A Boat Limit of Sea Bass and Flounder to Seven Pounds

By Scott Lenox

A Boat Limit of Sea Bass and Flounder to Seven Pounds

Hit the vid for new stuff from Squidnation available at Atlantic Tackle!

It was a beautiful day on the ocean with light winds, and though it started off real cold, the sun warmed things nicely and it was actually very pleasant.  There was some good fishing in the bay and in the ocean making it a real shame that the weather starts sucking tomorrow.

I had the pleasure of joining Capitan Chris Mizurak and the crew of the Angler for my last sea bass trip of the year today and as usual had a great time.  The weather was beautiful and even though the dog sharks came out in a big way, we were able to jump around enough to put a good catch together.  We had sea bass up to 3 pounds or so and some flounder upwards of 7 pounds.  It was a great trip and should make a great new Hooked on OC episode after the first of the year.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star was out on the ocean today too and he had a great day of it.  It doesn’t sound like Captain Monty had to deal with the dog sharks as much are we did on the Angler and he had another boat limit of sea bass today……and he’s right about MRIP.

Carried a light crowd into a calm, clear blue sky sort of day. Winds came NE then E but never over 10 knots. Nice day. 

Cameron & Chase gave today’s reef blocks a shove at Taylor Thornton’s Memorial Reef. We held a course offshore. 

I didn’t like the feel of my first stop. As my Long Island mate, Joey, used to say; “Hey, whass-a matter Capt? You not feelin the Luv?” 

Ahh, no. No I was not. 

Today’s fuel strategy a faded memory, we paddled off a bit more. 

Here we got busy. Glad it was a light crowd though. Hit another spot and another – job done. 

Boat limit. 

Frank won the pool, Gerry came in second, which, yeah, that doesn’t pay – we chalked up another boat limit and had plenty of crew fish to pay the rent. 

Yesss.. The very nice folks who let us store our reef materials on their West Ocean City lot don’t want money – but they luv fish. Cbass especially ’pay the rent.’ Couldn’t do the reef block project without them.. 

I’ve long written about “Show us the boats” – “How many boats would that take?” and, “There could not possibly have been that much recreational catch because there were never enough boats to carry that many anglers.” I’ve tried everything in my attempts to sort NOAA’s recreational catch estimates into their rightful scientific assignment & ranking – at the bottom of a rubbish can. 

It’s always, always, always been my word against an army of statisticians. A fisherman vs NOAA’s own PhDs.. Even when they’re so blatantly wrong absolutely no one believes it? It’s ‘peer reviewed’ data & NOAA’s Regional Administrator will ensure it gets used. 

What a mess. 

It’s just nonsense. 

From NOAA’s perspective any amount of catch is plausible. That’s why they’re forever accusing us of “overfishing” despite tighter and tighter regulations. I’ve tried, but upper fisheries science and regulation-making staff have no time on the water, they’ve no reason to have any inkling of what real fishing pressure is. Our catch of sea bass can circle the moon three times and make perfect sense. 

Until now. 

Now it’s super straightforward. Inarguable. 

When MRIP has the number of Ocean Only Private Boat Angler Trips at 139,792 in Wave 4(July/Aug), 2022 – you can simply divide by 4 for total number of boats (actual private boat anglers will dispute that – say the number of anglers per boat would be lower, but we’ll use it..) then divide again by number of fishable days. Here 60 which is, again, a gift to MRIP. It’s way too high. Weather, especially weekend weather, plays a huge role in recreational landings. Still, here at its simplest, we have 582.5 boats per day leaving Ocean City Maryland inlet to fish in June/July 2022. 

Ummm.. That’s never happened. Not once. Video might convince me there were 582 boats all month? Never per day. Not a shot. 

NOAA could absolutely remove the guesswork in that estimate and use a count of boats (with an estimate of anglers aboard) by turning to their video. 

The lowest estimate among recent June/July wave 4 series is during wave 4, 2021 where 51,530 private boat anglers would have needed to make 214 trips per day to match the Marine Recreational Information Program’s (MRIP’s) private boat effort estimate. 

Ahhh.. Nope. 

Even their lowest estimate never happened either. 

The highest in recent years was wave 4 2016 when MRIP claims 311,675 anglers made 1,299 boat trips a day. 


The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) has absolute proof these estimates, and all the rest of Ovean City’s “Ocean Only Private Boat Angler Trips,” are bogus. 

There is no reason to continue NOAA’s charade of MRIP’s infallibility because it is “peer reviewed.” Scientists who did those reviews may have understood statistics to an incredible depth, but they sure didn’t understand recreational catch. 

Bunch of derned nonsense is all it ever has been. From the earliest days of MRFSS recreational catch estimates in the 1980s, there’s been no more truth than a broken clock having the right time twice a day – an accident. It’s grown amazingly worse over time until today it’s become a giant giveaway to commercial fishermen because vastly elevated recreational ghost catch has been used to make stock assessments (fish population guesses) appear far larger than real – this while recreational regulations have tightened noose-like owing catch data no one should believe. 

A terrible, terrible mess has been made by accepting as ‘peer reviewed data’ what most fisheries professionals  recognize isn’t even ball park worthy. I have no idea how NOAA Fisheries can unglue itself from these ever worsening catch estimates. Dern sure have to or fisheries science shall remain blind.

In order to have a factual count of just how far off MRIP has been, I would like access to the videos. Must I file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case? 

We’ll see..



The Fish Bound crew has been having some great fishing lately with loads of sea bass up to 4 pounds and tautog catches to 12 pounds.

Big Bird Cropper had some fun catching and releasing a bunch of short rockfish on Roy Rigs at the north and south jetties and the route 50 bridge.

Don’t miss Winterfest of Lights going on now!  Hit our YouTube for a quick walkthrough.

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