Ok here’s the deal, this came out today:
Date: May 13, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
State Observers Out Gathering Information by Watching Anglers Fish
MOREHEAD CITY — Recreational anglers, who fish in Carteret County waters this spring and summer, may be asked to help state fisheries managers learn more about what they catch.
Staff with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Observer Program will be out in division-owned boats to watch people fish so that they can document catches of fish, fishing practices, effort and any interactions with protected species.
Observers will identify themselves to anglers, explain the project, ask the angler a few questions about their fishing practices, and observe them fishing from a safe distance.
The division’s Observer Program is designed to collect at-sea information about commercial and recreational catch and bycatch for use in fisheries management decisions, stock assessments, development of fishery management plans, and the conservation of protected species. Bycatch refers to species inadvertently caught by fishermen while they are targeting other fish.
The program has observed commercial fisheries for years, but just began observing recreational fisheries in 2010. Recreational observations will continue through the summer and possibly into the fall.
For more information, contact Protected Species Biologist Jacob Boyd at 252-808-8088 or Jacob.Boyd@ncdenr.gov.
Information about the Observer Program is also available on the division’s website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/observers-program.
Seems legit right? Wrong. Let me tell you what this is all about. For years the gill netters in NC have been killing sea turtles. Problem was they never reported their “interactions” the way they were supposed to. The Feds finally figured out that something was not quite right and sent people down to do ride alongs on gill net boats, observers. Well what do you suppose they found out? yes, the gill netters were killing lots of turtles and they took action almost immediately. Flash forward… now they want to turn it around. They have been saying all along that hook and liners kill as many or more turtles as gill netters, I know right, that’s dumb isn’t it? Let me ask you this question: What is the percentage of hook and line anglers who have actually caught a sea turtle (green turtle, loggerhead turtle, leatherback turtle) on a baited hook? Of that percentage how many do you think actually died after releasing? I am betting a percentage so small as to be absolutely statistically irrelevant pursuant to the overall population (even though one is sad). Now, what do you suppose is the percentage of gill netters who have had turtles in their nets? According to the observers it’s almost every time. And how many were found in that net dead due to being unable to surface for air? Again according to the observers it is something akin to almost all of them. So you would think this “observation” of recreational anglers would be no problem right? Almost no anglers hook turtles and they won’t see anything to bother with. Well here’s the problem, the majority of sea turtle/angler interactions take place during the spring cobia fishery, where large hooks with large baits are strung out on stationary lines, exactly what the turtle eat. The overall percentage of this happening when compared to the general population of anglers is miniscule. But this is what they are going to observe and then paint the entire population of recreational anglers with one brush. Most folks don’t even do that fishing. I for one have been fishing for about all of my (soon to be) 48 years and have never hooked or even come close to hooking a sea turtle. But our DMF here in NC is so concerned with preserving the gill netters that they will do anything they can to make everybody else look bad. This could conceivably have far reaching ramifications to any states that have sea turtles. Oh wait, what’s that? All of them do? That’s right. When they bump these inflated/fake numbers to the Feds they will have to do something about it. Remember that 75% of televisions in ancient Sparta were found, after extensive research, to prefer cable over dish.
Here is the editorial from the Carteret County News- Times re: HB 893, The Gamefish Bill. This thing is so full of half truths, holes and plain untruths that I thought it would be interesting to dissect it piece by piece. My comments are in parentheses with a short summation at the bottom. Here goes:
As of yesterday, N.C. House Bill 983, the “2013 Fisheries Economic Development Act,” a misnomer and an oxymoron, had passed its first reading last Thursday and was referred to the Committee on Job Development. HB-983 is simply a rewrite of a similar bill introduced in the 2011 General Assembly session, which died in committee. Which should happen to HB-983. Like the earlier version, HB- 983 seeks to grant “Game Fish Status” to red drum, striped bass and speckled trout. And like its predecessor, it was introduced by House members who live upstate in inland counties at the request of the N.C. Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) under the guise of conservation. Which is false. If passed, HB-983 would allow ONLY recreational fishermen— those who fish for fun on a boat or on the beach— to catch those fish. All others across the state, citizens and tourists alike, who enjoy eating these fish, would be denied and deprived because these fish could not be sold in seafood markets or served in restaurants. Only recreational fishermen — those affluent enough to fish for fun — would be allowed to catch and eat red drum, striped bass and speckled trout. And fish for fun is what they do! To paraphrase Michael Street, who retired from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries in 2008 and wrote a letter about the CCA’s designs in 2011, HB-983 “will not provide more fish for our citizens to use. Only a healthy and productive coastal environment can do that.
