>> JANUARY 31, 2018 <<
CAN WE MAKE ANYTHING OF THIS WINTER BLOCK ISLAND COD FISHERY?
So when looking back over the past 30 days in January on the cod fishing off Block Island, can one wonder why it has possibly resulted in the lowest CATCH (includes discards) and HARVEST (actual number of fish taken by anglers?
Some would ask if we can check on my last statement, and I would tell anyone that they could check if they run a MRIP DATA QUERY and in 'fiddling' with the input variables, this is what you will come up with:
Why do we see this, and this is where you should be reminded that: "In this region we have no Wave 1 reporting"....
Nonetheless, we do have the de-facto online fishing report portal, that being on socialized media where the codfish news has been pretty much 'dismal' to put it politely, with only two days where various captains from the Ocean and the once Empire State reported the laughable 'ORL' or is that 'OLR' when summing up the fishing day.
A number of fishermen have asked on the reason why the cod fishing has ranged from barely a handful of fish during most days in this month, to those two special "you should have been here" fishing days, and in part this January has had brutal weather with daily gusty winds. The other is something that should be mentioned when fishing upon a codfish spawning aggregation.
Since this is a NY BIGHT INSIDER, I am going to keep this short, but I want fishermen to get a little idea on what research scientist concluded on this topic on a study done in Massachusetts, and I will pull out the relevant points:
- Atlantic cod exhibit multiyear homing to discrete spawning grounds, where they aggregate in dense
-Within an aggregation, a series of complex mating behaviors takes place before mate selection and successful spawning.
- Disruption of these behaviors has been suggested as a cause of diminished reproductive success and poor recruitment in some stocks.
- During the closure period, 10 Atlantic cod were captured, tagged with acoustic transmitters, and released back to the aggregation. Four stationary acoustic receivers were deployed in the area to record transmissions from the tagged fish. Overlapping detection ranges of the receivers allowed for the reconstruction of fine-scale movements of the tagged fish over several days.
- The tagged cod showed a consistent pattern of aggregation prior to the fishery, characterized by limited movement and similar space use.
- With the opening of the fishery, the aggregation behavior was disrupted, resulting in increased horizontal and vertical movements and dissimilar space use among individuals.
- These results indicate that the spawning aggregation was completely dispersed by the onset of the fishery (gill-net).
Now I understand that this was one study, with an extremely small sample size of codfish used and the gear type in the research was gill-net, not trawler or hook and line. Those fishermen who experienced the winter Block Island cod fishery from the years when it first started, will point out that the number of vessels (both for-hire and private) in this particular area East of Block Island were easily three to four times greater than what we see so far this January. Can we draw any conclusions from this, compare and contrast to what we see now?
In wrapping up these thoughts, I do (as well as others I would imagine) how large/robust in the number of codfish - migrated from the waters off southern Massachusetts to the waters east of Block Island. Was this a 'significant' in numbers of codfish aggregating to spawn, or just a few thousand codfish at best?
There is another month ahead for us and February has been always been one where cod were caught reasonably well off this area. The upcoming weather pattern has been extremely unstable and we are coming into a FULL MOON. Let's see how the cod fishing turns out the next few weeks, and as much, if these codfish off southern Rhode Island continue a westward migration off to the south shore of Long Island.
MORE TINKERING AROUND WITH ONE OF THE FINEST FISHING REELS MADE
It was more than four years ago when I wrote about the DAIWA SEALINE 300H and pointed out how well built and easy it is to work on this line of reels. It was on the 'well built' part which I emphasize where this line of reels was manufactured to go up against and improve upon two of the most popular conventional reels made by Penn Reels, that being the Jigmaster and High Speed - Red Senator series. The original Daiwa Sealine not only exceeded these reels in quality and performance as we experienced first hand on the fishing grounds and came as close as one could find to a bullet-proof fishing reel. Who could debate this point as it was the first full aluminum frame and precision aluminum spool mass produced reel along with coming with noticeably beefed up internal parts when compared to the Jigmaster and comparable 'red' Senator reels.
There was one area though which Daiwa, and to an extent Penn and Newell Reels always seemed to have an issue with during time period and that was with the drag system, specifically with the fiber washers. All these reels when put on a pull scale, barely put out what some today would consider adequate drag stopping power. What was more interesting is that each reel company used their own type of drag washer material with one drag material barely better than the next. This did change with Penn Reels with the introduction of a woven carbon fiber which became one of their finest products with the HT-100 drag washers.
