>> OCTOBER 24, 2017 <<
How can anyone not enjoy the weather we have been have here lately in this region? Calm seas, little wind and barely any rain has made the past few weeks conducive to going fishing. Sitting sunning myself on one afternoon along the southside of Squan Inlet and enjoying tee-shirt weather and yet watching fishermen along the shoreline and boats coming in, Surprisingly I neither saw one fish caught along the jetty or birds following any of the boats coming in early during the afternoon. What can we say other than 2017 is definitely a very different fishing year here in the NY-NJ BIGHT nexus.
What I have personally heard about the fishing, can be summed up with these few bullet points:
- Few birds seen in the sky indicating schools of bluefish and/or striped bass making their way back from southern New England waters ** I like to make note, that this has been commonly heard from both captains and fishermen in this area from Montauk to New Jersey in the NY-NJ BIGHT
- Unusual amount of southern fish species still coming up during a day of fishing
- Striped Bass fishing in NY Harbor pretty decent. Few if any stripers seen along the south shore, channels or off Sandy Hook
- More weakfish caught in October around Long Island, than we have seen in many, many years. In fact, last weekend on the BSB -EEZ opener, one boat found a bountiful of "keeper trout" on a wreck that lays in 20 fathoms of water off the Garden State shoreline
- Blue fishing not what it used to be with the most consistent fishing off the Deep Water Reef
- Black fishing seems to be starting off very slow with both captains and fishermen summing it up to, "water to warm, phase of the moon, numerous amount of smaller undersized fish, current running to hard"
- Scup fishing off on the south side of Montauk, yet extremely good still on the inshore grounds of the TIN CAN
- Black Sea Bass stacked up on a number of mid-range wrecks - THIS DOES NOT MEAN KEEPER SIZE FISH THOUGH
- Tuna fishing for YFT & LF may be as poor, pathetic as anyone can remember
- Tuna fishing for BFT pretty decent as far as consistently finding and fishing upon these tuna
- Mahi 'pot' fishing still holding up and surprising those who are venturing offshore
For this fall season, there is not such thing as a "good tuna spot" or "bad tuna spot."
It does make one wonder when you see this Kodak moment out on the vast blue-bird ocean, and the topper being a plastic boat (aka P-R-E) backing in between all the boats there and not only almost getting pinned, but in a too close for comfort in so far as banging up against a few of the boats there. Yes this is what happens when you try as best to just do a little BFT fishing during a scheduled canyon tuna trip so your customers can bend a rod on a offshore tuna 'wishing' trip. Interestingl though, there are a good number of BFT around as seen when you get over them....
TIRES - BAD ENGINEERING BACK IN THE DAY IN A.R. ECO-SYSTEM ENHANCEMENT
Anyone see the recent LA TIMES (10.10.17) ‘It just looks like a pile of trash’: Boat crew hauls tire reef out of the sea off Newport
A failed and controversial experiment in aquaculture off the Newport Beach coast is being dismantled after sitting below the surface for nearly 30 years. An artificial reef of tires, plastic jugs and PVC pipes, envisioned by its builder as an oasis of kelp and mussels but described now as little more than a debris field, is being removed by a cleanup crew from the Wildlife Health Center School at UC Davis with funding through the California Coastal Commission.
There have been other stories or A.R. sites where used tires were dropped over and eventually ended up along another states shoreline or necessitating the use of teams of divers to clean up as noted in this article in Scuba Divers Left Picking Up Pieces After Tire Artificial Reef Projects Fail By Melissa Gaskill (May 25, 2016)
But as the experience in France demonstrates, not all artificial reefs are created equal — some materials can do more harm than good. In the 1970s and ’80s, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and California also built reefs with used tires. Before long, loose tires washed ashore, came up in fishing nets, piled against natural structures and, in some cases, simply disappeared. The main problem — according to a Gulf and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissions report — is that tires last indefinitely in the marine environment, but materials used to weigh down and connect them do not.
I asked Captain Monty about the use of tires for building artificial reefs and he made quick mention of one of the problems in using tires, especially during a time when the thought was to toss just anything in the sea within the A.R. footprint and they would stay in one place:
The mistake was in engineering. EVERYTHING grows just fine on tires ----- Including Fish!!
