Primary Search Drops 508.5 Pound Stringer – 2024 Tuna & Tiaras Results

By Scott Lenox

Primary Search Drops 508.5 Pound Stringer – 2024 Tuna & Tiaras Results

The 2nd and final day of the 2024 Tuna & Tiaras Tournament is in the books and it was a very exciting event for the ladies!  I did a Facebook Live with Captain Austin Ensor of Primary Search this morning after learning that he and his lady crew had been jumped by 5 bigeye tuna.  The five lady anglers (four of which had never caught a tuna) fought and landed all of the five bites and filled the fishbox and the fish bag and headed to the scales early to put the hefty stringer on the board.  The bigeyes total weight was 508.5 pounds and catapulted the Primary Search Ladies into first place in the stringer category.  Primary Search moved their largest fish of 113.5 pounds to get a piece of the heaviest fish category and still finished in first place in the stringer category with 395 pounds.  Congratulations to Captain Austin Ensor and the ladies of Primary Search on their awesome catch!

Many thanks to my man Dave Messick of Hooked on OC for the pics!

Congratulations to all of the winners and lady anglers in this year’s Tuna and Tiaras and congratulations to Tournament Director Pam Taylor and crew for an awesome event!

Screenshot

Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler reported slowish fishing today, but he was still able to find some quality sea bass and some flounder for his anglers.

Captain Dave Caffrey of On the Run Charters had a nice day of flounder fishing for his trips today putting keepers in the cooler on both.

Dave Borrell used Gulp baits behind Assateague Island to land three keeper flounder from 19″ to 19 3/4″.

Will Sonneman had some fun with the stripers first thing this morning releasing a bunch of fish just after sunrise including this nice 37″ fish.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star has swapped out his engine and is back on the water!

Old engine out, new-to-me engine in; we tied her loose this AM for the first time in a week.
Gone Fishin.
Will Keep On Too! Have TONS of room Sun/Mon…
Ocean was almost glass-smooth to start. Breeze picked up by & by – seemed like it would stay a fairly calm sea though.
Did.
Only finished buttoning up the boat a touch after 11 last night. Forgot to load blocks or pyramids until all were aboard. We’ll get started on em again tomorrow.
A great day overall, but coming across today’s first drop I saw big schools of what appeared to be nice-sized sea bass. Good size schools of tiny bass was our reality. And, while the density of those schools increased, the bite diminished.
Dogone fish.
Did end up getting them to chew this morning. High hook was using a jig. I’d thought we’d see a few fluke too – just one to start, but a nice one. A few later too.
The sea bass bite improved nicely as the day wore on.
Although the wind stayed north, it switched back & forth just enough on the compass where even at 20 knots it never built a set.
Always seemed to me tuna would bite best in a north wind. With the Tunas and Tierras Tournament happening Fri/Sat/Sun I guess we’ll see.
Missing since the mid 1990s, we saw a few ling today. Red hake/urophysis chuss/ling – whatever you want to call them – it won’t be ‘that’s a pretty fish.’
Nope, not until their fillets emerge from a fry daddy. Then?
Some good living.
Before self-enforced sea bass management took hold they used to be a huge part of our summer. We’d catch the heck out of em until the first hurricane swells in August.
Then, in 1993, NOAA closed Georges Bank to scalloping. Our red hake catch plummeted thereafter.
Whuuuut?
Whyzat?
Ahhh.. Nothing happens in a vacuum off here. According to Able & Fahey’s “First Year in the Life of Estuarine Fishes” (w/Urophysis chuss, a decidedly marine species, it was included only because they thought its early life interesting.) When red hake are spawned they soon -at just half an inch- hide in a live scallop all day & only feed at night. They’ll do that until they’re about 5 inches long.
When NOAA closed Georges Bank to scalloping, that industrial effort moved south hard. In very short order our ling fishery had a giant hole in its life cycle and the fishery went toes-up.
I hope having caught two ling inshore is a good sign. All kinds of critters eat those sorta-catfish looking red hake/ling — bluefin tuna being chief among them.
It all ties together somewhere; from oysters’ collapse in the 1970s turning the Mid-Atlantic ocean green to this day; or the astounding yet wholly unstudied loss of our nearshore 10 to 25 – even 50 fathom temperate coral hardbottoms; to an extreme pulse of overfishing causing an important prey species (and fry daddy king!) to become scarce in barely two years time..
The common thread ?
..”economically important fisheries” making the study of even long ago ecosystem impacts an unpleasant task politically.
Can we restore the sea while scientifically ignorant of our large marine ecosystem’s fishery caused failings?
I sure doubt it.
Need to dig into fishing’s history to find out what’s missing then develop a plan for putting it back..
Once you know where the holes are, they’re pretty simple to repair..
Ease up on the southern scallop population – include red hake in the scallop fishery management plan.
Find areas that once produced large catches of temperate reef fish & squid but no longer do. An absense of production offers a good sign there’s no longer temperate reef there anymore. Putting it back is not quite as simple as rolling rocks off a barge – but almost.
Oysters? Get over shell and tiny substrates. The quest for ‘natural’ oyster restoration that’s oh so dredgable will drag on another century or more before oysters are grown thick enough to provide the vital marine ecosytem service of filtering nutrients from bay out flows. When nutrients are reduced, so too will algae production be throttled back.
Less Algae?
Bluer Water.
Build big industrial reefs of concrete pipe stacked many feet off the bottom — eg, build the cement latticework for biofilters — oysters, begining to thrive owing efforts using rock as a reef substrate, will do the rest.
When built and colonized those industrial oyster colonies will throw spat in quantities unimagined in modern times..
With the ocean turned blue again owing successful oyster biofiltration, we’d return the historical white marlin fishery 40 miles inshore to Jackspot. That will be a good indicator that we’ve held a sound course for marine & estuarine restoration.
Cheers,
Monty

Caught some more flounders and had some fun with the spot the other day….check it out!!

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