Author Archives: zhromin

Fisherman Surf Show

It is remarkable how quickly the world is changing around us

Few years ago this blog was the epicenter of our universe and I remember Tommy telling me you should move posting to the social media and I said naaaah, that’s never going to happen.

And yet now we find that we disseminate information via instagram (mostly  because even Facebook got old)  more often than not. That’s how quickly it changed

I am feeling old 

Anyway, tomorrow is the Fisherman Surf Show

Also the only place to pick up new SJ daYTIME crEW  PsyCDedelic shirts

See you all there

PS Don’t take the changes as sign we don’t have anything new in the bag. We still got few surprises in our bag for the future and yeah, September issue of SJ too

ASMFC Draft Addendum 6 Recommendations and Talking Points

(By Ross Squire (President, NY Coalition for Recreational Fishing; 1@32 Pledge on Facebook)

ASMFC Draft Addendum 6 Recommendations and Talking Points

After much discussion and review we have formulated our recommendations for the options presented in the Draft Addendum. You will find the recommendations and some talking points and reasoning below. I am also attaching a document containing the same info. Contact info on where to send your letters and emails will be posted in the next few days.

Some quick comments. There really are pros and cons for every one of the harvest reduction proposals. Cases can be made for and against slot sizes and options that target mostly larger fish. Ultimately, we option to select the 1@35″ or 1@36″ size limit. Our greatest concern is that the impact of the slot size on the long-term health of the fishery is a huge unknown. This is clearly stated in the Draft Addendum. At this time we just did not think that it was worth the risk so we opted for the regulation that is closest to what worked last time. 1@36 was very successful in the rebuilding of the fishery and our expectation is that history will repeat itself.

The second factor that went into our recommendation is that we believe that it is important to allow as many of the small fish that we are seeing to have as many spawning years as possible before they become exploitable. We recognize the issues related to dead releases but our expectation is that along with the use of circle hooks, this option will provide the greatest protection to smaller fish.

So give this a review. While it would be great if there were overwhelming consensus within the recreational community, we encourage you to come to your own decision. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

ASMFC Draft Addendum 6 Recommendations and Talking Points

RECOMMENDATION: Option 2: 18% reductions applied equally between recreational and commercial sector

Talking points:

• All sectors contribute to the wellness or depletion of a fishery. Given that striped bass are overfished with overfishing occurring our belief is that all sectors should share equally in the reduction.

• This opinion is supported by the realization that the commercial sector was handed a gift with Addendum 6. Their harvest reductions are based on the Addendum IV quotas and not their 2017 harvest. We have no understanding of why the Management Board would not apply the same standard of the 2017 harvest that is being used for the recreational sector. When you look at the new the new quota of 4,871,182 pounds in Addendum 6 that applies the 18% reduction, it is actually an INCREASE from the commercial harvest of 4,796,395 in 2017. When the 1.8% option is applied to the commercial sector the quota balloons to 5,833,537 pounds, an increase of 22% above their 2017 harvest.

• We long for the day when the ASMFC is consistent with the criteria that they use when computing the recreational and commercial sector harvest reductions.

RECOMMENDATION: Option 2-A1: 1@35”; anticipated total removal reduction of 18%

Talking points:

• There are valid pros and cons to all of the options listed.

• We have concerns about proposals that target small fish and also concerns about options that target specific year classes.

• While our initial reaction is to favor the option with the highest anticipated total removals, we are worried about the lack of data on the impact a slot will have on the overall fishery. We are worried when we read in the Draft Addendum that the long term conservation benefits of implementing slot limits may not be realized if effort is concentrated on fish within the slot limit.

• Ultimately, there is no way that we can ignore or discount past history. We have seen the effect of 1@36” as that was the regulation that was adopted that led to the rebuilding of the striped bass fishery.

• We are opting to trust that history will repeat itself with 1@35”.

• There are a significant number of smaller fish in the fishery. Strong year classes from 2014 and 2015 need to be protected. Option 2-A1 will allow these fish the largest number of spawning years before they become exploitable. This is critical to the rebuilding of the striped bass fishery.

