I have been bashed by JHutchinson of the RFA and Tony Bogon of the Charter boat ass. for urging people and their members to speak for them self’s by sending comments to the ASMFC asking for a closure of commercial fishing for weakfish and a closure of recreational fishing during the spawn. Here is my response:
The reason I urge fishermen to make comments directly to the ASMFC on the weakfish population and not to depend on the RFA to speak for them is right in “your mission statement”. The weakfish population would be last on the RFA mission list to be considered before you take a position on the regulations. Not only did I read your mission statement, I have witness it with fishing regulations and other issues” over the years. I am an avid reader of the NJ angler , NJ Fishermen and other national fishing magazines I have not seen your plan for saving the weakfish. There is two days left to comment if you would like your comment heard at the August 19, ASMFC meeting. I follow Capt. Tony and your mind set: We can not have Charter boats or tackle manufactures loose money” by pushing a closure to save the weakfish! ASMFC said they are all going to die anyway!! I will not stand behind that mind set!! To reiterate for the umpteen time. The first step is a complete closure of commercial fishing and recreational fishing in the spawning areas. The ASMFC is quick to respond to comments. Unfortunlitly the condition of the weakfish seems to be worse than they expected.
No hard feellings Tony and Hutchinson that is the way it is,
email@example.com Send your comment time is short.
If you took the time to read ASMFC site on weakfish you would find they only have “theories” on the decline of the weakfish.You can bet the farm that if the ASMFC allowed the entire commercial fishing fleet loose without a limit on the amount of fish to be killed on any species of fish you would find them in the same state of devastation. Maybe you are not familiar with the proficiency of modern commercial fishing operations. Here is an example: A good friend and a big player in the commercial fishing industry told me he caught in one set 1,000,000 individual weakfish. The estimate was made by an onboard observer. Most of the fish were released. Capt. TB, do you seriously buy into the ASMFC theory that a mysterious natural killer slaughtered the weakfish off? Capt. TB, do you still represent the Charter Boat Association? Does your family member represent the RFA? Do you have family or friends on the ASMFC council? I am wondering why you are so upset that I am encouraging people to make comments directly to the ASMFC ?
I said, The “obvious first step” would be a complete closure to all commercial fishing for two years and a closure to recreational fishing during the spawn. If the ASMFC would do at least this, we will see a spike increase in the weakfish population. I will bet the farm on it!
The flounder bite has been slow the ast couple of days in the back bay. The offshore flounder bite has been slow due to ocean conditions. I will poke around tomorrow in the back bay for flounder and the inlet and right outside the inlet. The flounder should be hiding in that area some where. I just spoke with a commercial fishermen that was fishing off of Cape May NJ the last seven days at a place called the elegant trunk.They did not see a tuna the entire time. The water was blue with 50ft. of visibility. Usually this time of the year they have a school oftuna behind the boat all day. If you are thinking of making a tuna run you may want to wait a few weeks.
I fished a couple of Back Bay flounder spots at dusk today. The water temperature was 72.2 on the top of the tide. The water clarity was excellent with visibility about 12ft. Flounder fishing now requires a lot more effort and time. If you want to catch a few keepers in the back bays of Cape May co. NJ at this time it is going to take ten times the effort that it does in June. The ocean hot spots like the old grounds and reef 11off of Cape May co. NJ are holding large numbers of flounder and most likely will continue to do so through the reminder of flounder season. To fish the ocean locations it requires the better part of a day as far as time. You also must have the correct conditions or it is a waste of time as far as catching fish. I shake my head when I see a party boat or charter captain taking people on a twenty mile rough ride knowing that the fishing is going to be terrible and someone on board is going to get sea sick. There is always someone that is fishing for the first time on these boats and when their first trip is on a rough day with no fish caught they may never fish again. If someone goes fishing for the first time and the ocean is calm and the fish are biting he or she will go fishing again and some will become avid fishermen. When I read Sheps column in the Atlantic City press recently he reported that limits of Weakfish are being caught. He has no names of the fishermen that are catching the weakfish and not one picture of a limit catch of weakfish. Sorry Shep, I do not believe that limit catches of weakfish are being caught. Here in Cape May co. NJ and all along the east coast the weakfish population is at an all time low. The few weakfish that are left need a chance to rebuild! They do not need pressure from news papers trying to sell advertisements!! The ASMFC will meet on August 19, 2009 to discuses ways to rebuild the weakfish population. The best way and the fastest way to rebuild the weakfish stock is a complete closer of commercial fishing for two years and a recreational closer during the spawning season. Please take the time to make a comment on the ASMFC web site on the best way to save the weakfish. Best,Ken
The NJ Marine fisheries council has chosen option 5, May 23 to Sept. 4, 18″ size limit with a 6 fish bag limit.
Iam down loading video of the council members and others speaking. coming soon.