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Thread: captains charters and customers what are they saying

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    Default captains charters and customers what are they saying

    Does anyone think that the charter or party boat captains have a good idea of how many fish are out there? I would think that since they are on the front lines they might have honest opinions about striped bass. Sometimes its hard to separate the truth from the bs when you read the reports.

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    That would depend on how often they fish. I know a few head boat Capts. What they tell me is a lot different than what you see posted on the reports. Of course they have to fill the boat every day or end up bankrupt.

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    Joe, I found something to add to this. It came from a blog where they also sell outdoor gear, I hope it's ok to post the link. What this guy says is the same thing you have been implying. Friends who live in Maine had a poor season in 2008, and some of the southern areas have had diminished spring runs. Among friends who own boats, there are not many that will consider this, except for a few guys I know who fish a lot. This all adds up to a smaller biomass, it makes sense to me. My .02. Great thread.





    "Large concentrations of bass in some areas doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthy stock:
    Man, there were some crazy striped bass blitzes in Montauk this year. The kind that make you just drop your rod and say “Holy *@$%!”. Truly extraordinary stuff. Understandably, such blitzes might make one believe that striped bass are extremely abundant. Unfortunately that is not the case. In other regions, particularly the Northeast, there are widespread complaints about the lack of quality stripers. In Maine, guides are going out of business because of the very real lack of what was once a thriving fishery.

    As guides like Capt. Dave Pecci and Capt. Doug Jowett point out, it’s not due to the lack of forage as there seems to be abundant bait concentrations in the areas that they fish. Indeed I fear that Maine’s position at the northernmost part of the striped bass migration makes it a bellwether state.

    In light of such Montauk blitzes, I ask you to consider the below passage taken from a University of New Hampshire Department of Natural Resources document titled A Guide to Fisheries Stock Assessment.

    This is the document used to educate members of the fisheries management councils on how fisheries stock assessments are conducted:
    “Fishermen will actively seek out areas with greater fish concentrations. As a result, their catch-per-unit effort could remain stable in the face of a declining stock. Consider a stock that contracts its range as the population shrinks, or increases its range as the population grows. Despite the changing range, catch-per-unit effort may remain relatively constant if the fishermen focus their effort on the center of the range, where fish density remains relatively stable.”

    With this in mind, I would think managers would be practicing extreme caution when managing striped bass, particularly in light of its immense recreational value. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Delaware and Pennsylvania want open two-month fishing seasons targeting mature male striped bass. Maryland has proposed to extend non-quota management for its trophy fishery in 2009 and until stock assessment indicates that corrective action is necessary, and Virginia wants to extend its season.

    All of these measure will increase fishing mortality on striped bass.

    In my opinion they are reckless, and they show no respect for the views of those hardworking Maine guides that are being forced out of business. Undoubtedly, there seems to be a trend toward killing more bass rather than a move in the other direction.

    That’s understandable given the recent stock assessment and the states’ understanding that their anglers want to kill more bass. But I think there’s a large majority of folks that would rather proceed down a precautionary road. Once which insures that we have plenty of big fish around in the future. It’s up to these anglers to let their state reps know their wishes. It seems as if the kill-more-fish-now folks are the only ones being listened to at this point, and that has to stop."
    Captain John McMurray

    http://www.laterallineco.com/blog/ca.../striped-bass/

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    This came from another site. Capemayray, he's been around a long time. Captain from the Cape May area.




    I was one of the few that attended the meeting last week and commented that I was in favor of a slot fish to allow more larger breeder size fish excape being harvested. I believe only 10 anglers commented out of those that were there. It will all depend on what national marine fisheries hands down as options that will meet the federal requirements.

    It is always amazing how many people have ideas but never attend any of the meetings or send in comments in, if they can not attend. Then they go on and on about how it should be this or that not even knowing what went on at the meeting or understand how the regulations are determined. If and when options for a slot fish come about they will be handed down from nation marine fisheries and will have a number of different options that meet the conservation equivelent. They just don't pick numbers out of the air.

