can honestly say I would not try to describe this column with any other
headline. It has been quite the end to the month of February.
New fishing regulations on a popular species and two hard-hit local boats are making up most of the fishing chatter.
Yes, bluefin tuna have shown up, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
start things off, cobia have been the talk of the Internet for the past
couple of weeks. One or two random posts on social media pertaining to
concerns of a possible closure on the harvest of the species led to an
first, it didn’t seem real, as there wasn’t much information on the
subject coming from anywhere other than hearsay. But, it took only a
few more days before the reality became clear.
over 1.5 million pounds of cobia were harvested by recreational
fisherman in 2015 and that more than doubles what the annual catch
limit should be, which is 630,000 pounds. Many states are instituting
new regulations for 2016 and North Carolina is one of them.
The daily two fish per person
bag limit is being reduced to one fish per person per day starting this
Saturday. The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries hopes to
limit the impact of the harvest this year and to even extend the season
by a few days.
Extend the season by a few days?
Yeah, that’s the next whammy in this one.
has been proposed to close the cobia to harvest as of June 15 for the
remainder of 2016 to also help protect the stock. So, your guess will
be as good as the rest of us as to how many extra days the one fish per
person per day will buy us.
Probably not many.
The 1.5 million estimated pounds is figured out in quite the peculiar manner.
South Atlantic Fishery Council basically takes some data acquired from
boat ramps, piers, surf and even by counting the number of trucks and
trailers at a ramp -- I kid you not -- to come up with this rough
And, this is where I get "Wow!" -- because there is not much more to say to that.
are great fish to eat and also put up one heck of a fight. They are
typically caught by sight-casting, which is a ton of fun. And all of
this leads to a big draw.
anglers are just fanatical about these fish, and they pay big bucks to
hunt them with local captains or by dragging their own boats to our
ramps. This is serious business, so no one wants this species to go the
way of the striped bass, which cost the area's economy a lot of
dollars when they up and disappeared.
The frustration lies in the council’s witchcraft estimate of over 1.5 million pounds to make this declaration seem legit.
you want to come to any area that makes a lot of money in the
recreational fishing industry and change the rules on a money fish—well
then—it needs to be with a little more than we counted 27 Fords, 18
Chevys and 29 Toyotas at a ramp and multiplied that by 14 people we
interviewed on a pier and divided that by 76 we interviewed at the ramp
and took that figure and multiplied it by the square root of the world.
anglers, and local business owners are upset and rightfully so. Hard
data and science go a lot further than witchcraft.
can only hope that this satisfies the council, because if it doesn’t
and there is another crazy take by the end of 2016, then we’ll probably
be looking at a full closure in 2017.
This is a tough pill to swallow and will be talked about for most of the year I am sure.
Well, the bluefin tuna are here and the dash for the cash has begun.
are the largest of the tuna family and the most sought after in all of
the markets. Commercial fishermen can make big bucks catching them, and
they are sought-after table fare by many. They fight like Zeus himself,
and many recreational anglers love to chase these fish also.
In recent years, the Outer Banks even got its own spinoff show on National Geographic Channel's "Wicked Tuna" series.
seen some nice fish recently on social media and in the reports. They
are definitely here a touch bit earlier in the year than we’ve seen in
recent past, but no one’s complaining.
But some local watermen have had troubles chasing the bluefin.
Waste Knot out of Pirates Cove sunk after striking something in the
ocean east of Oregon Inlet. I’ve heard it was a whale or wood, but I am
personally not sure.
later, the Risky Business literally got hit by a couple rogue waves
that were described as larger than the boat as the crew crossed over
the east bar of Oregon Inlet. The flying bridge was ripped off the boat.
Luckily, in both incidents, everyone made it back safely.
there have been a couple of other incidents that have led to another
sunken boat and another being towed in after it started taking on water.
the Waste Knot and Risky Business had very knowledgeable and skilled
local captains who got into trouble quickly. If you are the person that
reads the reports and thinks to yourself about dragging your boat down
here and making a run for it, make sure you fully understand what you
are getting into.
and Hatteras inlets change overnight, and some of the best captains on
the Outer Banks have hard times navigating those waters some days and
they do it more than most.
are some nice blackfin tuna running around out there in the deep to go
along with the blues. If you like tuna, then now would be a good time
to call a local captain and give it a whirl.
are some puppy drum being caught from the surf around Buxton and a
little farther south, with some days better than others.
temps do not look all that bad from Buxton south, and after there were
a couple big drum caught during the last warm spell, there is a
good chance a few warm days and southwest winds could get the drum
For now, it’s almost March, and the weather during this time could do just about anything.
But, you can sit at home reading reports, or you can go out and try to make one.
Go fishing and play hard.
Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 16 years and has
worked in the recreational fishing industry the entire time. A former
variety fishing TV show host, beach fishing guide, tackle shop and pier
employee, Rob currently owns and operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing. He
is on the Pro-Staff of Bending Branches LLC, Wilderness Systems Kayaks,
Release Reels, Yakattack and is an ambassador for Ugly Stik. You can
follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)
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