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There is no doubt spring is firmly here. It has pretty much been here since November.
The interesting story this season is going to be how the fish react to such a mild winter. Last winter was extremely cold and the resulting fishing was below average. Will the opposite hold true this season? One fact is for sure: the fish will be arriving well ahead of schedule.
There are reports of good catches of Mahi-mahi off Charleston, S.C., which means those fish are soon to be off our coast; typically not seen until May.
Further, the beach water temperatures are now getting into the upper 60s, which means we should see Spanish mackerel any day now; also weeks ahead of time.
I would not be surprised if the first king mackerel of the year are not caught off the Ocean Crest pier by Easter weekend.
One thing that could happen this year with waters warming so early is that all the Mahi-mahi migrating north that typically stay in the Gulf Stream may well move inshore and become much more accessible; the same holding true for cobia.
Inshore, there are all ready good catches of flounder taking place, which normally doesn’t happen until at least May. It is an odd start to the season, but maybe it bodes well? Time will tell, and I will tell you; stand by.
This past Wednesday a group of 20 fishermen joined me aboard a charter bus as we headed up to Washington, D.C., to participate in the “Freedom to Fish” rally. The rally was organized by the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and the main goal is aimed at passing a Flexibility in Reform Act.
Basically, in 2006 the Magnuson-Stevens act was passed, which mandated that by 2010 all fisheries would have to be rebuilt to a certain level. Well, 2010 came and those fisheries weren’t built to that level, according to the fisheries science, and thus the recent year’s closures of so many species.
Arguments mostly focus around the faulty science by which regulations are being made, but for some reason nobody seems to be listening. It is one of those things that just seems to make too much sense, and thus the government just can’t seem to get a grasp on it.
The rally had good bipartisan support from some pretty big names, and it would seem the new regulation adjustment should pass. But in government action moves slower than an Arctic glacier, and by the time they get one thing fixed, something else will be wrong—like half the fishermen in this country will be out of business or decide to quit. Commercial and recreational fishermen are being impacted, so it is not just a one-sided problem.
Who knows if the rally made a difference? At this point, who knows if anyone in Washington listens to anything the public has to say. I have quit wondering. I know the answer. I’ll keep you abreast if any news comes from the fish geniuses in Washington.
That’s about all. Fishing is just starting to get going and will be cranking up strong over the coming few weeks. Easter weekend should be good for many species.
Brant McMullan, a two-time winner of the SKA national championship, is a charter captain and fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at email@example.com.