    Seems like no one wants to face the facts that maybe stripers might be overfished. All you have to do is look around at all the huge stripers that have been caught in the last few years. Does anyone know where all the in-between class size bass are? You just can't keep harvesting large cows and expect bass populations to thrive. Most of the anglers that I know are all catching much larger bass than they ever did, but they are catching less overall and seeing much few of the inbetween sizes that use to be so plentiful.

    I find it amazing that National Marine fisheries can say stripers are not overfished and at the same time they report that the year of the young reports show a decline year after year for the last 7 years. Where do they expect future bass to come from?

    There are way too many anglers targeting stripers in New Jersey and every other coastal state as they are one of the few fish that you can still fish for. If we do not maintain healthy stocks we will be back having major problems down the road. As another charter captain stated earlier, anglers should be happy with one nice fish a day. Taking some slot fish will elimated killing some of the larger breeders.

    If we continue to kill at the rate we are doing now, when there is a decline we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

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    Default More data, striped bass decline artiicle

    I hope you're not ready to give up yet, DS. Here is an article that was just published in the Vineyard Gazete:

    http://www.mvgazette.com/article.php?29887


    ‘Scary’ Decline In Striper Stocks

    By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL
    A drastic decline in striped bass stocks has state and federal officials scrambling to protect the fish, but many recreational fishermen say the government isn’t moving fast enough.

    “It’s really scary,” said Cooper (Coop) Gilkes 3rd, owner of Coop’s Bait and Tackle shop in Edgartown, who has seen the haul from the annual June catch-and-release striper tournament fall dramatically. “At one point we had somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 fish weighed in on one night. Last year there were 100 and it’s like a staircase going all the way down to last year. It’s just dropped every year.”

    Last year, Mr. Gilkes said the annual springtime sea worm hatch in the Island’s coastal ponds — an event that historically attracts stripers by the hundreds — had “just about failed” after years of under-performance.

    “It’s mind-boggling that we could get to this point with everybody watching,” he said.
    Mr. Gilkes’s experience is supported by national data. In Massachusetts the Division of Marine Fisheries acknowledges that from 2006 to 2010 the catch of small stripers dropped by nearly 75 per cent.

    The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) cited a 66 per cent decline in the estimated recreational catch from 2006 to 2009, and in March called for a drastic 40 per cent reduction in striped bass mortality for 2012 to help replenish the ailing spawning stock in the Chesapeake Bay.

    But in an April letter to Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries director Paul Diodati, state Sen. James Timilty of Bristol and Norfolk County pushed for a 50 per cent reduction in striper mortality for this year. The move is backed by the fishing advocacy group Stripers Forever.

    As we look ahead to the season we must focus on protecting what is left of the large 2003 class of breeding females and work to avoid another total crash of the striped bass population,” Senator Timilty wrote.

    “It’s a very smart move and why they will not act on it I have no clue,” Mr. Gilkes said in his tackle store on Thursday.

    For fisherman and Striper Wars author **** Russell, Mr. Timilty’s 50 per cent proposal would be a good start, but he isn’t holding his breath.

    “It’s a bureaucracy and it takes time to put things in place,” Mr. Russell said. “I’m glad that the ASMFC has finally woken up to the fact that we need to take some steps to address this but I just think it should happen now instead of postponing it for another year. It’s definitely heading in the direction of [the declines of the 1970s] unless they take some pretty severe measures.”

    In an e-mail to the Gazette this week, Mr. Diodati said he has received some two dozen letters calling for a reduction in the 2011 harvest and that he shares the public’s concern about striped bass. But, he claims, it is not “possible or prudent” to act this year, citing an updated stock assessment due to be completed at the end of the summer that would guide the agency’s policy.

    “Since there is no prior evidence showing that poor juvenile production is a result of excessive fishing mortality or low spawning stock abundance, it makes good sense to review that information prior to taking any management action,” Mr. Diodati wrote.
    He also said the ASMFC could at any point freeze state management programs for several years, potentially keeping Massachusetts catch levels far below reasonable limits indefinitely.