In further discussing this very point on drag washer material, the two other reel manufacturers mentioned, the first being Newell Reels, continued to use what many consider on par as a smoothie-type washer material until their reel production ceased a few years ago. The other being Daiwa, used a traditional thick in diameter washer as seen in the images below with the original Sealine reels using various proprietary drag materials, each one neither better than the next, and this was just not my opinion but shared by other fishermen.
This had led to what many fishermen in substituting one of the various size HT-100 drag washers in their reels, and I will emphasize that what I mention here is not ground breaking or new. In fact, and to my knowledge has been done for the last decade and a half in changing out the stock Newell and Daiwa drag washers and inserting the HT-100s. As you will see here, I am using a different approach on which size HT-100 to use along with a tweak with the drag stack and drag collar washers.
In the above image you will see various size drag washers categorized as 4/0, along with 4/0 main gears and the Daiwa bridge sleeve. The Daiwa Sealine 300H (and we should add the 50H) uses the equivalent of a 4/0 main gear washer but the HT-100 drag washer actually used in the original drag washer upgrade were from the 'Black' Senator 6/0 with Penn Part Fiber Washer # 6-114 or Washer Kit # 6-114SP Kit. Using this Penn 6/0 washer allows anyone to just drop in the fiber washers or by using the full fiber and metal kit to improve drag performance.
I like to thank Captain Keith Apman for supplying the following images in using the 6-114 HT-100 drag washers. Thanks Keith!
Captain Keith lays out the tools and the Daiwa 300H reel on the work table...
Here he holds up the stock Daiwa Sealine drag washer where you can clearly see and compare the thickness to the much thinner HT-100...
This image will give you a good idea on how the 6-114 fiber washer fits inside the main gear...
Notice that Captain Keith has placed a grease lubricant on the drag material to create what some would consider a 'wet drag' surface. He does use what many reel repair people consider the finest drag lubricant on the market as seen in the image below. This prevents and greatly lessens the 'jumpy' or sticky drag, and more so preserves the life of the fiber washers...
Now my modification was based upon using the 4/0H or 6-113H fiber washer which is noticeably different than the 8-114. They are WIDER in circumference, thus has to be cut down in order to fit inside the main gear. A dremel tool with a grinder attachment is used, and the process takes maybe a minute, two at most to get the washers to fit properly.
The reason why I prefer the 4/0 - 113H washer over the 6/0 - 114 washer is that the INSIDE DIAMETER of the 113H washer is a perfect fit, with no slack or space around the bridge sleeve. There is also noticeably slightly more drag surface being applied by each individual 113H fiber washer over the 113
Now I use 4 113H washers, with the fourth fiber washer sandwiched with another fiber washer. I should have taken a picture of what I am mentioning here, but all you are doing is putting one fiber washer back to back with another fiber washer, and I did place this at the top of the stack.
The next step is what goes under the Daiwa Sealine 300H main gear, and once again as pointed out by Captain Keith and which is noted on Alan Tani discussion on the Daiwa 300H Sealine drag upgrade is to use Penn part - 6-875 Washer, Drag Washer HT-100. Here if you do not have this washer, my tweak was in using a Jigmaster size Penn part # 6-309 (same as fits in the Newell 200-300-400 series reels) HT-100 and opening the inner ID with a dremel tool. This is quickly done, but it barely takes a few careful passes with a dremel.
Then the last two personal tweaks as seen in the image below to the drag stack is in using a Pro Gear Reel part from their 4/0 gear set with a belleville washer to seat on the top of the metal and fiber drag stack. This is different from what Daiwa uses with the 'keyed' washer.
Finally since I have a spare parts Daiwa 300H, I have extra drag collar spacer washers, and used one in this case which I placed with the other two above the drag collar. I placed them in this position:
((( - instead of ((), but that is a personal choice on fast or slow you want these drag washers to compress under tension when you rotate the drag star.
Here are a few last brief bullet points and resources on the Daiwa Sealine 300H drag tweak and once again I will remind you that do have more simpler options (as I have pointed out) when you first open the reel and see this:
- Purchase the 6-114 fiber washer drag set along with the 6-875 to quickly upgrade the drag system
- You can also go this route which you can purchase from SMOOOOOTH DRAG. I have done business with them recently and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM...