(This whole first paragraph is a mess. What does “Which is false.” even mean here? Also, nobody is going to be deprived of their enjoyment of eating striped bass, specks ad reds because they don’t even get served in the restaurants around here. They get sent to NY. Red Drum have been served on menus around here about 3 times in the past year. Unless there is an illegal market, which they swear up and down there isn’t. )
“Allocating a given fish stock (whether the entire species or a limited group inhabiting a specific sound or river) to a single user group makes no biological
sense,” said Mr. Street. “If done, it would be strictly a form of social engineering, not fisheries management.” Mr. Street also said under the
Fisheries Reform Act of 1997, governing coastal fisheries in the state, there is a ceiling on the potential number of individual Standard Commercial Fishing licenses available, about 8,500, but there is no limit on the potential number of recreational fishermen who may seek licenses to fish. The fish in the sea are a public resource. But the game fish bill would make three species the exclusive domain of those among us who have the time and the money to buy and operate their own boats and catch these fish.Knowing there are enough fish for everyone — and there are — the CCA still believes these fish — along with other species it will undoubtedly try to have classified as game fish in the future — belong solely to and for the pleasure of recreational fishermen — and forget the rest of us. That includes commercial fishermen who provide fish for consumers who don’t own a boat and don’t have the equipment or knowledge to catch fish in the surf.
(Again the same cockneyed argument that noboyd would be able to catch them. “The exclusive domain”…somehow the only people that can go angling are extremely wealthy. So all the people who bought fishing licenses last year are rich “fat cats” from Raleigh. This argument is hackneyed and a blatant attempt at sensationalization. Also…dumb)
The Division of Marine Fisheries opposes HB-983,the game fish bill. “Carefully controlling commercial harvests, says Capt. Ernie Foster, owner of the Albatross Fleet at Hatteras, the DMF manages the state’s resources for
the benefit of everyone. Both commercial fishermen and the fish houses that buy their fish keep detailed records. (North Carolina has the best data collection on the East Coast.) The commercial numbers are accurate. But because of the sheer volume of recreational fishermen, the numbers for recreational fishermen are not. Statistics, says the DMF, show that recreational fishermen harvest 70% of the proposed “game fish,” leaving 30% to commercial fishermen who provide them to consumers across the state. The disparity, along with the inequality of the CCA demand, is terribly obvious.
(This is actually kind of serious because I am sure it is true that the people at the DMF oppose this bill. Just like they oppose anything that doesn’t allow gill netters to catch as many fish as they want. There are people that work at the DMF who actually come from gill netting families. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Also, saying that recrational anglers catch 70% of the fish is just plain wrong. They just pulled that number out of thin air. In actuality the harvest of striped bass in the Neuse and Pamlico River basins is more like 80-20 in favor of the commercial netters in what is supposed to be a “bycatch only non directed fishery”.)
The CCA is wrong saying HB-983 would boost tourism. It would not! Tourists come to the coast to enjoy the beach and eat seafood. By killing commercial fishing, HB-983 wouldn’t allow consumer to eat a lot of fish they now enjoy in restaurants, which would be economically indefensible. Opposing the game fish bill, Rep. Paul Tine, D-Dare, said it ties dredging, compensation to some fishing industries and fisheries observer program funding to making three species of fish only available to recreational fishermen. “Dredging and fisheries management support needs to be a priority for the state all the time, not as a condition of giving up the right to fish certain species,” he said. “We should not be in the business of picking winners and losers by decreeing from Raleigh who can access these fish.”
