lurejunkie00

Fluke & sea bass

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just had my worst year ever on Fluke, and one year after my best sea bass year, 2 keepers all year.   I think the only thing that would save fluke is a 5 year ban on commercial harvest

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Fluke was terrible, there weren’t even many shorts. Sea bass was good though. Insane amounts of small fish around. Tough to find a lot of keepers though. A few keepers each trip, never limited out. Not sure if there’s too many smalls hitting the baits first or just not fishing the good spots.

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Fluke experienced a long period of below-average recruitment that stretched from 2010-2017.  With fewer young fish recruiting into the stock, it's natural that we're not going to be catching many.

 

The good news is that the 2018 year class was well above average.  Since fluke generally reach 19 inches in their fourth year (although there is significant variation in size at age), next year should see a decent number of just-legal fish.

 

Unfortunately, the 2019 year class was below average again, although not badly so.

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If the MAFMC would get off its collective ass and pass the reallocation amendment we would see some relief in the regs for fluke sea bass and scup. Right now there is a good chance next year’s regs will be even worse.

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12 mins ago, MakoMike said:

If the MAFMC would get off its collective ass and pass the reallocation amendment we would see some relief in the regs for fluke sea bass and scup. Right now there is a good chance next year’s regs will be even worse.

I would like to see the Sea Bass size limit dropped an inch to 14”. There are so many small fish in LIS. It seems like more than in RI and MA where you are more likely to catch bigger fish. If it was easier to get a limit of keeper sea bass it would probably give fluke a break too. 

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1 min ago, z-man said:

I would like to see the Sea Bass size limit dropped an inch to 14”. There are so many small fish in LIS. It seems like more than in RI and MA where you are more likely to catch bigger fish. If it was easier to get a limit of keeper sea bass it would probably give fluke a break too. 

If anything, you are more likely to see a 1 inch increase in the size limit for 2022.

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10 mins ago, MakoMike said:

If anything, you are more likely to see a 1 inch increase in the size limit for 2022.

Why? There are more sea bass in LIS than I have seen in my entire life. 

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With the current allocation we overfished our quota for the last three years and a mandatory penalty is supposed to kick in. The council staff is recommending it be waived, but some council members are objecting.

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1 hour ago, MakoMike said:

With the current allocation we overfished our quota for the last three years and a mandatory penalty is supposed to kick in. The council staff is recommending it be waived, but some council members are objecting.

If the people making these rules actually raise the size limit on sea bass then they are complete idiots that have no clue about what is actually happening in the water. What’s next? Increase the size limit on porgies too?

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4 mins ago, z-man said:

If the people making these rules actually raise the size limit on sea bass then they are complete idiots that have no clue about what is actually happening in the water. What’s next? Increase the size limit on porgies too?

You got that exactly right. in 2022 the minimum size on porgies will probably go up by one inch, from 9 inches to 10 inches.

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1 hour ago, MakoMike said:

You got that exactly right. in 2022 the minimum size on porgies will probably go up by one inch, from 9 inches to 10 inches.

I was joking. There’s an insane amount of porgies out there too. 

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3 hours ago, z-man said:

I was joking. There’s an insane amount of porgies out there too. 

I Know you were, but never the less you were correct. Both scup and sea bass are at over 200% of the target biomass, but the recreational share of the TAC is way too low. To add insult to injury the commercial sector never even comes close to catching its share of the scup quota.

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The problem with sea bass is that yes, there are a lot of them, but there are a loit of people fishing for them, too.   In New England, directed black sea bass trips spiked from about 31,000 in 2000 to 191,000 in 2010 to nearly 622,000 in 2020.  Even if we want to challenge the precision of those numbers, the trend is very clear.  A lot of people are pounding this resource.

 

One poster made the comment that dropping the sea bass limit an inch might give fluke a break; it appears that just the opposite is happening:  The lower availability of fluke is causing significant effort shift onto black sea bass.  

 

And while yes, there are a lot of fish out there, too much fishing effort can still do harm, something that Mid-Atlantic Council staff noted in its recommendations this year.  (Something to think about, even if it deals with a non-marine resource:  At one time, the biomass of passeger pigeons was extremely high, too; there were so many birds that their accoumulated weight broke branches off the trees when a flock landed.  Yet effort was high enough that, in time, they disappeared.)

