jason colby

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About jason colby

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    1,000 Post Club!


  • Interests (Hobbies, favorite activities, etc.):
    Fishing beach or boat, karate, good food/drink, travel.
  • What I do for a living:
    Captain Jason Colby

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    Rehoboth, Ma
  1. Can anyone be specific about "what is social media"? I thought that was what we have here... Is it being suggested that I plea the case on many sites like this? My concern is that I may open a few eyes but the overall picture will stay the same. There has to be a way to enact positive results that is "different" than what I have been doing altogether. What you suggest about being clear and concise is good but the issue is so complicated and what you are saying is that most readers here (and therefore on other sites) will simply lose interest as soon as they see a shiny object. I'm guessing that short of having everyone attend the fishery meetings and speaking up until their voices drown out the powers that be we will not get anywhere. Worse, these meetings are typically held in "commercial fishing towns" during regular working hours/days so the vast majority of recreational fishermen would have to take off work to attend. I am very sure they do that on purpose. What may work "better" is if tens of thousands of rec fishermen wrote, like I did/do to the people with influence so they hear what we (the general public) want and that we are paying attention to what they do. If I post some email addresses up here do people here think there will be some "action"?
  2. Excellent! THEN The Globe would set a team of reporters on me as well....
  3. Pulled the boat from Quincy early this year-getting her ready for Westport (Ma). There were, in 2019 about 10% of the flounder available to rec fishermen that there were in 2012 before they (the fishery mis-managers) started cranking up the commercial limits. Dr. David Pierce, the Massachusetts Director of The DMF tried to blame the issue on "climate change". Warming water is the excuse that a NOAA scientist came up with as well. Yet both of them were at a loss to try to explain why, in Boston Harbor over these past 6-7 years we have seen the exact same 90% reduction in the numbers of black sea bass and blackfish (toutog) as they are swimming into the harbor at the same time and on the same tracks as the flounder and getting netted into oblivion just as much. After all, if it was "global warming" like the fishery managers want the public to believe, then the water temperatures in Boston Harbor would be getting "more favorable" for tog and BSB, right?
  4. By the way, talk about corruption (and "fake news"), I have sent this story to The Boston Globe at least 5 or 6 times over the past 6 years and not once did a reporter (or anyone from their staff) contact me. If you look up the Boston Globe "contact list" on GOOGLE there are the names and email addresses of at least a dozen reporters and the editor and the assistant editor, etc.. They DO seem to contact Dr David Pierce (and before him, former DMF Director Paul Diodoti) and ask their side of the story and believe it when they say "Captain Jason is insane and he doesn't know what he is ranting about. The flounder fishing is better than ever! Everyone is catching tons! AND if there was an issue, it couldn't possibly be because of the poor, hardworking draggers and their poor, underprivileged families, especially their children. If you say otherwise you must hate children!".... (They drop the story immediately)
  5. 10 years ago you could have said "when the cod are gone, will they move onto flounder next"? The answer was and is, "YES". After this, they are doing a great job on haddock while killing the flounder. I hear from charter boats out of Plymouth and Marshfield that they "had" great fishing for a short window on haddock, 5 miles out and when the gill nets and draggers hit them they were 100% "gone" within two days. Last year they were on molested by the nets and they were in that area for over a month. The same thing happens south of Block Island each winter, a load of cod moves in to feed and the rec boats do well for a few trips but then the gill nets and draggers put an end to that in less than a week. We (rec fishermen) have to realize that this is not about "live and let live". Commercial netting is in direct conflict with recreational interests and if there are 500,000 flounder available to swim into Boston Harbor in the spring and the draggers kill 400,000 of those then we are left with the scraps the draggers left us. In 2012 there were close to 2 million flounder moving into Boston Harbor each spring and each year the population gets smaller and the average fish gets smaller. There are too many nets (draggers) and they are far too efficient if they are catching close to 80% of all flounder "trying" to come in to spawn. Just as bad, they are waiting out there right now for them as they come out of the harbors to move into cooler water. No observers, so who knows if they are keeping the daily limit (500 pounds) or if they are keeping 10 - 30 times the limit? They can easily say "we only fished state waters for our 500 pounds and we got the other 15,000 in federal waters..." No one is looking!
  6. A week ago I fished the ocean just outside of Boston Harbor for my last winter flounder outing of the season. We got cod, flounder and a "pretty large" bergall…. (all released)
  7. I've ben saying it for decades regarding fishery violations: "Crime Pays"!
  8. ...and I was talking about flounder.
