Lots of Limits On Opening Day of Sea Bass

By Scott Lenox

Lots of Limits On Opening Day of Sea Bass

It was another real foggy one today, but with little to no wind there were lots of anglers out on the ocean taking advantage of the first day of Maryland sea bass season.  I bet there would have been more boats were it not for the fog, but if you don’t have radar it was a good call to stay at the dock today.  Most boats that hit the ocean were in pea soup fog all day long…..the upside was the sea bass were snapping!

Captain Kane Bounds of the Fish Bound had some locals on board today and they put a hurt on the sea bass and did it early.  The crew had a limit of nice knot heads and was back to the dock early.

Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler reported an awesome sea bass bite today as well and he even saw a very nice tautog come over the rail for the last time until July 1.

Captain Willie Zimmerman of the RoShamBo was out in the ocean today for the first day of sea bass and his crew had an awesome day as well.  They had a six man limit in two hours and headed back to the barn…..slowly.

Captain Jeremy Blunt and the crew of the Wrecker had an awesome first day of sea bass today putting a boat limit on the dock at the Ocean City Fishing Center.

Minh Dang caught this 20″ citation sea bass today and got it certified at Sunset Provisions in West Ocean City.

The crew of the OC Girl had a boat limit of sea bass today and was back to the dock in time for lunch.

Anglers on board the Judith M out of Bahia Marina enjoyed fantastic sea bass fishing on today’s trip.

Captain Wayne Blanks of Bayside Guide Service had a nice morning for his anglers putting them on two keeper flounder.

Chase Thomas was fishing with his brother and his dad Jason when he landed this 21″ flounder on the Deadly Double in chartreuse with a 3″ Gulp in the Thorofare.

John caught this nice chopper bluefish while fishing the Assateague surf.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had a boat limit of sea bass on today’s trip to the foggy ocean.

Greetings All, 

A fine foggy day with super calm seas; a fabulous day you just couldn’t see. Young men Ashton & Jack dropped twenty blocks on a long  targeted reef – we were soon fishing. 

I had wanted to minimize any possible interaction with professional mariners; fished where tugs and certainly shipping would not likely come across. 

Worked. 

Below I offer a fine opening day rant. Don’t have any open spots for a while. Will open most of June in coming days.. 

For today’s Boat Limit recap we had plump ‘keepers’ from last year coming steady, but those are this year’s throwbacks being released around the rail. Thankfully we were also boxing keepers. An hour into today’s fishing and Jigmaster Tom was high hook. The guy next to him has a goose egg — a donut hole accompanied by very clean ice. 

Oyyyy.. I don’t want to use any names here, but his initials were Warren. 

At the helm all day in fog – with two radars running and fishing hard for the whole rail; when I snuck out of the wheelhouse an hour later & checked again? Talk about coming from behind; Warren was nearly high hook on the boat with 12 & soon boxed our first cbass limit of 2022.. This while Zig, who wasn’t ever far behind, swept the pool. Did I mention Zig also caught a 26″ tog on a chartreuse fluke rig? We put it back but I’m unsure if it was genetically suitable.. Dagone tog eating a fluke bait..

I also got a kick out of Earl’s “automatic hook set” fishing on the bow. Every single time he’d rack his rod to help his very capable young son – his rod would bow up with fish. 

I do mean every time. 

Hard to beat ol’Rodney Holder sometimes. 

Nice when you can catch em without looking. 

Tomorrow’s a new day. Hope the fog is gone & the southerly breeze holds off a while as forecasted. 

It’s going to take a while to recalibrate my eye. Been measuring 12.5 inches almost 20 years. Could spot a hair short sea bass from 20 feet most days. Then last year NOAA said VA Private Boats caught half a million pounds of sea bass in May/June instead of a couple thousand  pounds like usual. 

Are they so suddenly incredibly capable? Did one typically low catch state suddenly box 1/12th the entire annual coastwide recreational quota in a few weeks? Did VA’s Private Boats really catch in a few weeks what all Party/Charter north of Hatteras caught that entire year? 

Or is the data just nuts..

Yeah, it’s crazy. No one could examine that data and say, “Oh Sure, I believe that..” Especially not someone familiar with the fishery. 

Falsely accused of the ‘overfishing’–of taking more  sea bass than we’re allowed by fed quota–this season we saw the size limit go up half an inch and have lost 3 solid weeks of vital end season in “Accountability Measures.” 

My goodness.. Boy do I wish catch data could be made to suffer any form of  “accountability.”

In 2015 we had the worst spring run of sea bass EVER owing years of sub-bottom profiler soundings in the MD Wind Energy Area. 

In 2016 & 2017 I correctly predicted to management we would see a mammoth surge in sea bass as the wind area was recolonized and cbass again began to spawn at age one–that young spawning sea bass were far more productive than Big Old Fecund Females. 

You know, that’s what everyone is taught in fisheries, that successful spawning is best with Big Old Fecund Females — BOFF theory does work sometimes. 

Perhaps often. 

Fails utterly in sea bass and, I suspect, would also be shown to fail in other sequential hermaphrodites — in reef fish that change sex to balance their spawning population. I’ve been trying to get scientists to look at and use my work on sea bass spawning production in management since 2006. It’s as though I’ve had the same treatment as Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. 

Everyone “KNOWS” BOFF is all we need know. It’s heresy to claim otherwise. 

Sure wish someone with horsepower at NOAA would ponder, “How did this lobotomy surviving, anti-BOFF preaching heretic accurately predict such a robust & sudden increase in DelMarVa’s sea bass when fishing was at it’s worst?”

Nurse Ratched dispenses MRIP’s mind numbing madness across the full spectrum of state and federal fisheries – those recreational catch numbers are used regardless how imponderable – and I’m the one who’s off his rocker.. 

Oh, in 2017 I also correctly predicted MRIP would sense the uptick in catch and we’d be punished. 

Yup. 

From 2015’s absolute nadir, by 2020 we had the very best sea bassing since 2003.  

In a five year span we had the very worst sea bassing ever – followed by some of the very best. In that time there was no change in recreational or commercial regulation. 

I so hope we’ll one day manage fish for spawning production and begin seafloor habitat restoration. Even habitat investigation? 

I’ve seen it twice–have seen what its like when nearshore sea bass spawning is maximized. I absolutely believe we could make our sea bass populations larger than ever before – sea bass harvest too. Commercial & Recreational. 

Instead? 

MRIP’s recreational catch estimates still run the show. 

Fertilizer in – Fertilizer out. 

Regards, 

Monty 


Bob Haltmeier reported that fishing was good at the Oceanic Pier in downtown Ocean City today.  Bob caught bluefish up to 24” and there was a keeper tog caught as well.

Hit our new YouTube video to see the strongest, lowest profile braid to monofilament knot there is!!

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