Sure Turned Into A Pretty Day

By Scott Lenox

Sure Turned Into A Pretty Day

Get your rockfish, sea bas and flounder gear at Atlantic Tackle in West Ocean City!

Today started off chilly and windy, but by the time I was pulling my boat out of the water this afternoon with some help from my buddy Big Bird Cropper it was down right nice.  Sounds like it started the same in the ocean where it was pretty rough for a good portion of the day, but by the time the anchor pulled to come home it was calm and warm.

I got a chance to hit the bay with my very good friend Big Bird Cropper for a new episode of Hooked on OC today and as always we had an absolute blast!  We caught some fish too which is the point of a fishing TV show so that was good.  We threw some Roy Rigs at the route 50 bridge to start and released a couple of short rockfish and then we switched tactics to something Bird has been doing for a couple of weeks.  We idled in the current and dropped back Stretch 15′ and 20′ lures and just jigged them a little bit and let them do their thing.  We had great success with some nice bluefish to 5 pounds or so, a tautog that actually ate a Stretch and a keeper 29+” rockfish.  It was a great time with my buddy in some awesome October weather catching some fish.  Bird then helped me tow my boat to the ramp so I could get it out of the water to get the engine looked at.  Thanks Bird!!

Captain Chase Eberle of Chasin’ Tides Charters had a nice day in the ocean putting his crew on a limit of sea bass and a ribbonfish followed by a 29 1/4″ keeper rockfish when he got back to the dock.

It was a little rough in the ocean this morning, but fishing was good and it calmed down nicely by this afternoon.  Captain Chris Mizurak of the Angler had a good day for his clients including some limits of flounder.

Captain Monty Hawkins of the Morning Star had to deal with the rough weather this morning too, but he also persevered and put his anglers on some nice fish.

Sure turned into a pretty day. Didn’t start that way. NW winds of 20/25 were honestly decreasing even as Emilee & Jordan from PA dropped blocks at Capt. Jack Kaeufer’s Memorial Barge. Oft times a NW forecast will lure you on offshore, only to increase around 9 am. “It’s a trap!” as Capt. Ricky up Parson’s dock used to say.
But not today. Got pretty.
Don Douglas was first to bag out. Seven others would follow suit.
Ol’man Murphy (of Murphy’s Luck) was hitting on all 8 today—taught Emilee to always, (Always!) play the pool; then saw to it the fellas draggin’ wagon this morning didn’t limit.
You can bet Tony Voggs didn’t mind her not playing, and the guys who didn’t limit had a good time—are taking home a jag of sea bass regardless.
Saw a pair of menhaden purse seiners this morning. I thought they were loaded-up & headed south to the processing plant.
Nope.
Soon a pair of spotter planes were above them; then seven more boats—a clever kid could have made it all look like a small WWII battle in the south Pacific.
I don’t have an objection to the marine menhaden fishery. Like so many others, however, I do think we ought to let estuarine-found schools grow – and feed multitudes of fish as they do.
Once in the ocean? Have at em ..to their legal limits at least.  
Fisheries management is all about harvesting “surplus production.” With accurate inputs we should be able continue fishing and either grow a species‘ population; fish it so their numbers remain constant; or, take their number down a notch or two should it be deemed they’re putting too much pressure on available resources which need be shared by other species.
In the case of menhaden, or even more broadly to sea bass & tunas, NOAA and management should be seeking means of creating the species’ best spawning production.
I’ve long (and quite unsuccessfully!) tried to get NOAA to consider why we had such a massive increase in sea bass along DelMarVa during early—barely regulated—management. Indeed, it remains that the very best sea bassing any could recall was just 5 years into regulation.
The 25 fish creel limit was brand new in 2002, also a 12 inch size limit — we caught limits. In 2003 (my first year operating my own boat) we were limited-out far more often than not.
All those keepers – every single one – had been spawned while the size limit was 11 inches or less and none of the fish which produced those spawns had ever been protected by a creel limit.
Hmmm…
In fact, after the 12 inch limit was installed in 2002 – sea bass spawning production about fell off a cliff until 2016.

Would that managers might grasp the awesome power of maximized spawning production.

More to follow…..

Regards,
Monty

Chrissie caught her limit of two keeper tautog on the Oceanic Pier today when she landed fish of 17″ and 17 1/2″.

Owen West caught and released this healthy rockfish in the shallow river right behind his house yesterday.

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