He then noted this by sending the above picture with the caption:
(Yes, these are tires from the late 1970s.. Pic shot just a few years ago.)
Of note is that the Rockaway or East Beach Reef along with the Atlantic Beach or what we called the Buoy 4 Reef had a number of tire units sunk a few decades ago and those spots noted as "hot spots" for catching fish.....
As reported by FISHERY NATION - CONTINUOUSLY UPDATED on the latest story from the GLOUCESTER TIMES ONLINE (10.23.17), to wit:
“The Gulf of Maine Atlantic cod shows a truncated size and age structure, consistent with a population experiencing high mortality. Additionally, there are no signs of incoming recruitment, continued low survey indices and the current spatial distribution of the stock is considerably less than its historical range within the Gulf of Maine.”
The cod assessment is sure to generate the most contention among fishermen and industry stakeholders, as it continues the ever-widening gap between the dire conclusions of the scientific assessments and the every-day observations of fishermen on the water.
Needless to say and it particular, GBank Cod and as it also concerns GOMaine Cod, both seem to fall under the classification by the NEFSC as the "stock condition is poor." The latest draft working paper for peer review only Georges Bank Atlantic cod 2017 Assessment Update Report gives a brief overview of the current stock situation.
The point here and as noted, is that no matter what for-hire and handgear fishermen have been reporting over the past year with "more cod than we have seen in years," odds are that those on the NE Council will continue to keep a overly risk averse mindset in regulation setting on the recreational sector for GOMaine cod retention in the coming year(s). As for the GB cod, we keep holding our breath that a 'status quo' remains in place for any changes in recreational fishing in 2018. What more can we add as fishermen continue to say one thing on fishing sites, social media and at fishery meeting while regulators keep mentioning the "unknown" when it comes to the codfish stock off New England..........
I STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN AN ANSWER....
One wonders if something is slipped into the drinking water at both the Council and Commission meetings when you see news such as this pop up. Why also wonders why - especially when you see how poorly our NYS fisheries are managed and as much lately in mind-blowing non-compliance enforcement issues.
From the infamous Research Set Aside scandal, to numerous 'outrageous' compliance issues in the recreational sector, to a non-existent Artificial Reef Program (yes especially compared to the neighboring state of New Jersey), to little done in creating some sort of for-hire 'medallion' to protect those in the business, to possibly the highest fishermen dissatisfaction among commercial, for-hire and recreational anglers in any coastal state...oh and lest we forget, the negative impact of the upcoming Tautog Amendment and the reductions coming next year to this fishery in Long Island Sound and the ocean waters off the south shore of Long Island all under his watch.
Maybe someone can find the proverbial "silver lining" on this one....
Here is another one where you just wonder where those in the fisheries here in NYS will support their fishermen and as much, the for-hire businesses here.
Lets see....we have a MAFMC meeting out in Riverhead the other week, and we saw how the vote played out, this after only ONE public comment was allowed to be made by those who support and those who were against. Thankfully Captain Paul Forsberg Sr. stood up and spoke for the for-hire industry and recreational angling community with the reasons for opening up the month of February much in part to get data on angling effort and harvest during Wave 1.
The vote thankfully was supported by a number of councilors and it passed...but strangely, we in the audience saw two hands go up against from NYS! Yes we know one, initials L.N. who happened to speak with the 'individual' sitting right in front of me representing a south shore-east end boating association. I understand that. But, to see the tie-wearing individual in this picture raise his hand for a NO.....what is the perception by those in the for-hire industry who are trying to open just a small segment on the calendar year to allow for a few BSB to be harvested by recreational anglers?
That brings us to what occurred with the following week Commission meeting on opening the BSB - Wave 1 fishery in February 2018, and a vote as I was directly told broke down to a 5-4-3 showing of raised hands, with this action passing on the Commission level and now left to the individual states on whether to open up the 28 days in February 2018 for BSB harvest. In particular and to be noted here, were the 3 votes that represents ABSTENTIONS, with NY being ONE of the THREE ABSTENTIONS.
