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Lewes, Delaware
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November 17, 2006     Cape Gazette
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November 17, 2006

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Eric Burnley 146 - CAPE CzAZETI - Friday, November 17 - Monday, November 20, 2006 00Cape Region fishing season reaching its peak FISHING REPORT - Fishing is approaching iis season peak with excellent catches of rockfish, tog and sea bass made last week- end. There were some big blues landed as well, and I expect that number would rise if more anglers actually tried to catch them. The big stripers in the rips at the mouth of the Delaware Bay attracted most of the attention over the weekend. Anglers who drifted live eels at the Eights, the Valley and at Oveffalls Shoal con- nected with rockfish to 30 pounds. The action seems to come in short spurts as the fish -are not feeding throughout the fide. Of course, the only way to be sure you are there when they decide to cat, is to be there all day. Some rockfish have been caught on Stretch 25s trolled around the Outer Wall and the Haystacks. I would expect Hen and Chicken Shoal to begin pro-- ducing fish on the mill by this weekend. If you plan to fish there be very careful as some really big seas can form on the shoal and surprise the careless angler. Tog fishing is best on hard structure in Delaware Bay. The rocks at Brandywine Light, the Outer Wall, the Starsite Reef and any other hard structure produced well on Saturday. Most of the fish I saw were in the 4 to 6-pound range and I have not heard of any large tog taken recently. In the ocean it was good fishing for sea bass and fair for tog. I went-out on the last trip of the season for the Judy V on Saturday. There were about 50 people on the boat and I believe everyone had all the sea bass they wanted. My son Ric won the pool with / 10-pound bluefish caught on a metal jig. He saw some big blues follow his sea bass to the surface, switched to a jig and caught the pool winner. Several OUTDOORS of us tried to copy his success without result. The only problem with fishing in the ocean is the overwhelming number of spiny dog sharks. We would stop on good piece of bot- tom and start catching sea bass on every drop until the sharks moved in. Once they showed up that was all you could catch until the cap- tain moved the boat to a different location. This is an example of fishery management gone wrong. In the past there was a sU'ong commer- cial fishery for spiny dog sharks that were sold overseas and ended up as the fish in fish and chips. Concern for the slow reproducing sharks caused the fishery man- agers to put severe restrictions on the commercial fishermen and now we have more of the pesky things than ever. The other prob- lem is the overfishing of cod and pollock. These fish ate small dog sharks and kept the population under control. With little or no natural predation the dog sharks are more numerous and have grown larger than at any time on record. And so it goes. I had a report on Wednesday evening from my neighbor Darren Purcell who had caught his first keeper striper from the surf on Tuesday afternoon. He used a chunk of mullet and fished it out pretty far from the beach by the Old Coast Guard Station. On Wednesday I went fishing at Indian River Inlet and for the first time in three years I was skunked. My old school buddy from Claymont, Paul Scarboriugh, came down because I all but guar- anteed him some action. He arrived before our scheduled departure time of noon and did catch one rockfish from the side- walk by the Coast Guard Station. It was a good thing, because three hours in my boat fishing from the Coast Guard Station all the way back to 19A failed to produce so much as a single hit. I did see a few shad caught, but not one sin- gle rockfish. No birds were working and although the water was very clean, I did not see any bait fish. HUNTING STORY - My deer hunt on opening day was about as good as my striper trip on Wednesday. We were in the stand or on drives from 6 a.m. to after 5 p.m., and while we did see a few deer, none were in range. The weather was better suited for sun- bathing than hunting and the mos- quitoes hovered around my head in dark clouds. I did discover one thing last Friday. I believe I found out how the pastime of bird watching began. It was started by a guy sit- ting in a deer stand while waiting for a deer to walk past. I saw so many different types of birds with some coming so close I could have touched them. I always knew that nobody ever decided to go sit in the woods and just look at birds. The whole thing began with very bored hunters. TAUTOG HEARING SET- Delaware will join eastern states froth Massachusetts to xrnginia in seeking public input for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) as the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control hosts the F'LrSt State's public hearing on Draft Addendum IV to the Interstate Fisher3 Management Plan for tautog. The hearing will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, at the University of Dlaware College of Marine Studies Cannon Laboratory off Pilottown Road in Lewes. The Draft Addendum proposes a definition for target and thresh- old spawning stock biomass (SSB), a measurement of the total weight of all fish of the species in question that are mature, and a new fishing mortality rate to achieve stock rebuilding. The Addendum was developed in response to the findings and rec- ommendations of the 2006 peer- reviewed stock assessment, as well as those ,of the recently updated virtual population analy- sis, which predicts stock size and mortality rates based on fishing data from past years and estimat- ed natural mortality rates. The assessment indicates that the tautog resource remains at low biomass levels. Since the mid- 1980s, tautog has undergone a substantial decrease in total and spawning stock biomass. Both indicators are currently at levels about one-third as high as their early time series average. Based on the current fishing mortality target and the recent fishing mor- tality estimates for the last two years, overfishing is not presently occurring. However, to rebuild the coastal stocks, these rates may need to be adjusted. In addition to defining a coast- wide biomass target for the East Coast fishery, the Draft Addendum proposes allowing individual states or groups of states to determine their own fish- ing mortality rates and SSB refer- ence points more appropriate for their geographic region than the overall coastwide assessment. The board will meet in late January to review public com= ment on the Draft Addendum and consider its final approval. Copies of the Draft Addendum can be obtained by contacting the Commission at 202-289-6400 or by visiting the website under Breaking News. Public comment will be accept- ed until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007 and may be sent to Christopher Vonderweidt, Fisheries Managemen t Plan Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Young angler wins youth division for third year in a row Dillon MeFarlin, 8, son of Mark MeFarlin of Millsboro and Debra Miller of Chesapeake City, ira/deal this 31-inch striper that weighed in a 8.13 pounds, good enough for him to with th Youth Division in the annual South Beach (N.J.) Surf Fishing Tournament for the third year in a roW BEACH mARInE Shrink/Wrap Pressure Washing Full Service Facility Lighted & Secure Storage