• We recognize that there will be some within the recreational sector that favor a 28”-35” slot. We believe that it is important to permit smaller fish as many years as possible to spawn before making them exploitable.

• The option is the easiest to enforce.

• The option will result in more caught fish being kept out of water for the least amount of time.

• While this option will exploit the larger fish, the impact will be spread out over a number of year classes.

RECOMMENDATION: Option 2-B1 1@18”; anticipated total removal reduction of 20%

Talking points:

• We are deeply concerned about the impact of all of the Chesapeake Bay options on the critically important younger year classes. Addendum IV was unsuccessful in its efforts to protect the critical 2011 year class, which was, and continues to be, overexploited by Maryland anglers.

• In total 2,500,000 more fish were harvested by Chesapeake Bay anglers than were expected to be harvested in Addendum IV; many of these fish were part of the 2011 year class that Addendum IV was intended to protect.

• While we are not in favor of any of the options listed for the Chesapeake Bay, Option 2-B1 is expected to achieve the greatest harvest reduction. It is for this reason that we recommend Option 2-B1.

• We are deeply disappointed that the Draft Addendum 6 harvest reductions are based on the overage that Maryland achieved and not the Addendum IV harvest levels that they should have been achieving. The options presented in this draft addendum reward Maryland for the gross overharvesting that occurred.

RECOMMENDATION: Option 3.2.B Mandatory use of non-offset circle hooks

Talking points:

• All efforts should be taken to reduce dead releases. Circle hooks have been proven in multiple studies to reduce fish mortality and should be required when fishing live and dead bait.

• Option 3.2.B must be accompanied by an aggressive education and awareness campaign. Different angling methods are used when using non-offset circle hooks. If these methods are not used when fishing with circle hooks, anglers will become frustrated at their difficulty in landing striped bass. This could lead to issues of compliance and participation. Education and awareness programs will be critical to ensuring adoption of the circle hooks. The Rhode Island Saltwater Angler’s Association’s and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s CRANK, DON’T YANK education program can be used as a model.

ADDITIONAL TAKING POINTS:

• We have no confidence in the ASMFC’s ability to accurately assess conservation equivalency proposals and even less confidence in their ability to manage conservation equivalency proposals when they do not achieve the anticipated harvest reductions.

• As a result, we are adamantly opposed to the consideration of conservation equivalency proposals when the striped bass fishery is overfished or overfishing is occurring.

• States have used conservation equivalency to game the system and jeopardize the success of the Addendums.

• Our demand is that the ASMFC and Technical Committee incorporate the lessons learned from Addendum IV and that they improve their assessment methods. Being off by 200% in the Chesapeake Bay recreational fishery is not a rounding error. It is a process error.

• The management board should be required to take corrective action in instances where the conservation equivalency is not meeting the intended harvest reduction (variance of 25% or more).

• For the years 2014-2018, combined, the large majority of all recreational trips that primarily targeted striped bass were made by shore-based anglers and by anglers in private or rental boats. The management measures ultimately included in Addendum VI should be primarily designed to address the needs and preferences of the anglers who make the overwhelming majority of the trips, and not the very small minority of anglers who utilize other modes to access the fishery.

• Segments of the recreational sector seeking a smaller slot size can apply for conservation equivalency exceptions. To be considered, any conservation equivalency proposal should be required to at least meet the State’s adopted harvest reduction percentage.

Striped Bass News

Striped Bass Draft Addendum Released: A Quick Summary

By Ross Squire (President, NY Coalition for Recreational Fishing; 1@32 Pledge on Facebook)

As we know, the recent striped bass technical assessment revealed the fishery as overfished with overfishing occurring. Their analyses indicated that a reduction of 17% over 2017 harvest levels is required to restore the fishery to acceptable levels.

The ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board tasked a team to develop a Draft Addendum which would include a set of options that would achieve this harvest reduction. The Draft Addendum was made public yesterday and here are the options that they arrived at for the recreational sector:

Option 1 calls for the Management Board to take no action – basically status quo. Nothing would change and the intended harvest reductions would not be achieved.

