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About CWitek

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    West Babylon, NY

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  1. The long-shanked "snapper hooks" that you can buy at just about any tackle shop at this time of year have worked fine for the past 75 years or more, and will serve your young angler just fine today. Not high-tech, but the long-shank makes it easy to unhook the fish without getting nicked by the pin teeth, and will prevent bite-offs should you run into a big snapper that starts pushing "cocktail blue" dimensions, which you can find every now and again. Just hook the bait around the dorsal fin area, give the fish enough time to take the bobber down, and all should be well.
  2. 9 or 9 1/2 foot rod rated for 1-3 oz, paired with a reel that would hold about 300 yd. of 14-pound mono (although these days, if surfcasting was in my plans, I'd load it with heavier braid). Wouldn't pay much attention to brand, so long as the rod was well-made. These days, the reel would probably be a Shimano or Van Staal. Back in the day, when quality considerations were different, it would have been one of the old, pre-discount house Mitchells (probably a 306) or a made in Philadelphia Penn (700 or 704). It's not a combination that's perfect for too much, but it is adequate for many things. I've owned at least one rod in that category since the late 1960s. In the years since, I've used it to fish from the shore/beach/pier/jetties from Cape Cod to Florida, catching everything from winter flounder and grunts to striped bass and sharks. I've used it from a boat to troll sandworms for stripers, jig for bluefish and mackerel, cast plugs and bucktails for stripers and bluefish, snag bunker, liveline bunker, and bottom fish for a host of species. While it's actually not a rod I use much these days, I still own four of them, including one multi-piece travel rod that I fished off the rocks in Hawaii. If I could only own one rod, it would be this one.
  3. All of our ASMFC commissioners can be found here: They need to hear from everyone concerned about the fishery. Personal meetings with club reps or groups of anglers, phone calls, letters, emails. The more the better. I've got two personal meetings with my reps already scheduled. I've got an op-ed going into a newspaper. I'm helping other organizations write comments. We all need to do the same.
  4. I suspect that there’s a reason why sales weren’t very good.
  5. I think that's more skates than cownose rays. There was a 2010 article in The Virginia Pilot that started out this way. Doesn't sound too much like scallops. For four years now, the state has worked to reduce the number of shellfish-eating rays in the Chesapeake Bay by adding a new predator to the waters - humans. The state opened the waters to ray fishing and created a market for the winged creature's blood-colored flesh, which tastes more like veal or flank steak than seafood. It even changed the name from bullfish to the more palatable-sounding Chesapeake ray. But, so far, few are biting. "I have folks who buy it who are vegetarians because it tastes like red meat," said Chuck Macin, owner of Uncle Chuck's Seafood in Virginia Beach, but he says that if he had to depend on revenue from the sale of ray meat, he'd "starve to death."
  6. Maryland, in making its circle hook proposal a few years ago, admitted that release mortality during the summer can be well over 25%. But as far as I know, the assessment didn't use that number.
  7. What will happen at ASMFC's August meeting. My guess is that the Management Board will approve an addendum that will address the current overfishing by reducing fishing mortality by 17%, which will have a 50-50 shot--a coin-flip chance--of reducing fishing mortality to the target of F=0.180. The addendum will include options such as a 35" coastal minimum/2" increase in Chesapeake Bay, a slot with a 40-inch top end, and seasons. Circle hooks for use with bait will be considered. The current management plan states that if the stock becomes overfished--and the stock assessment tells us that it is overfished today--the Management Board "must" rebuild spawning stock biomass to target within 10 years. I predict that the Management Board will completely ignore that clear language, and say that if fishing mortality is reduced to target, then the stock should rebuild to the target biomass--but they will refuse to predice the time that it will take for such rebuilding occurs. The biggest issue out there, though, is the one that no one is paying much attention to. There is a motion, postponed from the May meeting, to initiate a new amendment to the management plan once the addendum process is completed. ASMFC's Fishery Management Plan Coordinator for striped bass has already informed the Management Board that the only reason to initiate an amendment is to change the goals and objectives of the plan; anything else could be done in the addendum. The current goals and objectives call for a spawning stock structure that contains enough older, larger females to assure the long-term health of the stock. It calls for management for the long term, and for increasing the number of Age 15+ females in the stock compared to the abundance of such fish in 2000. Those goals and objectives require a fairly low harvest and high biomass. The folks pushing for the new amendment, who seem to be mostly from Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware, want to change the reference points, to permanently allow for a smaller spawning stock biomass and higher fishing mortality rate. They want a higher annual harvest. They probably can't get there under the current goals and objectives. Thus, if we want to protect the long-term health of the striped bass stock, we need to advocate against the postponed motion, because if it passes, and the folks pushing for a new amendment gets what they want, the striped bass will lose not just for the next 5 years until the next stock assessment, but for the foreseeable future. For the first time since 2003, a replay of the late 1970s and the early 1980s becomes, if not a likelihood, at least a possibility.