(Here we go, this is a big one too. So many people are bypassing North Carolina entirely due to the well known situation of our fisheries here. I myself have told people from the midwest and northeast to go to SC, FL, TX or LA rather than come here because the numbers of fish I see has been constantly decreasing every year. Also the whole thing about tourists coming here to eat seafood, yes that’s true, they eat flounder, grouper, mahimahi, shrimp and a whole host of other fish but almost never do they get trout, stripers or redfish. So again …. no.)
HB-983 would be a job killer, sidelining commercial fishermen and closing countless fish houses and seafood dealers across the state. Commercial fishermen employ crews, creating jobs. If fish they were allowed to catch and sell were restricted, thousands of seafood dealers, along with hundreds of equipment manufacturers, repair and maintenance contractors would be thrown out of work, unemployed and North Carolina consumers who don’t fish recreationally for fun, would be denied locally harvested seafood. It behooves all of us to contact our legislators and let them know we oppose this consumer- denying, job-killing bill.
(…”countless seafood dealers”, there aren’t even enough to bother counting, that’s what they mean by countless. There are only 41 people who made more than $5,000 selling these three species. They could make more than that in a month if they switched over to charter fishing when the numbers come flying back after they stop netting the heck out of them. The total economic benefit to our coastal communities in direct and non direct spending would be over $93,000,00. Let me toss that number out again…93 MILLION DOLLARS! So there’s that.)
To sum all this up, this is the main problem with trying to get this bill passed, local opposition to it is very misleading and most people around here either don’t know or don’t really care all that much. So they read an editorial like this and they are all “Oh, that sounds bad. I must contact my local legislator and voice my concern.” The local legislators are all on record as being opposed. The change will have to come from outside this area. It’s always been that way. Hopefully this will finally get kicked in before it’s too late to actually save anything and we end up like the New England cod fishery.
It’s been introduced in the house and we can’t let it die this time. A lot of half truths and outright lies are being spoken by the commercial lobby. Things like how people won’t be able to buy NC caught fish anymore. That’s dumb because almost all the fish caught in this state get trucked to NY city anyway. There are a couple people selling local but not many. They are saying how this will destroy local communities. That’s dumb because with more fish in the water more people will come to those communities to go fishing and spend their money there and those communities will actually be better off than they were before. They are also saying that all the fish caught in the nets were going to die anyways so why should they let them go. That’s dumb because a number of years ago I used to go to these meetings, and even watched a film, that stated that flounder gill nets select for size and only catch flounder. They are saying how this will be destructive to our state economy. That’s dumb because if I own a hotel or restaurant in a coastal community I am excited by the prospect of all the people who don’t come NC and go fishing in SC, Louisiana, Virginia or Florida and are now coming here instead. So that is a run down of some dumb things you will be hearing.
In which we go fishing…
Now we have our new fly. It’s two weeks later. there haven’t been any significant storms since the last time you went and a nice weather window comes up with similar tides. Nobody has been bothering those fish that you know about, and the area hasn’t been worked by gill nets for a while (something we always have to worry about in NC unfortunately). Those fish should still be there. You and your buddy get out there again. This time he gets the bow first and you graciously offer him one of your new flies. He graciously accepts. On the way out to the flat you really are hoping the fish are still there. You shut down and start poling. Of course you start poling far enough away that you don’t spook the fish. You would never run right up onto a flat. That’s just rude. You’d spook the fish and possibly ruin the flat for yourself and any future endeavors. Also it messes up any grass growing there. After poling for about 15 minutes you see what you were looking for… the school shows up as a black blob moving across the bottom. You head that way. The wind is blowing lightly from left to right and the sun is behind you, a perfect set up. Your buddy is within range and makes a perfect 80 foot cast. The fly lands about 5 feet in front of the lead fish in the school and they are moving right towards it. You’re getting pumped now. Suddenly two fish near the front accelerate rapidly, you see a wake as they rush towards the fly. They are competing over who gets it! The bigger fish gets there, tips down, flares its gills, opens its mouth and the fly is gone. You buddy strips his line to come tight and the fight is on. Your new fly is a success!. The redfish is near 30 inches long and makes a nice long run into the backing after the hook up. You pole the boat away from the school so as not to spook the rest of them. The fish stubbornly comes to the boat after a couple more runs. Lights, camera, release. Switch places and after it again. It’s a beautiful day filled with beautiful fish, made all the more perfect because you figured out the solution to a vexing problem. That’s what flyfishing is all about.
