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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By ******** April 22
What is unbelievably refreshing is how resilient the weakfish have proved to be. Considering in 2009 Dr. Jamie Geiger of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, suggested that the weakfish stock may have fallen to such lows that managers might wish to consider invoking the provisions of the Endangered Species Act as one of the management tools. The listing seemed like a sure bet. As any fish stock experiencing decades of unlimited commercial and recreational harvest would surely end up that way. A timely weakfish recovery was not expected by the ASMFC under any circumstances.
The good news is they were wrong. With only three years of historic weakfish regulations (limited harvest) they are showing up in numbers not seen in decades along the entire east coast.
The return of the weakfish in this month’s (May )issue of On The Water magazine covers it well.
 

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There are a bunch of them being caught down here off the coast of SC right now. Last year same thing. They don't get a lot of pressure since you're only allowed to keep one and they are not the perferred table fair compared to the Spotted Trout down here.
 

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I've read they are a cyclical fishery. Meaning, they reproduce in a way where there are a great number of them for years, then a lull, then a resurgence, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There are a bunch of them being caught down here off the coast of SC right now. Last year same thing. They don't get a lot of pressure since you're only allowed to keep one and they are not the perferred table fair compared to the Spotted Trout down here.
Great to hear
 

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would be great to see them comeback to anywhere the #'s they were in the mid 70's. Hopefully if they do the powers to be will still protect them so they can not be over fished the way they were before
 

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In my experience weakfish appear in cycles .I have fished the Delaware bay since the 1960s.Back then you couldn't buy a weakfish bite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In my experience weakfish appear in cycles .I have fished the Delaware bay since the 1960s.Back then you couldn't buy a weakfish bite.
The croakers collapsed in 1945 as a direct result of unlimited unregulated harvest, the same with the weakfish in the late 50's. All fishes are cyclic. However, a unlimited unregulated harvest during a down period will guarantee a collapse. Some have been pushed to the point of no return. We got lucky with the weakfish.
 

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When I'm catching 13+lbers regularly with a half dozen chasing her up to the boat trying to steal the lure out of her mouth like I used to I'll call it a comeback. The tiny spikes have always been around, drop a small jig/bucktail or a 1/0-2/0 hook with bait within a mile or 2 of the beach in the late summer/early fall you can catch 100's of them every year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wouldn't call it an amazing comeback....:confused:
Remember, they were talking about listing them on the endangered list in 2009. The fact we have a fishable weakfish population at this point is an incredible come back. Obviously they are not fully recovered, but they have some serious momentum going on. Check out the weakfish section in May's edition of On The Water Magazine.
 

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I'm not an expert on weakfish fisheries but I do know one thing, I am fortunate to be able to spend lots of time on the water and in 2009 or any other year I have seen TONS of tiny spikes in the ocean every single year, I have not seen the tiderunners and a solid bay fishery in a while. Not to mention the are highly cyclical and suffer greatly from predation. Still wouldn't call it a 'amazing' comeback.
 

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I agree with the waterman I catch lots of keeper size weaks off the beach while marking thousands in late summer. The big breeders seem to be pretty scarce, haven't caught one in years. I'm blaming the spiny dogs.
 

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HAve you guys been fishing lately?
 

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For me big Back Bay Weakfish on a consistent basis have been cyclical for sure. Like many of us who have fished for a very long time, I will never forget the mid 70's to about 1984. Weakfish 10-14lbs. on almost every trip from mid May to early June. They significantly tapered off after that and made a resurgence from about 2000-2004, but the big fish were somewhat smaller, in the range from 8-10lbs. I have not seen big weakfish on a consistent basis since then, it's been fish that are 12-24". At least for me, when I see 8- 10lb fish on a consistent basis I will say they are back. We still need to protect them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For me big Back Bay Weakfish on a consistent basis have been cyclical for sure. Like many of us who have fished for a very long time, I will never forget the mid 70's to about 1984. Weakfish 10-14lbs. on almost every trip from mid May to early June. They significantly tapered off after that and made a resurgence from about 2000-2004, but the big fish were somewhat smaller, in the range from 8-10lbs. I have not seen big weakfish on a consistent basis since then, it's been fish that are 12-24". At least for me, when I see 8- 10lb fish on a consistent basis I will say they are back. We still need to protect them.
I agree, all fish are cyclic,including stripers and flounder. However, allowing an unlimited harvest during a down cycle guarantees a collapse. Why they expected a different result with weakfish??? The fish them to they are gone mentality , can be traced back to the 1800's at least. That mentality can also be linked directly to the rise and fall of weakfish.
Check this out:

What’s Up With All These Weakfish?

October 7, 2013 By John McMurray

Weakfish appear to be abundant again, and we should be protecting them…

" Why, who the H knows… But the purpose of this blog is not to talk about Montauk, but to discuss weakfish. Because, believe it or not, a bit west of the Point in 40 to 50’ depths, the bottom was often absolutely covered with them. Not the 7’ to 10” spike fish that seemed to be abundant every Oct and haven’t yet recruited into the fishery, and likely wouldn’t recruit. These were nice fish in the 7 to 10-pound range. We caught a bunch before the gillnets showed up anyway.
This sort of weakfish abundance isn’t restricted to Eastern Long Island. I’ve actually got good numbers of weakfish minutes from my house in Oceanside. Jamaica Bay has been full of them this summer. And Cape Cod got a good slug of fish this spring and early summer.


The May issue of On The Water magazine has a weakfish section I think you will find interesting.
http://www.onthewater.com/issues/
 

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Ive seen a few caught so far this year and caught and RELEASED a 5 lbr --- 2 days ago . I think they are coming back a little at a time if you release them to spawn you may be very surprised in a few years . they arnt really great food fair but they fight like hell and look great in the water. most of my sons friends release them as well
 

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definitely not the result of a 1 per man limit.. Im happy to see more weakies around, but I don't think we had anything to do with it, its just nature doing its job. We have more redfish around now too, and with all that, stripers are less prevalent in our inlets and bays.

I don't give any credit to whoever was talking about putting them on the endangered species list in 09. whoever that guy is, isn't playing with a full deck of cards.
 
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