  8. Winter flounder don't exist either, at least outside the area around Boston, MA. And fluke--summer flounder--have been pretty scarce around here (Long Island, NY) lately, too, although they're doing better than the bass are. Not too many fish around so far this season to switch efforts toward, other than porgy and black sea bass, unless you can get offshore for bluefin.
  9. Seals and a lack of forage would be accounted for in the natural mortality figure; pesticides as they impact recruitment or other factor. Fishing mortality stands outside of those calculations.
  10. It's not BS, but it has to be taken in context. The terminal year of the stock assessment was 2017. There were a lot of fish in Chesapeake Bay from the 2015 year class that were too small to make the 20" minimum size, but were still being gut-hooked on bait being fished for the "big" 20-inchers, being caught during the summr when warm, hypoxic water and very warm air made survival after release problematic, etc. Charter boats were talking about catching and releasing scores of fish for each one released. Anglers experienced the same thing. Biologists estimate that 9% of all released fish die. Along the coast, that 9% mortality resulted in a relatively typical number of dead fish. In Chesapeake Bay, mortality was very high (remember that under the current rules, recreational fishermen in Chesapeake Bay were supposed to reduce fishing mortality by 20.5%, compared to 2012, beginning in 2015; instead, a 2016 assessment update found that the Chesapeake's recreational fishermen actually increased landings by more than 50%, and that number has increased since). If you look at state by state numbers, you'll find that most of the release mortality occurred in only a very few states, with Maryland dominating. Beginning in 2018, Maryland began requiring circle hooks in the striped bass bait fishery, but it also dropped its minimum size by an inch, so the reduced release mortality was offset, and maybe more than offset, by increased landings. The release mortality numbers are probably good, but 2017 was probably also a unique year in that respect.
  11. I've never had them, but a few years ago, Virginia tried to encourage anglers to eat them, as they were considered an "underutilized species" and, at the time, were wrongly thought to be harming Chesapeake Bay shellfisheries. Supposedly, the effort never caught on because the rays' flesh is reddish and more like meat than fish. However, if you want to try, you can google "Virginia ray recipes" and find some to give you a start.
  12. Never fished the Pacific for surf perch, so I don't know exactly what the fishing involves, but on this coast, I used my 308, of about the same vintage, for weakfish up to 6 pounds or so, so I suspect it might be OK
  13. Fish haven't evolved much over the last 50 years, so I always figured that the same gear that beat them 50 years ago will beat them today. I have a lot of Penn reels--112Hs, 113Hs, 500s, 49s, 155s, etc.--from the late 1960s and 1970s that are still running strong today. Just need to change the drags from time to time. Most of my offshore stuff--some Penn Sanators, mostly Internationals--date from the late 1980s, and still beat up sharks and tuna as well as they did when I bought them. My green Penn spinning reels still work. People talk about "vintage" gear and wonder if folks still fish it, but it will be interesting to see whether the "modern" stuff that they're putting out today is made tough enough to stand the test of time as well as the "vintage" gear has.
  14. The Luxor, as folks have noted, was a very well-regarded "first generation" surf spinning reel. The Mitchell 308, if you can clean it up, is still a very usable reel, primarily for light fresh water. It's also old enough that some folks might want it as a collector. If you look at the drag knob, you'll notice that it has four small "fins" (or whatever you want to call them) that you grasp to tighten or loosen the knob. That means that the reel is one of the better-quality Mitchells of relatively early production; later, when Mitchell began to target the mass market/discount outlets, the quality went down; at that point, instead of the four smaller fins, the drag knob featered three, larger ones. That's true not only of the 308, but of the entire Mitchell line.
  15. Why not frog? If you can find enough, they make a good meal.