Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, August 20, 2010:
The ocean is just about as calm as it gets. For you paddleboard anglers, this is an ocean day all the way. I’ll have to give that stand-up paddling/angling a try someday but it seems to be quite the juggling match with paddles, fishing rod, tackle. The thing I really want to try is the swim fishing, inexplicably known as skishing. I’ve spent so many decades in the wate, as a surfer and commercial diver, that I’d think nothing of donning some flippers, a wetsuit, grabbing a reel/rod and swimming into the ocean. It’s become quite the thing for some goofballs. I wouldn’t be a full-blown goofball because I just wouldn’t do it at night like hardcore skishers. I just couldn’t take the possibility of running into things that go bump in the night.
While many folks will immediately offer the shark defense when explaining why they would never in their live try skishing, I used to do long-distance ocean swimming, which had me well off the beach, stroking for miles, parallel to the beach. Skishing is a far less dramatic splashing action. In fact, it’s very much a light leg kick to stay in place. Such easy leg motion is not a big draw for sharks, Besides, the shark population is so down that even injured and sick seals repeatedly reach shore around here. Those wounded animals would be ten times the draw for sharks. Besides, having sharks in the mix wouldn't be skishing but skarking. Still, I’m intrigued by the oddness of hooking up and fighting a fish just about as mano-a-mano as it gets. I already have the prefect wetsuit, floatation vest and diving markers and flags. Figuring out the right rod and reel is a lot tougher. I don’t know if I should semi-sacrifice, say, a Penn rod and reel set-up or risk my Van Staal, which should easily handle total submersion for hours on end. Obviously, the true test of skishing skill is when there are huge blitzes right off the beach. Swimming them down would be quite cool.
EVEN PEW SEES THE LIGHT: I feel a bit vindicated. I was among those all but begging folks to realize there are so many fluke out there you can walk on them. Not only has management finally seen the light but read this rather unusal stance of the Pew Group, most often known for naysaying angling efforts:
“Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for The Pew Environment Group, praised the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's decision to increase the quota for summer flounder by 7.35 million pounds to 29.48 million pounds for 2011. This reflects an 86.9 percent increase from a low of 15.77 million pounds in 2008. A National Marine Fisheries Service assessment indicated that the rebuilding plan is working and the summer flounder population has reached 89 percent of healthy levels.
'Twenty years ago, the Mid-Atlantic summer flounder population dropped to less than 15 percent of sustainable levels, due to overfishing. But thanks to a strengthened rebuilding plan, this fish has bounced back and is almost fully restored to healthy levels. The National Marine Fisheries Service considers summer flounder as one of the region's most commercially and recreationally important fish. This remarkable success story offers further proof that management plans, based on sound science that stop overfishing and allow depleted populations to rebuild, really work.
'A fully rebuilt summer flounder population will mark an unprecedented milestone for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. This will be the first time that all species - where the status is known - managed by the Council will be thriving at sustainable levels. We commend the Council for its efforts.
'Healthy fish populations provide better fishing opportunities; create jobs that support local, coastal communities; and help ensure stronger, more resilient oceans. A 2009 Pew report found that rebuilt fish populations in the Mid-Atlantic will generate an additional $570 million per year in direct economic benefits. And amending federal law to weaken or delay rebuilding depleted fish populations would deny coastal communities these important benefits.'”
I won’t trouble you with my usual rant except to say that increased fluke taking will help many aspects of angling. You watch how other species will inch back from the dead when the summer flounder biomass gets held in place – or even knocked down a bit.
(((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))News release: August 19, 2010 - Periodic algal blooms can devastate molluscan shellfish harvesting on the east coast.