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Capt. Monty Hawkins Report
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Fish Report 2/4/18
Going Toggin
Make Comment
Chimney Blocks In..


Folks - This is WINTER tog fishing. A trip can go south fast. Tog DO NOT always bite! (especially when the water gets too cold!)
(If they did always bite they'd have all been caught..) Yes, my clients have caught 7 tog over 20 pounds ..but there were many other days when we paid dearly.

Tog Trips In Cold Water Mean A LOT Of Running Time!
Reservation Staff are the only way to secure a spot. I may not check email all day - they're manning phones 24/7.. Morning Star Reservations 410 520 2076
Opening Tuesday, Feb 6 - Long Tog - $125.00 - 6:30 to 3:30 - 16 Sells Out
Friday, Feb 9 - Very Long Tog - $135.00 - 6 to 4:30 - 16 Sells Out
Saturday, Feb 10 - Very Long Tog - $135.00 - 6 to 4:30 - 16 Sells Out

Reservations Required at 410 520 2076 Open 24/7 - On My Rig You Can Reserve What Spot You're In. Please See http://morningstarfishing.com For How The Rail's Laid Out..
LEAVE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE CONTACT NUMBER - Weather Cancelations Happen - I Make Every Attempt To Let Clients Sleep In If The Weather's Not Going Our Way..

Be a half hour early! We always leave early!
..except when someone shows up right on time.
Clients arriving late will see the west end of an east bound boat. With a limited number of reserved spots, I do not refund because you over-slept or had a flat..

Green Crabs (not Whites!) Provided As Boat Bait And Are Included In All Fares.

Skunks are always possible while tog fishing.
Really. It's a frequent occurrence. Sometimes even the very best toggers get their head handed to them despite folks all around having done well.
Then too, sometimes the whole boat can do very poorly.
If you can't take the heat, and there ain't much of that either, stay out of the kitchen.

Going Toggin Anyway! Tog Only, Sea Bass Are Closed Because NOAA Has Absolutely No Real Idea How Best To Manage The Fishery.
No Live Tog Leave The Boat - Dead & Bled - Period. (I Believe The Live Tog Black Market Has Hurt This Fishery ..But Nowhere Near As Much As Bad Sea Bass Regulations)
Agreed With Or Not, All Regulations Observed – Maryland: 4 Tog @ 16 Inches

If You Won't Measure & Count Your Fish, The State Will Provide A Man With A Gun To Do It For You. We Measure & Count — ALWAYS — No Exceptions!

It's Simple To Prevent Motion Sickness, Difficult To Cure. Bonine seems best because it's non-drowsy. Truly cheap & effective insurance.
Honestly - If you get to go on the ocean once month, once a year, or even less; why risk chumming all day? Similarly, if you howl at the moon all night, chances are good you'll howl into a bucket all day.

Bring A Cooler With Ice For Your Fish – A 48 Quart Cooler Is Fine For A Few People. Do Not Bring A Very Large Cooler. We DO have a few loaners - you'll still need ice.
No Galley! Bring Food & Beverages To Suit. A few beers in cans is fine for the ride home.

In winter waterproof boots are almost a necessity. While some rarely, or never, wear gloves for fishing, you'd not likely see me fishing this time of year w/o at least the half-finger wool gloves.
Layers are best because, believe it or not, sometimes it can be very pleasant offshore--especially when the wind lays down. In winter it's warmer offshore owing to warmer waters. In summer it's cooler..

19,575 Reef Blocks deployed at numerous sites as of 11/12/17: TNC's Restoration Reef 278 - Doug Ake's Reef 3,355 - St. Ann's 1,952 - Al Giles/OC RUST Reef 1,529 - Eagle Scout Reef 970 - Sue's Block Drop 569 - Nichols' Concrete 1134 - Capt. Bob's Inshore Block Drop 705 - Benelli Reef 418 - Capt. Bob's BG Reef 784 - Wolf & Daughters Reef 220
Recent Blocks Provided By Potomac Valley Brick - Thank You!
Support the Ocean City Reef Foundation! http://www.ocreefs.org (lots of reef pics here..) The OC Reef Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit with no payroll & no rented office space -- We Build Reef. Also registered w/Amazon Smile. We're Nowhere Near Reef Building's True Potential. Thank You!


