It was another beautiful day today with no wind, sunny skies and warm November temps, and once again the fish cooperated big time!
Blake Gunther and the crew had an awesome day in the ocean today using Deadly Tackle tog/bottom jigs with crab baits. They gang had a limit of tautog along with on over red drum and a big black drum on today’s trip in calm seas.
Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler reported another “good one” today with sea bass and some nice flounder for his folks.
Captain Jason Mumford of Lucky Break had to wade through about 30 throwbacks, but it was worth the weeding with three keeper flounder going in the box.
Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star enjoyed another boat limit of sea bass with some stud fish in the mix.
Sea bass boat limit 11/05/23 ..and I almost had the blues.
(Speaking of which..) “Got me a rich man’s woman, living on a poor man’s pain” Corey Stevens (who sounds remarkably like SRV..)
Tied the Morning Star loose directly into sunrise owing a return to normal time – Fall Back. A light chop developed from the NNW on our way off. At less than 10 knots; a pleasant air. Steamed a good way before Chris dropped a twenty block unit on his father’s reef – we pressed on.
No drifting this morning; as Brian lowered the port danforth we were soon into sea bass and, increasingly, blues. Shades of last week when I’d been run off a ‘sure bet’ kind of spot by voracious bluefish: makes two kinds of blues right there..
Wasn’t to be though. Soon found bluefish in far few number and keeper bass in occasional doubles.
Even Hurricane was getting it done.
For a while.
By and by though we’d nicked the hungry and dumb ones out; hauled anchor to find more. Dern the luck! Almost limited!
But press on we did.
By midday the ocean had grown glassy calm. A slight bauotrauma event began. We lost perhaps eight or ten 12.5 inch releases to the heat before I pressed inshore some to shallower water. (8/9/10/11 inch sea bass survive better – fifteen inches and larger are problematic..
Baurotrauma in sea bass, where the air bladder is distended and blown – forcing the stomach out – is very much survivable out to 200 feet and more. My ALS tags back in the 1990s proved it. Even had one fellow, a 16 inch male, get caught in 125 feet, then tagged and released.
Usually months or years before a return – if at all; not the brightest bulb in the pack, another angler (fishing bottom) recaptured that fish not 20 minutes later. I do not recall if the fish was boxed the second time..
It is, however, necessary for cbass to stay cool while at the surface. So long as waves, even wavelets, overwash the fish in the minutes it takes to re-equalizes it’s air bladder? It will adjust and return to the bottom.
In rare instance when the sun is shining bright and the ocean is glass calm – a sea bass floating away now has no way to remain cool. Belly up – it’s vitals may rise 40 or more degrees in temperature.
No joy – those fish become ‘recreational release mortality.’
Where a move won’t help or isn’t possible we turn to venting needles. Required, I believe, on reef fishing boats in the Gulf of Mexico, venting tools simply puncture and release excess gas that’s expanded in coming to the surface.
In cbass, owing especially the fishery’s nearshore fishing pressure, release mortality across a season will, in truth, create low numbers.
When MRIP gets done with it’s inventions of incredible catches, however, release mortality gets us in trouble at times.
A lot of times..
In a curious twist; it’s also true that sea bass are often found as much as 60 feet off the bottom.
If an angler is in, say, 150 feet of water catching sea bass that have been feeding on krill 50 feet off bottom, then that depth is what their air bladder is adjusted too — 100/110 feet. Even if caught on bottom it will be as though it were only 100 feet deep.. There we’d rarely have any issue with barotrauma save in August with a blistering sun at 100 feet..
Nicked a few more – a few more – and then, with Ray R leading the pack(!) – I’m glad to report we had another boat limit.
Tonight (11/5/23) at 9 (if all tix are processed!) is the second weekly drawing for the OC Reef Foundation Raffle.
First Drawn – a beautiful ocean wave pendant & necklace from Park Place Jewlers (who also donated our grand prize diamond encrusted fish hook necklace..)
Second – A St Croix spinning rod perfect for all manner of Mid-Atlantic species donated by Sea Bass Bob..
Third – A Kunnan spinning combo donated by Capt Gus..
Fourth – a Yeti tumbler and Capt Monty Reef & Beef Spice.
Fifth – a long sleeve 2023 reef t-shirt and R&B Spice..
Winning weekly tix go right back in the barrel for all drawings!
Next Week? More Great Prizes!
OCRF’s 2023 Park Place Jewlers/Benelli USA Annual Reef Raffle. One ticket for $10 – six for $50 – fourteen for $100 – plus an additional ticket for every additional hundred.
A buyer of $200.00, for instance, would be getting 15 tix per hundred; at $300 it would be 16 tix per one hundred so 48 tickets.. $500.00 would be 90 Tix & 1,000.00 would be 240 tickets.. Great Scott! There will be nice weekly prizes – Grand Prizes will be drawn Jan 1, 2024 with Weekly Drawings every Sunday. Grand Prizes are currently a Sweet 28 Ga. Benelli Semi-Auto from Benelli USA and a diamond encrusted gold fishhook necklace from Park Place Jewelers..
Buy tickets online at ocreefs.org at the ‘donation’ tab. Marisa will fill the name in on all your tickets, then send a pic via email. Drawing won’t take place until tix are all filled in. If you don’t have a pic within 48 hours on weekday sales? (First Check Your Spam Box!!) ..then Email us!
I’ll (probably!) compile a list of weekly prizes this week. Am also on the prowl for more prizes. AllTackle donated two fantastic rods and an awesome spinning reel. West Marine donated a sweet marine beanbag – the kind you can sleep like a child in on the way offshore.. Rambler Reef supporter, Ed, donated a huge ‘new in the box’ Christmas decoration – a 6 foot popup snowman (that I will now award until after Thanksgiving TYVM!)
Paul donated a working man’s Over & Under 12 gauge – Used but virtually new – Sweet!
So much more.. So Much!
This raffle is it for 2023 reef funding. MD does NOT have a state marine reef program. (Shocking for the Chesapeake Bay State, no?)
The Feds do NOT have a marine reef restoration program (nor even recognize we ever had reef and especially not that any reef was ever lost owing fishing gears..)
These things change though and YOU are going to help!
Having read this far? You likely already have.
Play the OCRF Reef Raffle. We’ve already made a difference. Just getting started!
Rick Strauss and his crew had a mixed bag of flounder, mahi and sea bass on their last trip of the season.
Still some great bay fishing to be had. Check out the vid and Subscribe!
Check out our “12 Days of Christmas” at Atlantic Tackle! I had the pleasure of heading out on the bay today with my very good buddy Big Bird Cropper and though the weather and fishing weren’t… READ MORE