  9. How I got my frustrations out today: 1998: I moved to Quincy from New York. I am told by the locals that flounder are "gone", I should not bother. 1999: I'm licensed for striped bass (commercial) and while bass fishing with clam baits in a location with a sandy bottom, I am "harassed" by constant flounder bites! I put on a flounder rig and proceed to catch the flounder limit very quickly. 2000: I start "Little Sister Fishing Charters" out of Quincy and quickly gain a reputation, particularly among fishermen from NY and NJ that I can put them into good flounder fishing. May 15th, 2001: We catch the first of our real four plus pound flounder! From there the average fish gets bigger and there are more fish and fishermen each year. Prior to 2001 there are "hardly any" recreational boats fishing for flounder. 2006-2007: The cod, which until these years have been a welcome "by-catch" most days and a "nuisance" (the people want flounder!) on other days slowly disappear. By 2009 I do not see any cod in the harbor and still do not as of today (2019). 2009-2012: By now there are 50-100 boats flounder fishing in EACH of a 1/2 dozen locations, all catching their limit of large, healthy fish. In spite of the increased recreational pressure, the fishing has actually continued to get better each year. 10/2012: Paul Diodati, Director of The Division of Marine Fisheries sends out a notice that he is proposing to double the state daily flounder quota from 250 pounds/day to 500 pounds/day, along with increasing the annual quota for Winter Flounder. "Public Comment" would be open to just past a public meeting to be held in Gloucester on January 17th at 10am. Note that this day is a Thursday in a commercial fishing town when most recreational anglers are at work. Prior to this, The DMF gets over 100 public comments opposing the increase and only ONE that is for it. At the meeting, both Ron Powers and I spoke out against the increase and that inspired a Scituate gill-netter to get up and speak that he was for the increase. 01/18/13: I called Chuck Casella who was on the state fishery advisory panel at the time, "supposedly" representing recreational fishing interests. I asked him to not vote for the increase and he told me that he would vote for the increase "no matter what". When I asked him to explain himself and why he would go against recreational fishing interests he said "because we are taking away their cod"! I said they simply killed all their cod and they killed our cod too. If you do this they will wipe out our flounder as well. He hung up on me! 2013-2018: Since the increase was approved in spring of 2013 we have seen a steady decrease in flounder available in Boston Harbor. The first few years it was the size decrease that was most noticeable with the average size dropping each year. The numbers went down steadily as well with decreases of 10% to 15% each "year after year". Today (2019), there was about 10% of the flounder numbers in Boston Harbor that there were in 2012 and the average size is less than 1/2 the weight of each fish! 2014 to Present: I have met with the new DMF Director, Dr. David Pierce several times and he has called the issue "local depletion" several times in trying to discount it as something of a minor problem. The issue with that is if your only option is Boston Harbor Flounder and they are "depleted locally" then you have no options! Further, The Boston Harbor Stock of winter flounder was the last viable inshore stock of this species left anywhere on the planet. Why are the "fishery managers" allowing them to be decimated? In my meeting with Dr. Pierce and other persons in fishery science or management they have repeatedly try to blame the demise of the flounder as "coincidentally" , climate change. When I ask them to explain why species such as toutog and black sea bass have diminished by the same 90% in the same time-frame as the flounder and if the water was warming, thus becoming "more favorable" for the sea bass and the tog, please tell me why they are gone too? They do not answer. The truth is that those species are moving along the same pathways as the flounder to swim inshore during the spring and they are getting netted up/killed at the same rate as the flounder. 07/11/18: In a meeting with Dr. Pierce and Ron Powers to complain about the situation, Ron had with him a statement from almost all tackle shops from Plymouth to the New Hampshire boarder stating that the flounder fishing was going downhill fast and they wanted action. With that and my catch data, Dr. Pierce finally admitted that there was an issue and that excessive dragging was to blame. He then promised to "do something about it". Again, this was all on July 11th, 2018. I was contacting Dr. Pierce every month after that to see what action he was going to take and in December, 2018 he finally said that what he was going to do was shut down all dragging in state waters from Cape Cod Bay north for the entire month of April. This action would give the flounder a chance to move into the bays, harbors and estuaries to spawn. While I felt this was far too little of a closure, at least it was a step in the right direction. 03/27/19: Dr. Pierce sends out a email to the state fishery email list that he is a hero! He was able to "work with" the federal fishery managers to transfer some federal quota over to the state so we are able to keep dragging open for the moth of April and every month! I tried to meet with him after that and he ignored me until I took the story to The Globe. This is my speculation but - They must have contacted him and he must have told them that "Jason is just a crazy captain who is imagining things". Dr. Pierce did respond to my email just after I had written to The Globe and he said, in essence: "there is no problem with the winter flounder numbers and if there was, they would be caused by recreational fishermen and if we would need to do cut-backs, they would be for recreational fishermen! So, in a nutshell: The Local Flounder population was doing very well with mostly recreational pressure while the draggers were out decimating the cod stocks. After the cod were gone the DMF gave the draggers larger flounder quotas to "push them" to fish for flounder. Now, six years later the recreational flounder fishing is a shadow of what it was and the DMF/David Pierce is blaming recreational fishermen, global warming and EVERYTHING BUT "excessive commercial pressure". Is this a great country or what? Captain Jason Colby Little Sister Charters
  10. I'm guessing that you are guessing…. It is more possible that "north and deep" will have the same lack of flounder that Boston Harbor had during "prime time" (Mid May to the end of June).
