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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 -- Lousy but bassy -- News items

Saturday, October 27, 2007: Waves: heavily chopped 5- to 7-foot waves, combined north and south wind swells; messy but cleaning with late-day offshore winds – which should make tomorrow a lot more workable than today.

The rain played ruined while the wind polished off any hope for angling comfort. Though the gusts switched to the SE (at up to 30 mph) the end to NE’erlies didn’t offer much of an angling window. However, I heard of quite a few bass in the surf. Most of the bass were less than 34 inches, a couple made the classic grade, though I don’t know if they were caught by contestants. A fellow called me about a large bass he took on the sough end but released when we found it was blinded in one eye. He though it might have been a wound from once being caught. I have caught three such one-eyed bass, though I often note in here how hugely dangerous it is out there for any predator. Watching the Discovery Channel special on bait balls, I noticed that all the awaiting gamefish seem highly hesitant to just blindly dive through the ball. It surely isn’t an effort to be polite. There are a lot of dorsal fins that fly around in there. One modest poke is sure blindness. And, yes, the danger from the loose trebles on a multi-treble plug are always a huge danger.

Also, I’m 100 percent like that angler. Even if I’m heavy on the meat-hunting trail, if I come across a fish with some flaw that has obviously plagues the bugger for its entire life, it gets released.

Back to those bass. The NE winds did nothing to knock the water temps down. In fact, most readings are still mid-60s – when mid to low 50s are not out of the question by now. Still, there has to be some of those offshore bass taking interest in the nearshore goings on. Those many-mile-out stripers are huge, per those who have happened upon them.

Bear with me here because I haven’t fully digested the president s latest statement on bass in the EEZ. I know it bans commercial fishing for them but I haven’t seen anything on instantaneously allowing recreational anglers to target them -- just yet. If I’m off target there let me know, otherwise, don’t try keeping those out-there stripers – the satellites are watching you.

The fluke population near the beach is all but peaking. I can’t imagine how many we’d catch if we were to target them. By the by, it is against the law to even target fluke as if in the catch-and-release mode. I’m told that by state authorities. (I often catch hell by passing on what I’m told by the authorities – more than occasionally passing it on sarcastically.)

NEW NOTES (SAXTON RELEASE): WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jim Saxton’s (NJ-3rd) legislation to authorize multiple oceanic and coastal research programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was approved by the Science and Technology Committee Wednesday, setting up a future vote by the full House.

The Ocean Exploration Program and the National Undersea Research Program (NURP) would be authorized for seven years under the bill, H.R. 1834. The House Natural Resources Committee, on which Saxton is a senior member, approved the bill in June. The bipartisan legislation would authorize more than $289 million over seven years for research, exploration and surveying by both programs. NURP would be authorized to spend another $164 million on science, education and technology development, such as the Long-term Ecosystem Observatory at 15 Meters, LEO-15, near Tuckerton, N.J.

These two programs are core to the mission of NOAA,” Saxton said. “The bill opens the door to discovering new marine organisms that might yield therapeutic benefits, as well as exploring shipwrecks and submerged sites. The oceans hold many secrets about the past, present, and future.”

Saxton’s bill is backed by senior members and conservation leaders in the House, including Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Sam Farr (D-CA), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Don Young (R-AK) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). It provides: $30 million in annual funding to expand ocean exploration to discover new marine substances that potentially have therapeutic benefits; study unique marine ecosystems, organisms and the geology of the world's oceans; and maximizes ocean research effectiveness in the ocean science community.

The Ocean Exploration Program would also study the ocean floor to gain new insights about its physical, chemical, biological and archaeological characteristics via undersea expeditions, exploration projects and field campaigns to unlock the mysteries of the world's oceans. NURP has the unique ability to access the undersea environment, with submersibles, diving, robots and seafloor observatories. NURP provides scientists with submersibles, remotely operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, mixed-gas diving gear, underwater laboratories and observatories, and other cutting-edge resources. NURP

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(The following came from the BHM&TC’s exceptional news updating system. Members get contacted emailed (often once a week) with a slew of angling news stories.)

Even if the president of the Maryland Watermen's Association, Larry Simns, is concerned about President Bush signing an executive order that will grant gamefish status for red drum and striped bass, odds are it will be a long time before that will affect the Chesapeake Bay.

The president's designation, which removes the two species from commercial pursuit, is one thing; the place it can be enforced is another. Bush's order is aimed at federal waters, which means three to 200 miles offshore.

That might be a "landmark victory for recreational anglers," according to the Coastal Conservation Association, which has been fighting to protect the two sporting heavyweights. However, the president knows he can't arbitrarily cancel various Atlantic states' love affairs between their natural resources departments and the commercial fish netters.

For example, one Maryland Department of Natural Resources spokesperson already has said, "We have no intention of changing [the rockfish] classification."

And regarding Bush's announcement, DNR deputy secretary Eric Schwaab said, "Maryland law requires fair and equitable allocation of fishery resources among user groups. While allocations do shift over time for various environmental, social and economic reasons, these are decisions that Marylanders should make for Maryland in close consultation with our neighboring states along the Atlantic Coast."

It means — and we sport fishermen didn't enjoy hearing that — "Butt out, Mr. President."

For a brief, happy moment we thought the red drum and the stripers no longer could be netted commercially, but the euphoria didn't last long.

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