For those who have not figured out what is going on here, again take a close look at the POTENTIAL Wave ! Harvest & IMPLICATIONS slide which clearly points out, even with the extremely ERRONEOUS - 50/50 harvest split between for-hire and private vessels table shows at most at most a loss of between 3-4 days for a particular state that opens to BSB harvest due to the private vessel estimates added in.
As for "extremely ERRONEOUS" split, Fishery Specialist Brandon Muffley noted that their is little if any recent Wave 1 harvest data, and based his Potential 1 Wave Harvest table estimates on Wave 6 (Nov-Dec) angling behavior (effort and harvest). How could ANYONE with any background in this fishery use Wave 6 - private vessel harvest and fishing effort as an comparison for Wave 1 estimates in the month of February?
Troubling to say the least, but disturbing for any for-hire business/operator believing that this would impact in directly causing the loss in days in the ever continued whittled down BSB season from Mid May through December. The issue is the M-RIP-off powerball harvest estimates causing the most robust stock in the MAFMC region to essentially have freshwater possession limits:
It should also be noted in those who showed up to speak, with public comments prepared for the recreational sector in NYS:
- Captain Paul Forsberg Sr. and Captain Carl Forsberg - VIKING FLEET
- Captain Joe Tangel - KING COD
- Captain Kenny Higgins for- Captain Rob of the CAPTREE PRIDE & CAPTREE PRINCESS
- EC Newellman for Captain Michael Ardolino - BROOKLYN VI - Sheepshead Bay
Pay attention to this:
SURE IS -
It should be very interesting on what NYS fishermen decide upon come the WEDNESDAY November 8th at 2:00 p.m. at the DEC offices, 205 Belle Mead Road – PLEASE NOTE THE DATE CHANGE!
The question remains on whether the LIS blackfish fishery can be whittled down to 1 or at most 2 fish possession limit, and if we will now see a reduction of a few open days lost come 2018.
349 - YO-YO or WAHOO JR. SPECIAL
After fortunately get a hold of a few excellent condition PENN 349 Reels, I finally was able to put one of these rare kits to this particular reel. I should have the full story on making better use of one of the most notable fish pulling reels ever made....
A NEW ADDITION TO THE BIG COLLECTION & THANKS TO CAPTAIN KEITH
Captain Keith from the Bay passed along a few pictures of a sidewinder rarely seen these days, that being the aluminum 'Fred Munz' reels that were used during the 70's and early 80's. This reel happens to be in outstanding condition with no pitting, reel rash, tarnish or the two plates being spread (common on these reels that were regularly fished).
If one notices, the dog-bone crosspiece along with T-Base on this reel which many fishermen would then use on latter delrin cut sidewinder reels.
Captain Keith also passed along a pic of some fine collection of these reels. No doubt, a great deal of local fishing history there!
From what we have seen this late summer and early fall, 2017 is a very different season in so far as the traditional migratory patterns that we have come to expect. One thing that is apparent is that the NY-NJ BIGHT area is experiencing a warming waters change where southern species will become more prevalent and our old time favorite species - especially when it comes to larger fish, found further east. Thus.....................
If I can pass a tip here when it comes to BSB, just keep in mind that most everyone seems to be pushing the season here in where they are poking around to make a catch of NYS size-keepers. One thing we have noticed over the past few years is that the bigger biscuits are not on the wrecks, but over the open bottom and will not show up in any amount on the mid-range and offshore wrecks until and at a minimum, around Thanksgiving or latter.
Instead of thinking of getting off to wrecks, concentrate on where you would think the BSB would be making their way from the inshore waters and out to the deep. Look at 'blackline' charts and pay attention to depth contours, similar to where a dragger would make a tow for these fish at this time of the year.
Just my humble opinion here, and I don't expect many to the west of Moriches finding the main vein of BO's until that much latter on the calendar.....
Finally, this was sent over to me by a noted fishing writer:
Now who cannot laugh at Bill Kliban humor? Definitely needed during these troubling times when thinking about the regulatory issues within of our regional fisheries....