Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 is Underway and Karma is a B*%ch

Went out Tuesday night from Snug Harbor, RI on a cod fishing trip aboard the Island Current II. We departed around 11:20pm and returned at 1:00pm Wednesday. Fellow teacher and friend Dave decided to join me to see why people would voluntarily subject themselves to such an activity. Few people want to travel 20 miles out into the North Atlantic in February to catch a few fish. I would say I had a great time, but karma truly is a b%*ch as I spent about 8 of thirteen hrs. alternating between being curled in a fetal position wanting to die and dry heaving over the rail. I've been fishing forever in all kinds of conditions with only 1-2 times where I've felt a bit queasy, but nothing like the experience I had yesterday. My entire chest area is sore and my throat raw today. My brother, however, has always battled seasickness yet it has never prevented him from saying yes to a trip. I must admit on more than one occasion I've offered him a Slim Jim or a beer when he's been sick. Well, I paid for it yesterday. I did manage to catch a few fish during the two big bites we had around 2am?? (I was pretty sick) and 10 am. I told Dave if he could take the cold cod fishing, he would have no trouble coming out and catching blues and stripers in the summer. He ended up with about 7 keepers and a lot of shorts. We came home with a cooler of cod. Anyway, BIG thanks to Bob for making this happen, and I'm sure he will provide a better report of what actually happened on the trip on

Not much video as I was sick as a DOG!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Commercial trawlers slaughtering thousands of striped bass off the Outer Banks

Commercial trawlers slaughtering thousands of striped bass off the Outer Banks
"Stripers Forever members - on Jan. 15th the North Carolina, ocean commercial striped bass season opened. In this trawl fishery, individual boats can keep the 50 largest fish that they catch in a day. This practice allows and encourages the culling or high grading of the catch. This means that the boat will keep the 50 largest fish in possession but may continue trawling all day and may replace these fish with larger ones caught later. Replacing means they will throw the dead or dying fish over the side, substituting them with the freshly caught larger bass. It is nearly beyond belief that such a system could be in place, but it is."
My letter to to Louis Daniels Ph.D. the Director of Marine Fisheries in NC.
Louis Daniels PhD
3441 Arendell Street
PO BOX 769
Morehead City, NC 28557-0769

Dear Dr. Daniels,
Below is a forum post I shared with fellow members of CT Fish Finder with regard to the commercial trawling for stripers and culling or high grading that takes place, resulting in the loss of thousands of healthy stripers prior to their prime reproductive years. The commercial policy is not only ill-conceived from a long term growth and recovery effort, but is directly harmful to recreational and charter fishermen, an industry that generates 8X the revenue and jobs of commercial fishing. Companies such as Parker Boats and Jones Brothers, guides and tackle related businesses are harmed by this policy, as evidenced by the fact that individuals like myself chose to spend our money elsewhere this year due to poor winter fishing on the Outer Banks. I opted instead for trips to fish steelhead in upstate NY. I grew up fishing the waters of the Outer Banks in the 70s-80s, and watched as stocks declined and recreational fisherman sought other locations with more abundant stocks. It's seems that based on my completely unscientific, anecdotal evidence and more success in recent years that many species have increased due to better management. Stripers are one of those species that have on the whole rebounded. However, waste like this could put them back in jeopardy. It would make much more sense to shift a significant portion of the quota to recreational/charter fisherman, who either take their limit or release the vast majority of their fish unharmed, and who do not create large wasted bye-catch. Allowing charter captains to sell fish commercially makes far more sense that trawling. It is a far more efficient utilization of resources, and while it may cause a job shift, makes more economic sense. I hope you will consider changes to NC regulations that allow for such waste of a valuable resource.

Brian Kirby

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:11 pm on
Post subject: Striper Kill Reply with quote
Was in VA and spoke with some guys I know that fish the lower Chesapeake and Outer Banks for the winter striper run, and this just contributed to what was a slow season. It absolutely kills recreational and charter fishermen who make up a larger part of the economy and contribute much more to protecting and expanding fish stocks. I passed on a late December trip while back down in the area because the cost just outweighed the poor fishing they were having. This method of fishing that they allow can be devastating when combined with what appears to be a declining Chesapeake stock. While I'll be back fishing the Outer Banks in June, I will also be fishing with a few Captains who are really focused on protecting the fisheries which are trying to come back after decades of overfishing and declining stocks. This was my "back yard" growing up, and I want to be able to share the same experiences with my kids, so any lobbying in support of SFs efforts is appreciated!


Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:23 am Post subject: Hope so! Reply with quote
I hope that is the case. One of the guys I know down there was complaining about the trawlers driving them off the fish in December. Still makes more sense to me to shift quota percentages of game fish to charters, letting them keep fish beyond the limits established for paying customers and selling the excess commercially. It would offset operating cost and could lower charter fees, encouraging more fishing and tourism. A fifty fish limit would mean just about that as well. There would be very little wasted catch, as shorts would be returned to the water with a high probability of survival. There would be no real byecatch. I had a 2 hr day last spring where I hooked over 2 dozen keepers, and thanks to circle hooks, released all healthy. Not a single gut hook. It sucks for the small commercial operators, but they have almost all been pushed out by larger corporate operations anyway, and NC relies heavily on the sportfishing industry, between charters, tourists, boat builders, tackle shops, etc. I know commercial fishermen don't want to hear any of this, as livelihoods are at stake, but it just seems to make sense to me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cabin Fever

Itchin' to get out! I've done about as much re-organizing, re-spooling and tinkering as I can at this point. Still need to do a bit of re-wiring on the Gemma Rose. I need a bigger boat again, as my kids are getting older and I want to safely share my love of the water with them (That's what I tell my wife). I really need to be able to haul more gear and sometimes take another fisherman or two out. When you get to the point where the gear is worth more than the boat, time to upsize. Honestly, I can't really go out with fewer than 8-10 rods. My wife doesn't understand. I counter with "Why do you need so many pairs of shoes?" The answer is the same. Especially fishing solo, you need rods ready to go with a variety of options. I don't want to spend time on the water changing setups and re-rigging when the fish are biting. My typical assortment includes a pair of inshore baitcasters w/ 12lb. mono, 4 spinning outfits with 14-20lb. mono, fluoro and fused braid and rigged with a mix of soft and hard lures that I want to have ready. Throw in two inshore trolling reels w/ 20lb. metered braid on inshore rods, and one Penn "winch" and heavier trolling rod for TwoTree Channel, and I'm good to go. Oops, forgot a 9wt flyrod! That's 10, and I can scrape by with that. They're all ready to go. To pass the time I've been looking at boats to accommodate my obsession and the other weekend went to check out the Parker 23' center console and the Maritime 23' at the Hartford Boat Show. I like the Jones Brothers 23' center console as well. Well, there's always next year. What I really need is some warm weather and fish.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Stinger Sand Worm"

Tired of scup and blues eating their way through boxes of sand worms? Many anglers, myself included, are now using products like Berkleys' GULP Sandworms. Several area charter skippers are endorsing them as evidenced by recent articles in OTW. Still, at $20 for a large container of the 8" worms, I have lots chewed to nubs without landing a fish. SO, I started incorporating a "stinger" hook last summer, and as a result, landed far more fish during the day when the blues and scup out out full force (see the video about 2:45 in). This season I'm going to pre-rig a bunch of these with a rigging needle and 40-50lb internal mono.