  11. BD- "The thing" with scup is that it too is severely mis-managed! I actually used to fish for scup "for a living" back in the mid 80's to 1989 (I was out of Montauk and then out of point Judith after the feds stopped me from fishing for striped bass, the so called "moratorium" was quite real in NY). Back then, we used to get $1.50-$2.75/pound for medium to jumbo scup with variations but never "too much" in those ups and downs. My friend Walter, who used to crew for me back then is still a commercial gill netter and fish potter in Point Judith and for the past 15 years the price of scup rarely goes over $1-/pound, even for jumbo's. Back then, "the season" was late May to the end of October and at that time of year the scup were in the rocks, inshore and the nets left them alone so the price was high, the "little guys" who got them on rod and reel and pots were depending on them and the high prices. Now, the draggers use roller ("rock hopper") gear, nets that drag right over the rocks to get at the scup and they keep the price suppressed and the little guys all went belly up. Today, the only thing Walter uses his pots for is sea bass and that is why he had to go over to gill nets for fluke and such, he could no longer make a living on scup. "Management" only seems to help draggers.... Rob C should have some insight here as well. Rob? JC
  12. Excellent data research Slappy! It's funny how the number of rec trips peaked at the same time the flounder numbers in Boston Harbor were highest. If you do a little math and say an "angler trip/day" is worth an average of (at least) $100 spent (bait, tackle, fuel, chum, etc...plus restaurants, captains and hotels in many cases) that equals $7 1/2 million/year we are losing now to the Massachusetts economy to harvest $300K worth of flounder. If you multiply the $300K by 10 to exaggerate what it could mean to the economy (fish cutters/packers, truck driver jobs, retail and wholesale exchanges) then recreational contribution is still more than double the commercial side. I read a study that us taxpayers are funding about $91/rider for every passenger that takes a commuter boat. If you add the cost of the boats, insurance, fuel, labor, maintenance and subtract the fares collected we taxpayers are paying the loss of $91/person. The point is that "the government" does not give a crap what we pay as long as it serves the governments best interest. And here I thought that they were "supposed to be" working for us.....JC
  13. I'm a bit surprised and disheartened that there were not more comments and input here on the subject of this letter above. Agree or disagree, you would think everyone here should have an opinion. My contention has been that the rec anglers have been utilizing the winter flounder fishery in Boston Harbor without much commercial effort from 1999 to 2012 with both increasingly larger numbers of fishermen AND increasingly larger numbers (and sizes) of fish. It was not until they increased the commercial activity in 2013 when we started seeing a steady decline in both size and numbers until we are at the point of the 2019 season where I believe we have less than 10% of the flounder numbers in Boston Harbor compared to 2012/2013. The average fish is much smaller as well. The states own "Saltwater Derby" weigh ins confirm that the sizes have gone down but according to Dr. David Pierce (he finally answered me on Monday. I believe it was because he got a call from The Boston Globe after I contacted them and he told them I'm just a "crazy charter boat captain crying wolf" and he was "about to" answer me.), the recreational flounder fishery is "stronger than ever"! He also went on to say that IF there were winter flounder cutbacks then they would include recreational fishermen too! So in summery: The draggers killed the cod and we can't have any and not the draggers killed off the flounder and we will get cutbacks if they do. Dr. David Pierce seems to be forgetting that in our meeting of July 11th, 2018 (where Ron Powers and I had letters from virtually every tackle shop from Plymouth to Plum Island stating that the flounder fishing is falling apart) he admitted that there was a problem with overfishing by draggers and gill nets and he promised he would do something about it! JC __________________________________________________________________________________ Jason, Through your ongoing communications with me and my staff you touch on two general "situations" with Gulf of Maine (GOM) winter flounder: (1) stock status and (2) effort by recreational and commercial interests. As you no doubt are well aware the GOM winter flounder population has not responded to consistently low catches (far below the overfishing level). Survey indices and age/size structure remain largely unchanged. For this reason and given the nature of winter flounder spawning in state waters, as the Chair of the ASMFC Winter Flounder Board and Director of MA DMF, I support effective inshore conservation measures for recreational and commercial fisheries. However, I have yet to find merit in your proposal to single out the commercial state waters dragger fleet for a complete ban in state waters of the Gulf of Maine. Between 2012 and 2017 the recreational harvest of Gulf of Maine winter flounder exceeded the state-water commercial harvest in every year except 2016. The recreational fishery is responsible for the majority of state water removals in most years. By your own many accounts (Fisherman magazine) recent flounder fishing reports have been "excellent" to "very good" with steady accounts of "anglers catching their limits of big fish." MRIP data support the consistency of the recreational harvest of winter flounder over the last 6 years, with the exception of a rather high estimate in 2017. Therefore, if one were to suggest that further restrictions on fishery removals might finally kick-start rebuilding, recreational removals must be part of the discussion. Furthermore, the MA DMF trawl survey numbers do not support your assertion that there is a 'rapid decline of winter flounder." You have made your concern and request quite clear on numerous occasions in the past. Unless you have any new information to provide and new arguments to make about stopping commercial fishing, there is no need for us to meet again about an outright ban on commercial fishing. David