Greetings All,
Caught a handful of dandies last few trips including Greg's giant 28 3/4 inch tagged female release & Zig's boxed jumbo male. Also had a good tag return. We'll see what that fish's story was in weeks to come.
Ocean's mighty cold. Tog, it seems, hibernate.. Inshore fish now sound asleep, have to run a ways to find a bite.
So we will.

Stayed busy with bird watching a couple days super bowl weekend. Good thing. Mighty hard to sell fishing tickets when that game's on..
Saw seals, a snowy owl (from way up north Canada) - razorbills, an Iceland gull; all indications of a cold winter
..then had a brown pelican flew in for a hand-out of butterfish. First year for a February pelican in MD.
Yeah, OK, but it's still plenty cold.

MD is considering a bunch of fisheries changes. Here they are in a simple format
http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/regulations/changes.aspx
One I especially wanted to support was a change in tog regs. I've included that comment below.
By "regionalizing" the tog fishery we combine our MRIP catch estimates with DE & VA's. It's a safety measure - to protect from wild swings in catch estimate statistics.
For a few years we've had 'regional regulation' with DE & VA on summer flounder (fluke). While some complained that we might have loosened further; that is, loosened by making the size & bag limits less restrictive if we'd stayed a single state -- this year MD's Private Boat estimate (despite an obvious decline in population owing, I believe, to hurricane Sandy) and that decline causing a drop in both recreational & commercial quotas - MD's Private Boat summer estimate is about double recent years. No matter the size limit going up last year, MRIP sez we killed twice as many..
If we'd had a "just MD" flounder quota, as opposed to regional, we'd have blown past our allotment and be talking about severe new regulation for next 2018 - maybe a long closure & 18 or 19 inch fish..
MRIP's estimates seem random because they include all statistical flyers. There is no estimate that could not be true so far as NOAA is concerned. If one state's Private Boats caught as many of a species in a few weeks as all Party/Charter -- so be it.
As I wrote to several scientists recently: When managers are forced to accept MRIP data, science & justice leave the room.
They truly do.
While MRIP's busy making private boats look more bloodthirsty than foreign factory trawlers of yore, managers have devised methods of skirting the most painful of federal regulatory requirements -- 'regionalization' of recreational quota is but one method..

Have a new load of chimney blocks in from Potomac Valley Brick. Four strapped together make my favorite boat deployed "Tog Condo".. Look forward to some low-budget reef building soon.
First, a couple fishing trips coming.
See tautog comment below.
Regards,
Monty

Capt. Monty Hawkins
Party Boat Morning Star
Ocean City, Maryland
morningstarfishing.com
mhawkins@morningstarfishing.com


Hello at MD Fisheries,
I strongly support the proposed changes in Tog regulation. A genuine step forward.
I would also urge MD DNR to explore trying a hatchery program with this species. Owing extreme habitat fidelity, even the smallest of hatchery/stocking to specific land-based access points would increase angler satisfaction; and, owing any increase in spawning production during the years when hatchery fish were sub-legal (yet in the spawning biomass) would aid in increasing the stock beyond the population's normal regulated coastal production on almost entirely manmade habitats.
Additionally, had the indian term 'tautog' not been adopted, we'd have likely referred to this species as "Oyster Wrasse." It stands to reason, given wonderful successes of late in oyster reef restoration, that a resurgent population of tautog in the Chesapeake (though unrecognized as "missing") would also be aided by hatchery work.
Every fishery in a given region influences every other fishery in that region. Deflecting effort, or enlivening additional species to help ameliorate new effort, should be a goal of regulators, restorationists, & managers world wide.
Regards,
Monty Hawkins
Party Boat Morning Star
OC MD


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