- Another source for drag washer kits is Bryon Young and his ULTIMATE DRAG KITS, but I do not know if he has this kit available at this time. He can be contacted at: Ultimate.Upgrade@yahoo.com - along with being possibly the best person to help in providing you with the drag kit options available...
Finally the whole purpose of upgrading the Daiwa Sealine 300H drag system is with my near future plan for the upcoming Nantucket and Georges Bank cod and pollock fishing trips to have a reel comparison among this group of YTS or better known as Yellowtail Special size reels:
I am going to substitute the Penn 113H YTS with Newell kit, with the 440 Newell with a Tiburon 440/533 'Yo-Yo kit' and Tiburon T-Bar handle that has the PRO CHALLENGER - Newell 3.6-1 gear set and Ultimate Drag kit.
I just like to see how all these reels perform especially if the Daiwa Sealine 300H, a reel that can still be found for under 50 dollars, can match up against these reels.
A 4/0 YTS SPOOL WITHOUT THE LEFT SIDE CLICKER SPROCKET?
I was contacted by a fishermen who read a few of my articles on YTS reels and went out and bought the various parts, one of which was a black colored spool which he originally thought was made either by Accurate or Tiburon. He was a little surprised since he didn't notice at first that there was no left side clicker sprocket when he assembled the reel, and then wondered why when the clicker was engaged, there was no clicking sound. He pulled apart the right side plate off from the reel and removed the spool and wondered who manufactured the spool (besides the 'oh' he probably said at that time).
In thinking back to machined spools, here I am not 100% sure about the early Accurate or Tiburon YTS spools, but I would imagine since I did own the early kits, they did come with the left side clicker sprocket. Next thoughts were on some early Pro Gear Reels which did come without the clicker, but here again I am not sure that those reels did not have the clicker sprocket on the spool. But there was another small 'boutique' reel manufacturer that seemed to be the genesis for Pro Gear Reels, and it was this company:
I did tell him to send me a picture of the spool or at a minimum, remove the line off the spool to see if this was engraved on the spool arbor. Needless to say, little more was said by him and I never did find out, but if he did get a YTS Lee Pro spool, in my opinion it is one of the finest spools made.
On the fishing trip I made in January, one of the fishermen onboard saw the sabiki rig I was using and wondered where I had bought it from. I explained these are the new heavier sabiki rigs sold by OE TACKLE that are made with 60 lb test mainline and 50 lb test branch line.
He further asked if they come like what is seen in the above image and I told him that i personally added on the larger swivel and heavy duty clip. The reason is that almost every sabiki rig sold (even these) comes with hardware barely decent enough for freshwater fishing:
I explained that I prefer to clip off the swivels and cheap snap clip hardware and attach two - 175 lb Rosco (black on top, silver with the clip) swivels along with a heavy duty clip to hold the jig or sinker. It takes maybe two minutes to rig up this way, and after the days fishing, I cut off and remove just the chrome Rosco swivel and clip and throw away the rest of the rig. It is something I did after experiencing when lifting a somewhat large dogfish which opened up the cheap clip on the rig, taking a 6 oz chrome hammered jig. For the two minutes at most which it takes to put this hardware on, it lessens losing a 4 or 6 oz jig when fishing for macs.
Something to keep in mind, and it literally costs less than a dollar with the two swivels and clip, but lessens the loss of a jig when the cheap snap clip opens up.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
One of our FISHING UNITED .com members sent me this image and asked what could be done here. Could it be still fished by using the clamp?
The problem here which is pretty rare to see on a Newell Reels, especially a 500 series or 4/0 size reel:
Now since this reel is fished with heavier line and used target bigger fish, I highly recommended to not use the reel but to look at options:
- Re-attach the original Newell 533 parts
- or what I prefer:
- Purchase a full Tiburon 533 kit
I do understand that I was recommending to this fishermen to spend another 175 dollar purchase for the TIburon kit (frame and spool), but in this case it was well worth it as I have found these kits as good as anyone can ask for.
I will keep you updated on how the installation goes on this reel. Personally I like to see the broken Newell Reel base. It is very rare to see even on the graphite foot.
GOOD QUESTION, BUT WHY USE THEM?
Many of us grew up fishing for mackerel with tubes, and the cut tinker tubing was slid over Mustad Limerick or for that matter with other store bought rigs, any small hook. But at this time with sabiki rigs noticeably out fishing plastic tubes, why would you use them?
To each his own, but this was broken out from one of the boxes here and will passed along to someone who does want to try using them when the macs are around.
