Glorious Day To Be On The Ocean

By Scott Lenox

Glorious Day To Be On The Ocean

Check out the Daily Angle at Sunset Marina!

I was stuck in the house this morning with online meetings, but I was living vicariously through my Facebook and Instagram feeds watching folks enjoy the beautiful weather.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had to go into double overtime today, but it was worth the extra time as he put some beautiful sea bass on deck.

Glorious day to be in the ocean; NE breeze made ocean air cool yet seas remained calm; sea bass snapping..
Wait.
Two out of three?
Cool & calm for sure. Sea bass were indeed feeding where I took my anglers today too – heavy at that.
Just not on our baits.
On krill.
Tiny little shrimp. It’s what they do. Rest in the current with pec fins and let food come to them.
Today Chandler and David dropped blocks at one of the reef habitats I have invested so much energy in. Reef, for sea bass, is more often about evading predators. Man in a gray suit comes round? You won’t paint sea bass one on your sounders. They’ll all be as deep into the structure as they can get. Day like today? Forty or fifty feet of sea bass suspended off bottom feeding on tiny shrimp the current washed by. (Among the thinnest of ‘shellfish’ with krill and smaller/thinner still with zooplankton, here is where ocean acidification will strike first.. topic for another day.)
Sea bass were up off the bottom today. Way up. Even an accomplished angler such as Mike Fry was surprised most of his cbass bit off the bottom.
I remember Woods Hole biologist Josh Moser’s archival tag study in 2004 showing a sea bass at our Queen Reef rising to thirty feet off bottom nearly every day (doubtless feeding on krill) across months – then hunkered down for a hurricanne before moving off to 300ft in Jan/Feb – and deeper still to 700 feet in March (Bottom temps drop coolest in March/April) before the tagged cbass came back inshore quick to the exact same inshore reef at the Queen site in May..
Often “stomach content analysis” in sea bass literature will describe a “grey mass.”
That’s krill.
Digests quick.
A recent study found sea bass fed almost exclusively on crabs.
Oh man.. A master’s thesis with exactly zero years on the ocean. “Look! They eat crabs!”
Sure. Cbass do eat rock crab – white leggers to tog anglers.
But those crabs take a long, long time to digest.
Really long.
Sea bass surely would not suspend themselves away from the safety of a reef every day if their diet was solely a crab that’s never leaving bottom.
And tog, who I think mostly eat tiny mussels, wouldn’t stand a chance of finding a white-legger if our cbass biomass truly relied on crab. In fact – there’s zero possibility a healthy sea bass population could rely on a reef’s rock crab production for sustanance.
But, that’s the current science at MAFMC.
Fits perfect with NOAA’s MRIP recreational catch estimates.
I swear, any management that actually works does so by the same principle our kitchen table regulations so obviously helped in the years before state/fed marine management began.. Any restriction does something. Promise – Sea bass and tog both did better with pre-regulatory efforts…..
Yesterday I wrote I was confident I could’ve limited folks on sea bass – but it was a fluke/summer flounder trip. Today I came upon massive stacks of sea bass feeding on krill. They were supremely difficult to catch. I had shrimp on the rail for bait – just not live shrimp 3/16 of an inch long with tiny sweetwater hooks.
Even had fresh clam today. What sea bass could turn his nose up at that?
Oh, I know where thousands are.
Later I set up on a classic cbass drop – one I’ve seen thousands of times before when clients bowed up around the rail.
Caught sea robbins.
Haven’t seen sea robbins stacked up like that since I was running the OC Princess back in the 1990s I think. Same scenario – difficult day and confidently announce – “In they go! Sea bass stacked up!”
..and No.
Sea robins.
Finally fell into a slow pick of nice sea bass. Added an hour to the day.
Then another.
Almost another still.
Some of my guys fish a couple times a week. Some just once or twice a year.
Try to make em all glad they came to Ocean City – send em home with a fish fry.
Pretty sure I succeeded. Martin took the pool, so he will agree!
Have a few spots open tomorrow. �Cheers,
Monty
There was some slightly better than sucky tuna fishing yesterday and the crew of the Boss Hogg got in on a little bit of the action.  Captain Alex Beane put this group on five very nice fish.
Also yesterday, Guy Smith and his crew found 6 yellowfin tuna on the troll out in the deep.

We caught over 50 flounder on the Bay Bee this weekend….check it out….Subscribe!!

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