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Marine Fisheries considers no-possession limit for striped bass

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Winners all around abounded in the Fish with a Vet USVI Fishing Tournament. From left are Sonia Willock with her 37.9-pound wahoo and 4-pound red snapper, Thomas Tharrington, formerly of Tarboro, with his 17-pound wahoo and Capt. A.K. Lovarco aboard his ‘Reel Shallow’ collectively added one bone fish, two tarpon and 5-pound blue runner to their total. Tharrington, son of Linda T. and Rick Goines, said the snapper was delicious.

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BY RICK GOINES
Tight Lines

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Some of you may remember that on March 15, 2017, at Tarboro Brewing Co., Tight Lines sponsored a visit from Kirk Rundle, state Wildlife Resources Commission District 3 Fisheries Biologist.

Our much-anticipated meeting with Wildlife Resources Commission fisheries folks was well received. We had a good crowd at Tarboro Brewing Co..

Chad Thomas, Coastal Fisheries Supervisor for WRC's Division of Inland Fisheries, and Rundle did a good job on an interesting, informative slide presentation concerning the new striped bass (rockfish) 26-inch minimum rule set to become effective later that year .

They fielded questions openly and honestly, and I believe most people gained a little more respect for the good works they do. Not everyone was happy about this rockfish 26-inch minimum rule for recreational anglers, but I think those in attendance at least better understood the WRC motivation and fishery science behind the regulation. Change has never been easy.

At the end of the day, when all was said and done, WRC and active anglers wanted the same thing: A good productive, sustainable fishery we could all enjoy for years to come. Long after I am gone, I want my grandbabies and their babies to have fish to catch in clean, unspoiled North Carolina waters. Is that too much to ask?

Also, our Tight Lines team had attended the public hearing held at Nash Community College and found that the response from the public mirrored the responses at our Tarboro meeting. The onset of the rule was delayed for a while.

We recently reported on the new rules, which opened the season for striped bass fishing in the Tar-Pamlico River from Oct. 1 through April 30, 2019.

Now there are some serious changes proposed, as the Division of Marine Fisheries considers a no-possession limit for striped bass in the central and southern waters of North Carolina.

“The Division of Marine Fisheries has received the Marine Fisheries Commission’s approval to draft regulations for a no­-possession limit of striped bass in some waters of the state. The proposal would apply to the Tar, Pamlico and Neuse rivers and other joint and coastal waters of the Central Southern Management Area.

The division recommended developing a supplement to the N.C. Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan to include the temporary management measures to protect two-year classes of fish while the next plan amendment is being developed. The commission approved the recommendation at its business meeting recently .

The proposed supplement must first be approved by the secretary of the state Department of Environmental Quality before it is developed.

Research has shown that striped bass in these waters are not a self-sustaining population and that fishermen are mainly catching hatchery-raised fish; however, data suggests there have now been two successful spawning years, and those fish need to be protected.

The proposed no-possession regulations would end once the new plan amendment is adopted. The amendment could include the no-possession provision or recommend other management actions.

If necessary-approvals are received, the division intends to hold one public meeting on the issue in the Washington area. The supplement would be brought back to the commission for adoption in February, and the regulations would be implemented by the division director through his proclamation authority (NCWRC).”

Rick's Soapbox — It’s going to be a tough defensive offense, to hold on to a ban of rockfish for the health of the fishery. As responsible citizens and stewards of the fishery, we just have to do it to build a sustainable fish population.

The eastern sky of St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, began to glow orange with the rising sun. On the morning of Nov. 17, 13 boats, their captains and crews met to take out 45 veterans for a “Thanks for your Service” Fishing Tournament. There were two categories leaving the docks: Inshore and offshore.

The seas were a bit high, but this group could handle it. Marines, Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard competed to see who had the best time that day. Sure, they enjoyed catching fish, but this day was meant just for them. The boats spread out in all directions as volunteers set up the weigh station at The Deep End Bar & Grille in St Croix.

Throughout the day, reports of catches came in. One boat had six species of fish trolling, one captain found a floater and took about a dozen Mahi from under it and on another boat I heard stories of how the veterans had to share bringing in the fish because it was a tough battle. The stories were getting better and better, until Sonia Willock came in with Capt. A.K. Lovarco, a USMC veteran aboard his “Reel Shallow” and weighed in a 37.9-pound wahoo. Everyone applauded as her smile captured everyone there sharing the amazement of her day.

What could be better than to help veterans cross offshore fishing on their bucket list? To watch how they described their catches (and everyone caught at least one fish) the fish got bigger and bigger. They put on their tournament T-shirts and pictures were taken with new friends and proud smiles. "Fish with A Vet USVI” thanks all veterans for their service and sacrifice, during this month of veteran’s awareness. Kudos to all and tight lines, from Tournament Founder & Organizer Barbara Peel (Forever & Always Fishing Charters STX).

Fishing Success? Good for you! Give us all the nice details at carolinaangler@gmail.com. Large file full-size, high resolution fishy pix make us happy. We want to hear your reason for fishing story. Who got you started? Looking forward to your replies.

See you on the water, my friend.

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