    “The interstate fisheries management program does not reward a state or offer incentives for taking proactive conservative actions,” he wrote.

    The cause for the decline of the stripers is unresolved and hotly contested, but Mr. Diodati cautions that there are material differences between the current crisis and the devastating collapses of the 1970s.

    “Today’s resource condition is much different and better than when striped bass stocks became depleted in the mid- to late-1970s,” he wrote. “Then, catches of large (and small) fish went virtually uncontrolled at the same time that young of the year production was plummeting.”

    Mr. Diodati said that the numbers of reproductively mature fish remains relatively high, even above management goals and insists that the problems in the striper stock are attributable in large part to poor water quality and disease in the Chesapeake where the fish spawn, rather than overfishing along the coast.
    Mr. Gilkes, though, thinks that everyone is responsible for the decline, recreational fishermen included.

    “My own personal opinion is I’d like to see them go back to 36 inches for recreational fishermen and one fish a day,” he said. Currently recreational fishermen are allowed two fish a day with a 28-inch minimum. “I think that’s plenty until they’re back. It’s not being managed right. I know what worked last time when they went to 36 inches and they brought her right back. I was shocked at how fast those fish came back,” Mr. Gilkes said.

    Mr. Russell also advocates the one-fish-a-day limit. Though he acknowledges that water quality in the six-state watershed of the Chesapeake Bay, which reaches far into Pennsylvania and includes Wahington, D.C., and Baltimore, may be affecting the bass, Mr. Russell implicates two other major factors in the stripers’ decline: poaching and the commercial menhaden harvest.

    As the Gazette reported in February, more than 10 tons of illegally gill-netted striped bass were confiscated by Maryland environmental police this winter and a video of hundreds of dead stripers caught as bycatch in North Carolina waters has surfaced on the Internet.


    As for the commercial menhaden fishery — the small fish is a staple of the striper’s diet — Mr. Russell said: “It’s basically one company, Omega Protein,” referring to the Houston-based fish oil supplement and fish meal supplier, the largest of its kind in the world.

    “It’s true that the water quality is not very good but the menhaden abundance according to the AFSMC’s own data has gone down 85 per cent in the last 25 years,” he said. “The numbers are at historic lows and the striped bass are not getting enough to eat.”

    With striper season poised to begin any day, Mr. Gilkes, whose livelihood depends on the recreational fishermen, doesn’t know why the fish have disappeared. All he knows is that he has had enough.

    “I just want them back,” he said as he checked out a customer’s lures on Thursday. “I don’t care how they get them back. There are some very dark clouds forming and I don’t like them.”

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    Default NY Harbor fishing in decline

    I found this on another site. This Capt charters in the NY Harbor area. Some guys say there is no decline, stripers are stronger than ever/ I suppose this guy, and his statistics, are Learn from the past, thats what the posts here basically say, and I agree with them.

    Here is what he said:
    bass decline

    "I have charters for bass Monday to Friday, 5-9 PM, May 1 to Nov. 10. I have been fishing NY harbor since 1994. By '96, 5 fishermen were averaging 20-30 bass, per night, clam chumming. Right through the summer!! Most fish were 23-27 inches. We would catch a few each week that were over 28 inches, but not many.

    Today,.....same spots,..... we catch 6-8 fish a night. Of those 75% are now over 28 inches. School bass are missing. Ask the guys who fish Little Neck Bay in the spring. They'll tell ya' the schoolies are NOT like they used to be.

    We are KILLING TOO MANY bass!!
    My suggestion? 36 inch minimum size, one fish per person. "

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    Default Captains, Charters, and Customers.... what are they saying (and implying).....

    Professional and Charter Capts find fish for a living. They have to find fish for clients, or they starve.
    They also have to drum up business by bringing a steady stream of clients....clients are not inclined to book a charter if the captain tells them fishing is terrible...


    So what's a Capt to do when the fishing is poor, and a potential client wants to book?
    Many Capts appreciate the value of future business and will say so, outright.