Needless to say recreational fishing will not be fishing either out of New Jersey or New York during the so-called open federal waters in February. The shame here has been debated time and again at the fishery meeting over the past few years with not even a reasonable 5-6 bycatch limit even allowed. I was just told a funny story by a customer fishing upon one of the New Jersey boats for scup and it illustrates the lunacy with the current BSB closure during January and February.
There was a group of Chinese fishermen just fishing up the rail from me. Sea Bass are closed so in order to lessen catching any, I was using a very thin cut piece of squid on a smaller hooks. Early in the trip, one of the Chinese customer is leaning into what seemed to be a very big fish. His rod was pumping up and down and he was proudly yelling out "big one, big one." It was a big one alright as a triple header of jumbo black sea bass with the weights added together probably coming close to nine or more pounds. The Chinese customer starts cursing the sea bass loudly, and doesn't let up as he unhooks and carelessly flips each Bo' biscuit back with a nasty word.
Thing was that he would love to keep them and was cursing about having to toss each one of them back instead of in his cooler. I did not want to say anything, but it didn't help that these guys were using squid heads and large baits which no doubt draws the attention and more so a big sea bass into biting the hook!
For some who are friends on socialized media with one of the New Jersey party boats holding a moratorium BSB permit, there was a video posted of one fishermen pulling up a rig filled with nine big sized biscuits out of the ten hooks that were baited. Here is how it looked on deck:
SO WHAT IS ON THE INSHORE WRECKS
This was sent to me by a fishermen fishing with a very noted captain who took a trip to the wreck seen in the image above. It is not a well known wreck as it is out of the way from most fishing ports and they figured the ride to this spot would yield a few cod and pollock. They saw some readings when they came up to the wreck but...... To make a long story short, this spot was loaded up with dogfish to the point where it was unfishable and they shortly left. It was a shame since the ride took them a good distance from where they would normally fish at this time of the year, wasting both time and adding to just a tough fishing day.
SO I ASKED AND THIS WAS WHAT I WAS TOLD TO PURCHASE
Just last week I saw Brian over at the FISHERMAN'S SUPPLY tackle shop on Beach Channel Drive and asked him about the 'best' winter fishing glove since he carries a very wide array of choices as you will see along the shelves in the store. Now I shouldn't have asked it in the way I did because there is the more indepth question in what are you looking to do with the glove.
By far the Atlas and other commercial gloves are made for deck work as they are not made for sensitivity in holding your line but in protection and holding up to abuse. There are cheaper dedicated neoprene gloves made for the recreational fishermen, but most fail in keeping one fingers warm or under perform for a number of reasons as it is tough to balance warmth aspect with the line sensitivity aspect.
He then pointed out the one which I did buy since I personally wanted to see how good they are. If you look closely at them, they do remind you of gloves similar to what divers use. The material and appearance is roughly comparable, thus covering the warmth aspect. There is also a different, lighter material sewn in at the tip area of the finger we typically use to hold the line, and he said that is about as good as a company has come up with for line sensitivity.
I will note that I have not seen any fishermen reviews or discussion about this particular glove and did research on the company and found this written:
The Pro Hunter glove was designed from our popular perfect curve glove and are a favorite of the US Coast Guard and NOAA. Featuring Touchrite Technology allowing the user low friction fingertips perfect for casting or shooting. 2MM Fleece Lined Neoprene.
I also read some mixed Amazon reviews, and at this point I will see how the glove and my hands feel after a day of fishing in the winter.....
NEW YORK FLUKE REGULATIONS
I have to thank Captain Keith Apman whose father Richard made up this informative summer flounder chart based on the New York regulations over the decades. Mr. Apman wrote a number of articles for one of the noted local fishing magazines years ago. As you can see he has complied the open season, size, and possession limit, and to see it laid out in this manner and seeing the salami-principle played out as we entered the 21st century. Yes what we once had and now little we get to keep now!
There is no doubt that the late December and early January arctic freeze set the winter fishing season not only back, but shut down in most areas. We here continue to speculate to the effect for the rest of the winter through to the early spring in April when most species are migrating inshore. There is no doubt that bottom water temperatures in the region are as low as we can remember due to the ice runoff from and out of the rivers, bays and sounds in our region.
We will see how it plays out over the next two months, but it is apparent that we now may be entering a more seasonable winter pattern, but with higher winds speeds which makes it trying for even the largest party boats in planning to leave the dock and go fishing for the day.
Until next time....