Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, May 16, 2011:


Boy did I miss the filet mark. I glanced at a bag of dropped off fish fillets over the weekend and over-quickly assumed they were striper meat. Holy pleasant surprise (and not to detract from delicious striped bass) but it turned out it was fresh cod!

I don’t know if any other fishaholics like myself have been noticing that the price of cod is now up there was the planet’s costliest seafood. It was less than 20 years ago cod was literally a bottom shelf species, one you’d buy when funds were tight but you need a goodly chunk of seafood. Now, it is not uncommon for it to be pushing well over $15 a pound – frozen.

Needless to say, I put the dropped off cod to instant good use. And the reason for it’s top-shelf status was instantly taste temptingly recognizable. What a clean and delectable fish product.

By the by, it has apparently been a very good year for coldwater bottom fishing. I don’t get many reports on the boats that go way out to work deep water structures and such. But, per some aficionados, the fishing restrictions being placed on bottom fishing to our north is apparently paying off big time, with packs of pollack leading the way.


Far below is the Simply Bassin’ leaderboard. A few more fish recently came to the event’s scales. Get signed up and cash in on the roughed up weather forecasted this week, conducive to beachside bassing. HOWEVER (!), keep an ear open for thunder. There’s sure to be some killer squalls this week. When you’re only one of few people on the sand, the odds of meeting up with Joltin Joe Lighting are way too high. Add a graphite fishing rod to the mix and you might as well hop up and down and scream “Hit me! Hit me!”


Please read the following news items. Important stuff:


Gloucester Times] by Richard Gaines - May 16, 2011

The first schoolie stripers of the season arrived within the last week — like clockwork, with May — with a handful caught and released back into the Little River by casters including Al Williams, the venerable local dean of striper anglers.

"Just a sprink," was how Williams described the season's first action.

But this year, the fishes' return is surrounded by peals of joy and a larger backpack of worries for the long-term stability of a stock that, within memory of long-in-the-tooth fishermen, has both crashed and bounced back — proving the striped bass to be a dynamic species that can be taken by worm, and metal, plug and clam, but should not be taken for granted. 

"The stock's biomass remains very high," Mike Armstrong, the assistant state director of marine fisheries, said in a telephone interview Friday.

Responsible for striper science, Armstrong also said that "recruitment," the count of newborn fish in a year, has been down and declining for five or six years.

"Schoolie fishing is really poor," he said, "and because of the low recruitment, the future of keeper catches (fish of 28 inches or more) is not likely to match recent past experiences, which were among the best in memory."

Along the entire Atlantic coast — the range of the striper stretches from the North Carolina Outer Banks where huge schools winter to the Bay of Fundy in the Canadian Maritimes where the most athletic end their northern migration — fishermen and scientists are seeing much the same thing. 

The bull market in striped bass, on since intense conservation measures triggered a comeback from the brink in the 1980s, is coming to an end, and with it comes a fierce debate about the management of America's great inshore sport fish.

"It's pretty clear striped bass are in big trouble," said Brad Burns, the president of Stripers Forever, a recreational group that wants the state to end the taking of all stripers —a relatively small commercial fishery, which operates on a total allowable catch trigger, and the 10 times larger recreational fishery.

If Stripers Forever has its way, striped bass fishing would become strictly catch and release. The organization has generated a strong lobbying campaign to convince Armstrong's boss, National Marine Fisheries Services Director Paul Diodati, to begin the legal process to shut down the commercial fishery or at least scale back the landings.

"It is true we want striped bass to be a game fish, but right now," he said in an telephone interview from his boat on Cape Cod, "but right now, we need to stop killing big females." 

The trophy fish — about 25 pounds or so, and the main prey of the commercial boats once that fishery gets rolling this summer — are virtually all females.

Jeff Krasner, who consults for Stripers Forever, added that the revival of the striper occurred in the 1980s after "every state but Massachusetts closed their striper fishery and the striper came back"

"We can debate what's causing the current decline, including habitat, disease and predation," he said, "but the quickest way to help them is to stop the predation."