    Some know that they need the revenue, and will be more diplomatic. I want folks here to understand that you can't blame them for that.... but at the same time, you have to learn to read between the lines in a Capt's or boat's internet site reports....

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    I thought it might be interesting here to see what the folks who fish every day for a living, are catching or not catching. Please remember if you post a report showing a Capt being candid that these guy work hard for every fish they catch.

    There are some days where ya just can't find a fish.
    This thread was not intended to single any one capt out, as I have tremendous respect for the hard work they do. However, there are some leaders of Fishermen Groups (groups that purport to represent all fishermen) out there who claim that fishing has not suffered or that fishing is better than ever, or that striped bass catches have not declined.....I think we need to counter these irresponsible statements with a real dose of what is happening out there, on a daily basis....

    I think when a captain makes a comment about the state of the fishery, from his professional perspective based on his logs and catches, it's important for the folks out there to see this, in aggregate.

    Statistical analysis might be a more accurate tool for this, but most folks don't want to read statistical analysis...they want to read first-hand accounts of how the fishing is....so this is the best vehicle I could come up with for presenting any stories you might have to share....


    So thanks for your input in this thread, folks, and please give credit to the captains who made the reports. Remember that every one of these guys tries his very best to get clients into fish, and there are some good days, and bad days, out there...

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    **** Robin report, sent in by Finchaser, thanks....

    www.cockrobin.com

    Hit the **** Robin today. Hadn't fished with these guys in a long time but still felt like a home away from home. We sailed with a good group of regulars and novices alike. We didn't bother looking up the beach as reports as of late have been very poor. Headed straight out east for the slammers. First drop produced a good jig bite which eventually turned to a bait bite. After it died, Capt. Jim repositioned us and we had decent bait fishing until we left. Overall, we had good to very good bluefishing.

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    This guy threw everything but the kitchen sink. My logs show last year we were crushing them from MI to BI in mid october.


    Left MI around 7 am this morn. Birds milling around the inlet so started the troll north right aways instead of running north to deal and rocks. MARKS down 30 feet. Trolled to the convention center. Trolled wire. Threw out the spoons, mullet rigs, tube umbrellas, etc..... snotty out. Wind couldn't make up its mind until noon when went hard west.
    Trolled back and past MI. YELLOW EYES then tore up my mullet rigs. Brought them in quicklyand threw on b. Spoons again hoping to find the bass hiding under them.. NOTHING. just around noon about two miles south of MI THE BUNKER CAME UP. JIGGED AND ONLY BLUES. wasnt marking on bottom. Oh well. Still a great day with close friends.

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    Default Re: Where are the Striped Bass?

    William "Doc" Muller on bass in the Chesapeake and Hudson. Doc has written a few books and knows his ****.

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    Default Re: Captains, Charters, and Customers.... what are they saying (and implying).....

    Some of this I may eventually reference in the StripersAndAnglers state of the Fishery thread......
    http://stripersandanglers.com/Forum/...of-the-fishery


    A member called me today. This is a fisherman who has decades of experience and has fished for bass for many years before the moratorium and still fishes when he can get out there........He has a good friend who is a Cape May Charter Capt....I'm paraphrasing here, what his Capt friend told him about the 2013 Striper run in the Delaware Bay......





    "The 2013 bass run in the Delaware Bay has been the worst Spring fishery in all the years I have been fishing that bay.
    The bass just were not there in numbers. Some have blamed the cold weather and the winds which made fishing difficult. There has been some good fishing above the Commodore Barry. As for the lower bay it has been terrible.
    We have had to entice our clients who normally want to bass fish, with wreck fishing trips, or we would have had no income. "

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    Default Re: Captains, Charters, and Customers.... what are they saying (and implying).....

    ^^^ Nice to hear some honesty out there.

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    Default Re: Captains, Charters, and Customers.... what are they saying (and implying).....

