egg. That gaping hole in the estimates telling managers "effort was light and catch nonexistent" could be parlayed into an increase in our bag-limit and a reduction in size limit.. So far, however, we're unanimously supportive of keeping 2013 regulations the same as 2012's because we can plainly see our opportunity for reduced restriction, our chance at less regulation, is sourced only from a bad estimate with no real relation to our fish or fishing.. <o:p></o:p>

It can equally be demonstrated that coastwide sea bass 'overages' are of precisely the same pedigree, have presented an opportunity for management to close a fishery sourced only from estimates with no real relation to fish or fishing. <o:p></o:p>

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Would that management might see truth for what it is and give us our sea bass back. <o:p></o:p>

Might find something out at the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting this week. <o:p></o:p>



Monty <o:p></o:p>


Capt. Monty Hawkins

Party Boat "Morning Star"

Reservation Line 410 520 2076<o:p></o:p>

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