What it looks like when you hook a big one.
This is what the big one looks like.
IN which we actually put the pieces together on the hook…
A fly that works in our situation (clear water, sandy bottom, few weeds) will need to be be totally different from one that works in murky water with muddy bottom and prevalent weeds. Another note before we go on, many good flats anglers will tie multiple versions of the same fly with the only difference being the amount of weight contained in the fly. A different sized dumbbell eye for deeper flats to shallower flats all the way to unweighted for tailing fish in water that isn’t much deeper that morning dew. So let’s get back to our new fly, a shrimp has long antennae, buggy eyes, lots of wiggly legs, a segmented body and many little swimmers on its tail. Take a good look at a photo or even better, hold a live one in your hand or put it in a bucket and watch how it moves. Put all the pieces together and be prepared to toss your first try in the trash (better yet cut it all off, save the hook and start over). If you observe and think, you’ll come up with something good. My favorite shrimp fly is the Seaducer which, ironically considering the previous line of thought here, was invented by Chico Fernandez but then discovered to have been invented by Joe Brooks 50 years previously. But if I take a Seaducer and add some weighted eyes of different sizes and maybe add some kind of estaz to wrap the hackle around, i have a variation that may work better than the standard one in all the books. so sometimes it’s not inventing a whole new fly but just coming up with a variation on a standard to match the situation.
Did a little fishing with Chris before the games got started yesterday. Good thing too because the wind howled here all day today. We found a little school and this happened. So that’s always a good thing. Also saw some dolphins come into our creek and start working on them too. They round them up by swimming circles around them and then whoosh right through. Bye bye redfishy. Hope your bracket is still hanging together. Go Orangemen!
In which we talk about a fly that will work in our specific scenario:
We have figured out what prey species we need to copy, and of course now you want to “invent” a brand new fly to imitate them. Great! Keep in mind before you go naming your “new” fly after yourself, that most innovations in flytying have already taken place. The real new stuff is in the materials that we have available to use and some tools and adhesives that seem to keep popping up. Most of the new flies I see are merely re-inventions. Having said that, there are some cool new flies out there and I am pretty impressed with quite a bit of what I am seeing. There is indeed nothing wrong with using your imagination to imitate something you are seeing and not able to find. That is most of the fun of flytying, seeing it in the wild and then making it at your desk. Let’s think about a shrimp fly…shrimp are readily available to the fish and it seems that everything out there eats them. A lot of shrimp patterns we see are either way too complicated and hyper realistic or not very realistic at all. Many times what works best is a fly that creates an impression of the shrimp or other prey item. I believe Monet would have been a great fly tier. In our scenario we are talking about fishing clear flats in a foot or less of water with sandy bottom. In this situation we want a fly that is not too bright, that looks pretty realistic, sinks quickly without being too heavy (which would make them difficult to cast and land noisily) and we probably don’t need to worry about weeds. This will make this fly very specific.
I thought I would expand on my post last week and add a brief story, a snyopsis if you will, of any encounters I have had with the fish I have listed. The first one I will synopsize is the Jack Crevalle:
Most of my encounters with jacks have always been of the smaller varieties. Sometimes we’ll see a run of them around here in the late summer. I caught a decent sized one, about 15 lbs I’d guess now, back in college days on spring break. But I had never gotten anything on fly that was too amazing. That all changed one fateful day….I’m not going to bore you with all the details…
(you can read all about it here)
but suffice it to say that I caught one in the 50lb range that took me every bit of an hour to bring in on a 10 wt flyrod with 20 lb tippet a few years ago. It was the most determined fish I have ever had on. It refused to quit and I was more afraid of my rod breaking than anything else.