 

While the fishing holds up from eastern Long Island up into New England, in places with less structure, it tapers off quickly after the beginning of the season.  I fish on the South Shore of Long Island these days, where there are plenty of short sea bass, but nowhere near the number of large fish as we once had, at least during the main summer season.  When the biomass was lower, but fishing effort was far lower, too, I could go out in early July and catch a load of decent fish--on every trip, I'd get double-headers with a combined weight of 7 pounds plus; I had quite a few fish between 3 and 4 pounds, and didn't keep anything under 15 or 16 inches.  Then when the bag limit dropped to 8 fish, it would take me about 45 minutes to run from the inlet to the wreck, and less time than that to box a picked limit with the top fish close to, if not over, 4 pounds, and I still had my 7-pound double-headers, the best being a big fish of 4-3 and the smaller around 3-12.  Still didn't keep anything under 15 inches.  But the fishing got quite a bit worse as the season went on.  Now, there is so much pressure on the fish, with both private and party boats pounding the wrecks from the moment (and, let's face it, before) the season opens that I have to weed through scores of little fish to get my 3 over 16 inches; it can take hours.  There are plenty of fish, but as soon as they reach the minimum size, they get scooped up.  

 

Then, when the water cools, we get larger fish migrating down from New England, but that's on deeper wrecks where the run is longer and the weather isn't always too good,.

 

Under those circumstances, the last thing that you want to do is reduce the size limit.

 

I suspect the same thing is happening in at least the westrern part of Long Island Sound.  I grew up in Greenwich, and still fish out of there a few times a year.  The friend that I fish with had some decent action with sea bass as soon as the season opened, and caught some half-decent fish.  But then the private and party boats started poundiing the deeper reefs, and before long, the bigger fish were gone and it was mostly shorts once again.

 

So long as such effort continues, and anglers keep overfishing their allocations, relaxed regulations should not be in the cards.

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14 mins ago, CWitek said:

The problem with sea bass is that yes, there are a lot of them, but there are a loit of people fishing for them, too.   In New England, directed black sea bass trips spiked from about 31,000 in 2000 to 191,000 in 2010 to nearly 622,000 in 2020.  Even if we want to challenge the precision of those numbers, the trend is very clear.  A lot of people are pounding this resource.

 

One poster made the comment that dropping the sea bass limit an inch might give fluke a break; it appears that just the opposite is happening:  The lower availability of fluke is causing significant effort shift onto black sea bass.  

 

And while yes, there are a lot of fish out there, too much fishing effort can still do harm, something that Mid-Atlantic Council staff noted in its recommendations this year.  (Something to think about, even if it deals with a non-marine resource:  At one time, the biomass of passeger pigeons was extremely high, too; there were so many birds that their accoumulated weight broke branches off the trees when a flock landed.  Yet effort was high enough that, in time, they disappeared.)

 

While the fishing holds up from eastern Long Island up into New England, in places with less structure, it tapers off quickly after the beginning of the season.  I fish on the South Shore of Long Island these days, where there are plenty of short sea bass, but nowhere near the number of large fish as we once had, at least during the main summer season.  When the biomass was lower, but fishing effort was far lower, too, I could go out in early July and catch a load of decent fish--on every trip, I'd get double-headers with a combined weight of 7 pounds plus; I had quite a few fish between 3 and 4 pounds, and didn't keep anything under 15 or 16 inches.  Then when the bag limit dropped to 8 fish, it would take me about 45 minutes to run from the inlet to the wreck, and less time than that to box a picked limit with the top fish close to, if not over, 4 pounds, and I still had my 7-pound double-headers, the best being a big fish of 4-3 and the smaller around 3-12.  Still didn't keep anything under 15 inches.  But the fishing got quite a bit worse as the season went on.  Now, there is so much pressure on the fish, with both private and party boats pounding the wrecks from the moment (and, let's face it, before) the season opens that I have to weed through scores of little fish to get my 3 over 16 inches; it can take hours.  There are plenty of fish, but as soon as they reach the minimum size, they get scooped up.  

 

Then, when the water cools, we get larger fish migrating down from New England, but that's on deeper wrecks where the run is longer and the weather isn't always too good,.

 

Under those circumstances, the last thing that you want to do is reduce the size limit.

 

I suspect the same thing is happening in at least the westrern part of Long Island Sound.  I grew up in Greenwich, and still fish out of there a few times a year.  The friend that I fish with had some decent action with sea bass as soon as the season opened, and caught some half-decent fish.  But then the private and party boats started poundiing the deeper reefs, and before long, the bigger fish were gone and it was mostly shorts once again.

 

So long as such effort continues, and anglers keep overfishing their allocations, relaxed regulations should not be in the cards.

Th real problem is the recreational share of the TAC. According to "the best available science" (MRIP) during the base period when the recreational and commercial shares of the TAC were set, recreational fishermen should be getting a much bigger share of the TAC, but the MAFMC has been dragging their collective feet to correct the shares.

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