Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Saturday, April 21, 2012:
Today was beauty before the beast, as in beastly weather. While the surf and sea were both decently fishable, angling pressure was kinda light. Chatter from boat bassers (north of inlet) told of very scattered action and no one seemingly banging – though I did hear a snippet “It’s pushing about 20 pounds. My biggest this season …” I think I also heard something about “trolling.”
The beach was a very slow go for the few folks I talked to. I did get an email from a fellow who was keeping a couple dogfish (not sure spiny or smooth) to try on the barbie. “I keep reading about the fight by commercial fishermen to quota up dogfish so I figured I might as well give them a try.” He gutted, skinned and will soak them – though I’ve been told that soaking part isn’t necessary if you’re eating the sharks right away. I’ve cooked and eaten them. Kinda so-so.
By the by, spiny dogfish are, in fact, a component of Britain’s fish-and-chips, though far from the sole species. If the japans will eat anything as sushi, the Brits will seemingly give anything a go as fish and chips. I was surprised to reads that even the small fins of dogfish are shark fin soup worthy. However, the growing intolerance toward any and all shark finning has soured the public’s appetite and attitude toward even the legal taking of shark fins – which, in the case of legally harvested fish, is a highly commendable utilization of the entire fish. Weirdly, the German’s pickle the belly flaps of dogfish to make a barroom snack. Hey, with the strength of their beer just about anything will pass muster in their mouths.
The bayside bassing remains good to very good. Of course, that is based on a number of folks who really have the night bite mastered. I even got a call from a fellow asking about the best way to freeze up striper meat. I told him it’s not so much the freezing technique but the cooking when thawed. I find thawed bass work great in fishcakes, stir frying, sautéed into small pieces for cold salads (per tuna salad and such) and spaghetti sauces or deep fried in batter. I really can’t rate is as acceptable as a stand-alone an entrée, especially when compared to how excellent it tastes when cooked fresh and served on wild rice.
Drumfish are very scattered. Some drum fanatics say it’s been very slow for them.
New Blackfish and Sea Bass Regulations Imminent
At the advisors meeting of the NJMFC on 4/17 we learned that the 2012 regulations for blackfish and sea bass will be changed at the May meeting of the NJMF. The next meeting of the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council will be held on the 2nd Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. at the Galloway Township Library, Jimmie Leeds Road,Absecon, NJ.
There is some good news for blackfish. The one option on the table at the meeting will be to liberalize our blackfish season. The change will now allow us to keep one blackfish from July 17th – November 15th and 6 fish from November 16th to December 31st. The size limit will remain at 15”.
The sea bass situation is not so good. There will be several different options presented to the public prior to the May 10th meeting. All will require about a 3 week cut in the season from what was previously approved. However,
even with the cut, we should end up with a season that that is about 3 weeks longer than the last year’s. Our state developed 10 different options but only a few of them will be presented at the meeting. While I do not know for certain it seemed that the following two will be among those considered.
May 19th – September 25th and November 1st – December 31st. This was the option that was favored by law enforcement personnel as it is the least confusing. However, another option was favored by some of the advisors. That option would allow us to have something to fish for after fluke season ends but also be open when fish can also be kept in federal waters. This option would allow a season from May 19th – September 3rd, September 23rd – October 14th and November 1st – December 31st. Other options that may be considered would cut time from June or varying parts of September while some would allow us to fish later into October even though federal waters will be closed from 10/15 – 10/31.
With all the options, the size limit will remain at 12.5” and the bag limit will remain at 25. I encourage those interested in fishing for sea bass to attend the meeting and voice their opinions.
2nd VP JCAA
Edgewater-Davidsonvile Patch] By Jonathan Moynihan - April 20, 2012 -
While at Mike's Crab House in Riva on Thursday, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced that the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population is the highest it's been in almost 20 years.
Not only are there 66 percent more crabs in the bay than last year, the juvenile crab population is at its highest level on record at 587 million, O'Malley said.
“In 2008, I told you the crab population was at a 19-year low,” O'Malley said. “Because of a different set of better choices that all of us have made together, I'm glad to report that the population of the blue crab is at a 19-year-high.”
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) annual winter dredge survey, approximately 764 million crabs spent their winter in the bay and the juvenile crab population tripled last year's total. The previous record was set in 1997 with 512 million crabs.
The one cautionary note of the DNR survey showed that spawning-age female population decreased since last year.
“Overall our female population remains above the safe threshold level. This kind of variation level is not out of the ordinary … we're optimistic that our record juvenile population will bring better news next year in terms of these spawning-age females,” O'Malley said.
Behind the governor and other officials stood Steve Vilnit, a fisherman and DNR director of fisheries marketing. Vilnit said fishermen truly benefit from the "uplifting" numbers.
“This is huge. In a year or two when these are adult-sized crabs, catch limits can go up,” Vilnit said. “It's showing that sustainability is there and this is an industry that's growing.”
The DNR survey showed that fishermen harvested roughly 67.3 million pounds of crabmeat in 2011 throughout Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River. Both the overall and juvenile population experienced a large increase since last year. In every other year a positive spike occurred, the population fell significantly the following year.
The ups and downs are a good sign and not something to worry about, according to Lynn Fegley, DNR deputy director of fishery services.
"We actually like to see the population in that very variable way because it's sort of a sign that we're back in that healthy mode. Crabs are a very short-lived species,” Fegley said. “We expect that, it's one of the tricky parts of messaging this. It's easy to get very alarmed when you see the dip but it doesn't work that way.”
The Chesapeake Bay recently earned a D+ in its latest report card by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). If the grade had been better, Fegley said the crab numbers could be even higher.
“How much more response could we get if the bay was in much better shape?” Fegley said. “One may argue the bay can't support as many animals now as it could 50 years ago. It's just a different ecosystem, there are fewer oysters.”
Moving forward, O'Malley said the state must continue to work alongside Virginia and fishery managers to “stay the course” with science-based management. He added that one easy thing residents can do is to make sure they're buying local crabs.
By the end of this May, the DNR hopes to launch its new program called “True Blue”—a way to help the public identify the restaurants that are using Maryland crabmeat.
“You'll be able to go into a restaurant, look at a menu and know that you're getting a crabcake that's made with true Maryland crabmeat,” Vilnit said.
RFA-NJ SPRING STRIPER-A-THON
Seats For 4/28 Trip Filling Fast As Action Heats Up
(04/20/2012) The New Jersey chapter of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA-NJ) is sponsoring their annual Striped Bass Fish-A-Thon on Saturday, April 28th. The trip will once again sail aboard Capt. Ron Santee's Fisherman from the Municipal Harbor in Atlantic Highlands, and it coincides with great action of late along the New Jersey coast with plenty of birdplay and stripers on the feed.
"Found the gannets hitting the water in a new area," reported Capt. Ron from yesterday's trip, while adding he "worked the readings and had very good action through the morning."
Boat fare, crew tip, food and beverages are all included in the price of the trip, you just need to come out, have a good time and catch some fish! Tickets are $100 for adults and children 13 and under sail for $50. Tickets should be purchased online by going to the RFA-NJ website atwww.rfanj.org or by calling Dave Daly at 862-244-4200.
All proceeds from the trip will benefit the RFA-NJ chapter will be used towards the chapter's ongoing efforts to preserve the fishing rights of New Jersey's anglers, which includes working towards scientific research as well as supporting lobbying efforts for legislation supporting the RFA mission statement.
Get in on the striper action while it's hot, and help support your right to fish!