Posted on December 8th, 2023
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As far as December days in Maryland go, today could not have gotten much better. The sun was shining, the wind was light, temperatures were warmer than usual and the fish were snapping hard. The boat ramp in West OC looked more like August then it did December and the only bad thing about all of it?…..I couldn’t go.
The bluefin tuna continue to chew and they continue to be caught inside of 10 miles from the beach. It’s insane! It is a great thing right now as folks are getting fishing, tackle shops are selling gear and I’m getting a fishing report way more than I usually do this time of year. Todd Sauerwald and his crew headed to the Hot Dog to be outside of the fleet of boats inshore and it paid off nicely with a stud bluefin tuna. The big fish ate a parachute rig along with some big rockfish that were released.
“Heavy” Todd, Curt Presnell and Cody Presnell had a nice day just a few miles off the beach when they wrestled in this 165 pound bluefin tuna.
Steve Hadley, Eric Farrell, Stu Farrell and Phil Fields fished just 6 miles off the beach on board the private boat FISHBOX and landed this nice 58″ bluefin tuna.
Hard to believe you’ve got to go further into the ocean to catch flounder and sea bass then you do to catch bluefin tuna, but it is what it is. Especially when you have the day Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler had with several big flounder coming over the rail with a 7 pounder, “a couple of 8s” and the biggest fish at over 10 pounds.
Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had a nice day on the ocean today with a bunch of sea bass and some cool underwater footage to boot.
Tied her loose into a gorgeous sunrise this day.
Janet and Ethan pushed our 20 block unit by the stern rail — and I backtracked a bit. Not far offshore at all, we dropped the ‘video tree’ (two u/w go-pro(ish) cameras and lots of lights mounted on a scrub brush handle – hitech!) ..lowered it down to see what was growing on some concrete pipe.
Even caught a few sea bass.
All day. Lower – Lift – Move – Repeat.
Got some nice video. Looked at two natural reefs that were mowed down by trawl – one in 2004, one in 2006. Both have regrown somewhat – sure hold fish again. Looked at a variety of artificial reef too. Will be posting as time goes along.
Just a handful of folks aboard; took advantage of an opportunity to show some federal ocean and fisheries folks our part of the ocean’s seafloor habitat – a glimpse really.
Didn’t catch limits.
Dern sure caught lots of dinner.
And, just maybe, advanced the idea that fisheries restorations demand habitat restoration. Our corals are not unlike the region’s oysters. Where oysters have been studied to where we know where every bar and reef was and know the task ahead in its entirety – with our corals, I’m ashamed to say, science must first discover those that remain(!) Then we must find out what’s missing and put that habitat back.
Promise – it’s as simple as rolling rocks
off a barge.
I’ve done this math several times. The commercial catch of sea bass from 1950 to 1961 is greater than what was landed in all the decades since, all combined. More in eleven year than in sixty three.
If it were simply overfishing, we’d have long since amped catch up to near-early levels.
Fishing controls/catch restriction, however, cannot replace spawning production owed to habitat that’s long since gone.
Can listen to stories about where Grandad once shot squirrels for dinner, but if those acres of woods are now in soybeans?
Put seafloor habitat back? A whole lot of ecosystem function will be restored..
If you like catching sea bass, scup, summer flounder, red hake, tautog; eating lobster? Habitat discovery and restoration would be a great thing. It’s the only way to truly restore fish populations.
Play it right? We can armor coastlines and increase fish populations at the same time.
Well, it’s a project I’ve worked on a few decades. Maybe today helped.
Have one spot open tomorrow if anyone’s interested. Just email me at [email protected]