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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
April 13, 2008
Spring is finally in the air, and I’m back.
Cod fishing is still pretty good, best it’s been in a number of years. Not as good as it was earlier, when it was nothing short of fantastic, but good enough that unless conditions just plain suck, you are going to be able to catch enough cod to keep just about anyone happy, plus lots and lots of ling. There are still only a couple of charter boats sailing, namely BLUEFIN IV, CAPT MARK, SEA WIFE, LORI JAY & HURRY UP, but the boat yards are coming to life and every day a couple more are going into the water. The VIKING, MARLIN VI PRINCESS & SEA OTTER are also sailing on a limited schedule. You’ll have to call them to find out when.
The federal government has come up with a new way to help you out. If you are a licensed captain, as of September 25 you will have to have a TWIC. That’s not one of those chocolate covered wafer candy bars, but an official identification card. It is going to be issued by the same folks that make you take off your shoes at the airports. And, whether you think it’s a good idea (yeah right!) or a bad one, if you want to be a licensed captain you are going to get it. The Coastie in charge of licensing in Manhattan was out to the MBCA meeting on Saturday going over everything, and as he put it if you don’t have your TWIC on September 25, on September 26 you don’t have your captains license. That doesn’t mean somebody is going to come out and rip it off your wall, but it does mean that when you go to renew your license, you will have to start all over with the tests, just like a first time applicant.

It costs either $105 or $132, depending on whether you get one that terminates in five years or one that terminates on your license renewal date. And, it is a two stage process. Stage one you go in, get fingerprinted, pay the $$$, and apply for it. Stage two you go in and get it. Right now, there are two locations convenient? to us, the Battery or New London. They are threatening to open one in Riverhead by mid July, but this is the US government we are talking about, and I’ll believe that when I see it. Apparently it will take about a month to receive it after you have applied, so it doesn’t make much sense to wait for Riverhead, because if it doesn’t open on time you will have to make two trips to the city or Connecticut during the heart of the season.
There is a website about the program at www.tsa.gov/twic and you can pre enroll there as well. But that doesn’t save you a trip. Rather, you fill out your information and then you will get an appointment to go in for Stage One. You can just go in cold, but then you are on the end of the line. You may be the next person waiting on line, but if a half dozen people show up with appointments, you are going to have to wait until they are done.
The MBCA is looking into getting the TSA to make a special trip to Montauk to sign everybody up, which they will do if the number of applicants is sufficient. If that doesn’t happen, the association will probably arrange for a group trip to New London. I’ll keep you informed.
The LAZYBONES going in the water is what usually prompts me to send out the first report of the year, and that usually is around the time that some flounders start getting caught. But not this year. Bones won’t be in until around May 1. They’re passing up on the flounders because of lack of fish. They only caught three fish in each of the past two years. That’s not per day. That’s total for all the trips they sailed.
The road between Hampton Bays and Southampton is now two lanes in both directions, which I’m sure sounds great to all you guys from up-island. Now the logjam starts at the Seven-Eleven and runs up to Watermill.
Right now the boats are paying almost $4.50/gallon for diesel. I just looked back through last years bills, and at the end of the year, I paid $3.27/gallon. Last fall the association came up with suggested rates for this season based on the fuel costs then. I don’t see how they can stick with those prices, so I expect to see them adding a fuel surcharge to the cost of their trips. That way if the fuel prices come down, shortly after pigs fly, they can drop the cost of the charters.
It looks like the SEA OTTER will be leaving Montauk for Connecticut sometime around mid May, when the fluke fishing starts. There are rumors another boat will be taking the slip over, but it’s pretty vague right now. But for now the boat is still sailing cod trips.
It looks like the fluke regs are going to be four fish per person at 20-1/2", starting May 15, but it isn’t official yet. Last year it was four fish at 19-1/2", and was supposed to be open all year, but was closed early because we were too good at catching them. However, there can be a big problem with these regs, because unless something changes in the basic fluke regulations, we may be under a fluke moratorium in 2009. I don’t think anyone is under the impression that we won’t catch too many fish again this season again, and the Feds have indicated that if we can’t stay within our quota, they will close it all down.
There are always a couple of boats for sale out here, and if you are interested the DAYBREAKER is still for sale. I thought that would’ve sold fairly quickly, because it’s bear of a boat. Capt Billy Campbell’s CHASER is also for sale, and if you talk real sweet to Capt Wayne King, he can probably be convinced to sell the KING WAYNE. It’s an over six wooden boat that would make someone a great starter open boat.
I’ll start posting weekly reports in a couple more weeks, after the fluke and bass fishing get started. If you would like to recieve these reports directly drop me a line at [email protected]
 
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