    Yes very nice there are capts in the rb saying the bass run is the best ever. Ask them how many bass there are and they will say more than ever. A lot of them can't think beyond this week. They forget that everything is later this year because of sandy, the colder winter and the longer time it took the bay to heat up. The fish are fattening up before the long trip up the hudson and could be gone in a day or a week. Then when there are no sustained spring blitzes for weeks like years past maybe the reality will sink in.
    It's like what we use to call being ******-rich. Pardon the term I don't mean anything bad by it. When someone has no money they complain about being poor all the time. Then they hit the lottery and win 25,000. They go on a wild spending spree because they forgot what having no money was like. When the good times are over they are back to whining again. I think a lot of folks look at the striped bass this way. Pary now. Get while the getting is good. I call those types golfers because it's just a game to them. I agree with you hookset. It is good to run across the few capts that are completely honest even to a fault. Many will not allow their name to be associated with a statement like the one your friend made for fear of further regs on the fishery.

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    something interesting I read today-


    "theres been people asking and hi end fisherman stating that the bass species may be in trouble...its hard to say but i know i didnt catch 1 fish between 20 and 30 lbs...we had many teen fish and many fish over 30...is it time to worry??..i think its time to start thinking...its easy to point fingers but i believe its all our problem...my belief is after reading research and watching seminars over the years from people like billy the greek and record holders, that the thriving part of society is the middle class...

    its easy to assume that a 40 plus pound fish holds more eggs than an 18 lber which may be true but studies show that much of those eggs are not responsive...also, just think about the life of an 18 lber till it gets to 40 lbs and how many eggs it could lay over its lifetime...i believe the cumulative effect of killing that fish is far more damaging than a 40 lber that has already done so...further, targeting big fish in any species is dealing with less volume and is certainly harder than picking on the learning youth...

    All i am saying is its not just your problem, my problem or commercial fishing boats laying stacks of immature 12 lbers on their deck...or clam belly guys posting catching 30 fish a day...thankfully some of them dont post anymore...i will never get out my pom poms and cheer for catching small fish that dont know any better...

    in sum, i think its all our problem..and i release as much as humanly possible...and never pick on small fish because there the impetus of the future of the species..."

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    Honest report from Capt Gene of Montauk Sportfishing



    10-28-13
    The “rat patrol” continues to be the only action for stripers. They are still off the south side eating sand eels along with lots of bluefish, and there is nothing in front of the Lighthouse. But virtually everyone has to be measured, and don’t forget that you can squeeze the tails. With the mild weather we’ve had so far this fall, you’d expect that we’ll have fish here into December, and there are reports that there are plenty of fish in Massachusetts waters. It would be nice if some bigger ones would come along.

    I’m not into surfcasting but it seems like those guys are finally getting some action, I assume all on the south side.

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    Montauk bite has been very poor this fall
    Report from another website for yesterday:

    "nice day lousy fishing

    Weather-wise it was the day we have been waiting for. Trolled chutes and diamond jigged all day and only 3 bluefish to show for it.Wow this is about as bad as I have seen Montauk at this time of the year. I guess they are all at Captree, and they are killing a mess of them!"

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    They are starting to thin out quickly with all the boats on them here also.Surf still pretty dead.
    Cranky Old Bassturd.

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    ^^ If any of you would doubt the overall poor 2013 LI to NJ surf action thus far, ya might want to listen to what Surfstix says in some of his posts here.....

    He's tied in to some of the best fishermen in LI....they all share intel back channel.....and I just want to re-iterate that despite what some of the internet experts are saying....his intel chain consists of guys who can fish every night, or at least 5 times a week.....If the bite is great, or lousy, they would know...

    None of them is happy about the current state of the striped bass fishery....The world famous fall Montauk run that some plan their whole vacations around has been abysmal overall for the surf guys. This despite a few good nights of catching from those who were there at the magic moments when bigger fish turned on....

    **Even Zeno, who few would doubt skills in catching fish....has had poor numbers this year.....despite fishing all over from MA to Li.....
    Food for thought, people....

    As always, thanks for your perspective surfstix....

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    All I can say is stay tight to the bottom no more then 5ft. off sandeel presentation and any piece of beach structure should not be overlooked this is some of the toughest fishing we have seen in a very long time.
    Cranky Old Bassturd.

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