Option 2 has multiple components. It calls for the recreationaland commercial sectors to both absorb an 18% harvest reduction from 2017 levels. To achieve this in the recreational sector they have offered 3 sub-options:

2-A1: 1 fish per day @35″ minimum for ocean states which would result in 18% reduction

2-A2: 1 fish per day between 28″-34″ slot which would result in 19% reduction

2-A3: 1 fish per day between 32″-40″ slot which would result in 21% reduction

The season for striped bass fishing would be unchanged.

For the Chesapeake Bay the options include:

2-B1: 1 fish a day @18″ minimum which would result in 20% reduction

2-B2: 2 fish a day @22″ which would result in 18% reduction

2-B3: 2 fish a day @18-23″ which would result in 19″ reduction

2-B4: 2 fish a day @20-24″ which would result in 19% reduction

The fishing season for B1 and B2 would remain unchanged.
The season for B3 and B4 would not include a trophy fish season.

Option 3-A includes a 20% reduction for the recreational sector and a 1.8% reduction for the commercial sector. The sub-options are as follows for the ocean:

3-A1: 1 fish a day @36″ minimum for ocean states which would result in ~20% reduction

3-A2: 1 fish a day between 28″-33″ slot which would result in ~22% reduction

3-A3: 1 fish a day between 32″-40″ slot which would result in ~21% reduction

Option 3-B includes the following sub-options for the Chesapeake Bay fishery:

3-B1: 1 fisher per day @19” minimum (MD) or 20” (PRFC, DC, VA) resulting in a 29% reduction

3-B2: 1 fish per day @ 18” minimum resulting in a 20% reduction

3-B3: 2 fish per day @23” minimum resulting in a 20% reduction

3-B4: 2 fish per day between 18”-22” resulting in a 21% harvest reduction

3-B5: 2 fish per day between 20”-23” resulting in a 20% harvest reduction

3-B5: 2 fish per day between 22”-40” resulting in a 21% harvest reduction

Option 3-B1 and 3-B2 would have the same seasons and trophy season as 2017.

Option 3-B3, B4 and B5 would have the same season as 2017 except the trophy season would start no earlier than May 1.

Option 3-B6 would have the same seasons as 2017; same trophy season and minimum sizes except with a 40” max size limit

The entire Draft Addendum can be found at http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/2019SummerMtg/AtlanticStripedBassBoardSupplemental.pdf.

So as you can see lots of options to be considered. The Draft Addendum will be a topic of discussion at the ASMFC Summer Meeting being held on August 8th. The Board could decide to accept the Draft Addendum and put it out for public comment or they can request changes to the Draft before the public comment begins. The preliminary plan is to have the Draft Addendum voted on during the October ASMFC meeting with the new regulations in place for the 2020 season.

The bottom line is that these are crucial decisions that will be made. In 2014 a 25% harvest reduction was placed on the ocean states with a 20.5% harvest reduction in the Chesapeake Bay. It did not achieve its intended goals and that is a discussion for another day.

It is important that each of us remain educated on what is going on and there are some excellent sources of information that you can rely on:

1@32 Pledge page on Facebook
Charles Witek’s One Man’s Voyage Blog which can be found at https://oneanglersvoyage.blogspot.com/
Fissues.org
American Saltwater Guides Association which can be found at https:saltwaterguideassociation.com

Now is the time to stay informed. Ask any questions that you might have. When prompted write those letters and emails. Attend those meetings. Strength comes in numbers and your help is sorely needed.

How to lose a rod on a rock

No joke. One guy losing a rod on a rock he shares with partner in 10 feet of water.

I know many of you enjoy reading this kind of stuff so here it goes….