The argument considers the small size of the commercial fishery, about one-tenth the size of the recreational harvest — about 50,000 commercial fish landings vs. about 500,000 for sport, by Armstrong's rough figuring — and Krasner notes that the limited size argues for a manageable disruption, compared to the benefits and potential losses. Those losses can be calculated in the hundreds of millions, traceable to the lure of the Massachusetts coastline for recreational fishermen between now and October, when the reverse migration will come to an end.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates striped bass and other inshore migratory species, has noted the system-wide weakening of the striper stock, which spawns primarily in Chesapeake Bay and the Hudson River Estuary. And the panel has begun the laborious process of working through a scientific assessment, and the political process to formulate plans to reduce mortality by 40 percent — a step that may require a year or more to complete.

In 2010, in Massachusetts, the catch was off by 18 percent.

In Gloucester, Al Williams doesn't doubt the numbers. 

"Reduced recruitment?" he said. "It's hard to disagree," adding that the first fish arriving in the Little River have not been as concentrated in recent years. 

Williams said he shares the opinion that new conservation measures will be necessary to stop the first demonstrable decline in the stock after two decades or nearly uninterrupted rebuilding.

But he said he sees no reason to undertake the draconian measures advocated by Stripers Forever — the ending of the commercial fishery, or a no-take, catch-and-release system.

"The commercial and recreational sides have managed to coexist for a long time," he said, adding that he was ready to take his hit whenever limits are imposed.

Russell Cleary of the Commercial Anglers Association said he thought Stripers Forever was trying to confuse the public into thinking that the commercial sector was somehow responsible for the reduced size of the young striper classes. But he, too, said he could see the time coming when restrictions will be in place across the board.

Armstrong said that, while recruitment has been off for years, "it seems clear ... there is no biological emergency, even at the current spawning rate.

"There is plenty of spawning stock and biomass," he said, "even at the current mortality rate."






Press release: After a six month investigation, Dan Rather Reports will broadcast an in-depth look at the US commercial fishery along the east coast on Tuesday May 17th at 8 p.m. ET. 

The report examines charges that NOAA, the agency that oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service, has been over-zealous in its prosecution of those in the fishing community. Fisheries Administrator Eric Schwaab's responds to the charges. 

Included in the report is rarely seen video of a NOAA raid against the Gloucester Seafood Display Auction and details of NOAA's attempt to shut down the fish warehouse.

Also, the report examines the Asset Forfeiture Fund where fines, many in the hundreds of thousands of dollars against the fishermen, are deposited. The broadcast digs deep into what NOAA used the fund for. For example, it paid for bonuses for NOAA employees. Also, the broadcast documents that hundreds of thousands of fund dollars were spent on NOAA travel. One document shows that the fund paid the expenses of two prosecutors to Kuala Lumpur along with the judge in the case they had just completed. Eric Schwaab responds to these and other uses of the asset forfeiture fund. 

Dan Rather Reports has obtained the confidential Inspector General's report on the shredding of official documents by the head of NOAA's law enforcement arm during an official investigation. NOAA responds to questions about that and to questions about an audit of the fund.

Dan Rather Reports airs on HDNet at 8 p.m. ET with an encore at 11 p.m. ET, and again on Sat. May 21st at 12 p.m., and Sunday, May 22 at 11 a.m. 





Simply Bassin’ Leaderboard


Entrant              Date        Weight    Length     Site                Bait          Date          Shop

Standing           Time          lbs/oz       Girth                                           Weighed

                      (Of catch)

1) Tim Stumpf








SC Bait &Tackle

2) Rocco Saraullo









3) Steve Phillpot





Brant Beach



Oceanside B&T

4) Andrew Schultz









5) Steve Warren





Peahala Park




B & T

6) Rich Bergman



36” 18”

Beach Haven





7) Charlie Hess





Beach Haven




Views: 50


You need to be a member of jaymanntoday to add comments!

Join jaymanntoday



© 2020   Created by jaymann.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service