  14. It's probably less you and more "the fishing, in general, is way off". Both bass and flounder....
  15. Dr. David Pierce, DMF Director did not respond to this email. As a follow up to our last meeting, a week ago (06/21/19) I requested another meeting for 07/08 and I followed up that (ignored) email with 8 phone calls to David Pierce and to his assistant, Shannon Davis. I left many messages and am utterly frustrated. Being in a "pissed off state" (I've had at least a dozen charters from NY and NJ cancel this spring due to "explosive diarrhea", a condition that occurs most often when someone wants an excuse to not be "somewhere" . Manifestations of "Explosive Diarrhea" can be: "death in the family", "had to take the kid to the emergency room", "I need emergency surgery", "I must leave the country/planet immediately" , etc.), I find myself with unexpected time on my hands today so I wrote the following: Dear Doctor Pierce, Over the past week I have tried to contact you numerous times about meeting with you to discuss the ongoing and worsening situation we have with winter flounder and what can be done about it. I tried Shannon Davis, you and Jared Silva, all to avail. I'm getting the feeling that you are avoiding me, perhaps because last year you admitted there was an issue and you promised to "do something about it". Here we are a year later and the situation has gotten much worse (and nothing has been done to help). 2019 Boston Harbor flounder numbers are down 95% from what we had just 6 years ago when the state and federal authorities started cranking up the commercial flounder quotas, without any justification other than to give the draggers "something to work on" (AKA: "DECIMATE"). After all, they already killed just about everything else and what they did not wipe out, the fishery managers are trying other avenues to destroy like striped bass for example. (But that is a whole other topic and discussion of "injustice and incompetence"). I have spoken to several Environmental Police Officers and they tell me they hardly see anyone flounder fishing any more and of the "several hundred boats" we had fishing for flounder recreationally six years ago there are less than a 1/2 dozen who even bother to try these past few years. What is that costing the local tackle shops and the state in lost revenue? Why do we have to buy a saltwater license? So, to spell this out for you to see in print very plainly: 1. There is virtually no recreational pressure (exponentially less each of the past 6 years as the fishing declined). 2. When there was "more and more" recreational pressure the fishing was actually getting better every year. 3. "Climate Change" is NOT a factor because I have seen the same 90% or more loss of both black sea bass and blackfish over the same 6 year time-frame. If the water was becoming too warm for winter flounder then it would be more favorable for the other two species. The bottom line is that the draggers are wiping up all three species at the same time (and many others, including cod which they should not be killing at all) as they migrate together/close enough to each other into the harbors and estuaries in the spring. 4. This is a simple case of "cause and effect". The cause of intensified dragging (and gill netting) effort over the past 6 years is producing the effect of little to no flounder available to recreational anglers in Boston Harbor and the surrounding harbors. If you will not meet with me to discuss this then answer this email and this question: "What will you do about the situation that you admit exists?" If I had your job I would think that the responsible thing to do would be to shut down all nets in state waters from Cape Cod Bay north "immediately and indefinitely". Does it make any sense to you that these draggers are pounding the last viable inshore population of this species left on the planet? Lastly, after seeing what I've seen in "rapid decline of winter flounder" the past few years I can't help but now believe that inshore dragging is at least 85%-90% responsible for the near total loss of winter flounder in virtually all areas south of The Cape. Predation, pollution, climate change, recreational fishing pressure, etc. can add up to the other 10%-15% but mobile nets are just too efficient and there are far too many of them. In realty, all nets should be removed from inshore waters but that is a different topic again.... Yours, Captain Jason Colby Little Sister Charters