It was a dark and stormy night…Kind of…. it was dark, cloudy and swells were pretty big from a storm. We were at Cuttyhunk Island in the land big fish dreams and even bigger rocks. We did try like hell to cull a few bigger fish on eels while getting slammed by schoolies…..and reading about insanity happening at Canal including Live feed

But it was not meant to be…we were sounded by dinks on every cast. Which by the way is not the worst thing in the world. I’ve been here for days at the time and never got a bump…so I know a real pain. This was not it. Annoying ? Yeah, but manageable. After all its Cuttyhunk, next cast could be a 40 pounder

I was perched on a decent rock that took a little time to get on of while two other guys shared the other rock about 50  yards away. Just far enough where you can see what they are catching, but can’t really hear them. I can see that they were picking at small fish as I was too. Actually they had three fish to every one of mine but I knew that this was the rule on this rock. I was on that other rock the night before and stopped counting fish I released….

The swells were coming intermittently …just enough to keep you on your toes and stop you from daydreaming. Could see that one go my guys got washed off twice already and the other helped him get up on the rock. But I was too consumed trying to stay on the rock to worry what they were doing. Then something weird happen…out of corner of my right eye I can see their light stay on for awhile…. Then stay off for a loooong time. Then it seemed like one of them was casting a  bucktail trying to maybe snag something ???

I could not be sure as I was dealing with tiny fish on shit load of trebles and trying hard not to get any in my fingers…..Not in this place where there is no hospital, Doctors or anything of a kind.

I should mention that we rented an INCREDIBLE house with SPECTACULAR views and a GOURMET kitchen. The place was LIT AF as my kids would say. So that was a huge positive. Having my best buds around also a huge positive. Good fishing conditions, also a positive. Tiny fish on trebles? Not so positive until I switched to bucktails.

Eventually the curiosity got the best of me so I yelled over the swell “WTF are you two doing? “

I could have swear i heard “We lost the rod” but that cant be. Can it ? Nah, seriously, who ever loses a fing rod on a rock???

But i had enough of schoolies so I eased myself in the water and started to swim toward them. At this time tide was just about flooding and we had about eight to ten feet of water around our rocks. As I swam towards them and bobbed in the vicinity they explained to me what happened

One casted while the other was resting the rod on his shoulder…the rigged eel hooked a guide on the backcast and the rod flew in the water ………. before anyone could react they were down a Lamiglas rod and a new VSX 250. Ouch… at this point they gave up trying to hook it with a bucktail and they decided to come back at bottom of the tide in 6 hours at dawn and try to recover it. They jumped off the rock and swam towards the shore. They took a beating by swells hitting them in the back faster than they could lift their legs over large boulders, but eventually they got to shore and sat on the huge stump that washed up years ago. They were joined by the third member of the group whom they filled on their misfortune.

Why am i still bobbing around the rock huddled yards from shore in darkness ? Because I am an idiot. I am trying to prod bottom by sticking my 11 foot ODM Genesis into the water beneath me while occasionally getting slammed into a massive rock. I figured the rod could not be that far from the damn rock!!!! I mean it’s not a plug to fly a hundred yards. Maybe ten feet is all it could possibly be?

About fifteen minutes into this fruitless exercise, as I was about to give up,  the tip of my rod gets snagged the bubble weed on the bottom. I finally pry it loose by yanking on it and as bring it up to surface I expect a shit load of bubble weed wrapped up around the tip.

Low and behold the tip of the lost rod breaks the surface and before next swell slams me again into the rock, I grab it and try to hightail out of harm’s way. I needed to stay in front of the rock in order to be in place where rods could possibly be but that meant that waves keep pushing me into the rock. Trust me, my back was not happy at this point…

But I was !

I held both rods together with one hand while swimming toward the shore. Just like two of them, I got my ass handed to me trying to beach myself. At one point a swell hit me in the back hard, while my foot was caught on a large boulder. I stumbled forward and feared of breaking both rods. Eventually I made my way out to dry land and towards three of them that sat quietly on a log. The overcast sky and no natural ambient light made the place feel like being inside of a scary movie. I clutched both rods in one arm so they would not notice as I yelled something like “How the fuck did you managed to lose a rod” ….But I did not have a heart to prolong their misery…..

Let’s just say there was a LOT of hooting and hollering when i showed them that I found the rod.

Another Cuttyhunk story that won’t be forgotten any time soon