Money, money, money

I’ve read something recently that got me thinking. A fellow on one of the internet boards laid out this scenario , based on recent events

A charter boat captain went out in the morning with a 6 pack…by 9 am they limited out with 2 fish each, all over 25 lb

The afternoon 1/2 a day trip resulted in the same score.

12 large stripers for 6 customers and extra 4 stripers ,two for a captain and two for a mate

So far, two trips resulted in  28 large stripers, all over 40 inches

But they are not done, there still is a night charter to do.

Since eeling on a boat can be like fishing in bathtub full of stripers, this resulted in another 12 slobs thrown on the dock.

So, we got 40 stripers killed, all over 20 pounds, majority of them females that will obviously will never get to breed again.

So in weeks time, one charter boat can slaughter more striped bass then a commercial pin hooker can do it in A YEAR. Same goes for a party boat who can call as many stripers in two daily trips as pin hooker can kill in NY in whole year

PLUS the commercial pin hooker has a set limit which can be between 24 and 36 inch or whatever yet the charter boat captain is purposely targeting big breeders. Naturally, that is what his customers want.

Do you see something wrong with this picture?

How do we view these charter and party boats that are decimating our stock and yet show up at hearings pretending to be recreational anglers? Are they?

Not any more then taxi drivers are “recreational drivers”. Both of them take your money and provide a service. But what kind of lobby do these obviously “special” people have to justify their clients taking two fish a day while you, the idiot on the beach, at whom they laugh at when they drive by because you obviously can’t afford their rates and that’s why you are rock monkey, what kind of lobbying do they do?

Because they are obviously more deserving of ocean’s bounty then you are. After all, you are having “fun”, they are “working”, so get off you fing rock and stop throwing plugs their way!

Any organization that tells you that they are protector of “recreational interest” and yet they have charter and party boat interest as part of their membership base are not I something could ever be a part of. Because as I’ve said many of times, our interest are not aligned. No offense to anyone who earns a living guiding, chartering or party boat captains. These are good people who work very hard at what they do. But if their kill is considered “recreational” then I hope that commercial take is increased to the point where collapse are going to be quick and painless. After all, no one seems to care right now anyway, too many people making money off striped bass. Keep slaughtering the big fish stocks, and mark my words, when fisheries collapse they will be first in line with a hand out ,looking for you to buy their boats.

Something we fail to understand, us that are passionate about fishing from surf. You don’t need to like fishing to run a charter, guide or party boat, heck you will probably grow to despise it dealing with regulations, crowds on your broad and lost tackle.

For us it’s about call of the surf, about battle of the wits, reading the beach, enticing our opponent to swallow a hunk of wood. For them is about paying bills. There is nothing wrong with dropping the eel over the side ,catching your limit and going home. That what they are paid to do.

But please don’t call them recreational anything…

43 comments on “Money, money, money

  1. Nick

    I never looked at it that way Z. Who would want to take that much fish home anyway? This year I kept one bass(31″) and released all others. We got 4 meals out of that fish.

  2. Rich m

    thate what ive sayin they are the ones slaughtering them.and thats just one boat. but how can we stop it the only thing that would help (a little) is 1 drop chartere fishing take by 1 fish people dont realize that they are paying for charter for the fun of fishing not just for the meat.!@##$$%% its agrevating isnt it!

  3. Matt V

    You know I don’t post much but this scenario is most definately true.In years past i’ve done the chater boat thing but now see how it is killing the big fish population.Maybe they should change the laws on fish limits.Even at one keeper per surf rat just think if every surf rat kept one fish a day how many fish would be decimated.

  4. woodwker99

    Unbelievable Z! you need to publish this letter to all of our State and NY Federal Representatives. We need this separation of commercial and recreational fishermen. As a surf rat I release Most if not all of my bass year after year( I have kept one 28″ bass this year after having caught and set free 4 bass up to 20 lbs this year). Can I copy and paste this on other fishing blogs? I think we need to spread this information around so everyone has something to think about this off season.

  5. Bobby W

    i am in agreement with this 100%. there once was a slot fish, and a trophy fish limit. one between 24-28″ and one above 28″. personally, i will keep about 1 fish a year off the surf, and would actually rather the 24-28″ fish. this is only charters in NY that you happen to be talking about as well. dont forget about the slaughter that takes place south of NJ where i have read of some real questionable captains with pool money to pay the EEZ fines when they get busted.

  6. Tom

    Not all party and charter boats are created equal. I actually spent the summer working as a mate on a charter boat out of block island. I can say that it was our policy to convince all charters to release larger fish. If they want to keep their limit so be it. However, we made sure to convince them of the necessity of the release as much as possible. I personally revived a fish of 45+ lbs for ten minutes during a drift, and when the clients saw it swim away they were at their happiest of the evening! I completely agree that this should be a major consideration, as the majority of boats do not follow this practice. However, it is also not fair to lump them all into one murdering group. Also, while I do agree that boat fishing is generally “easier” than surf fishing, there are many finer points to boat fishing that go unappreciated. The best captains are very precise with their boat handling, just like I would be in deciding exactly which rock I pick to stand on while wetsuiting. I completely agree that there needs to be a change just be aware when making such broad statements.

  7. Charles Witek

    It’s the 4 taken by the captain and mate that should provide reason for special concern.

    I don’t like the fact that the passengers are encouraged to kill their limit, or that charter boat fish are frequently “highgraded,” that is, kept semi-alive in the boat’s livewell and then returned to the water when a larger fish is boated (there’s no escaping the added stress, and the likelihood of far higher mortality levels in highgraded fish that results).

    I don’t like the fact that a lot of those fish are caught on illegal porgies; I believe in playing by ALL of the rules.

    But if the crew is keeping 2 fish per person per trip, just where are those fish going? I’ve got a pretty good appetite, but I can’t imagine eating that much bass, even if some are frozen to get me through the winter. Many captains and mates are commercial fishermen with bass tags. However, if the fish are destined for commerce, New York regulations require that they be tagged immediately upon capture, and ony fish falling into a 24-36″ slot may be retained. More significantly, New York regulations prohibit the sale of any bass caught on a trip that carried passengers for hire. So if any of those fish hit the market, they’re illegal, perhaps for more than one reason.

    There is also an interesting irony here. Back in ’95, there was a huge uproar in New York, when anglers wanted to keep the rules at 1 fish @ 36 inches and the for-hires said that they “had to have” 2 @ 28 to keep their businesses alive. Yet I sit on New York’s Marine Resources Advisory Council, and more recently have heard representatives of the East End for-hire industry come in and argue that they should be able to put their commercial tags on fish caught by their fares (an action which, thankfully, remains illegal so far), with one of the reasons being that a lot of their business comes from tourists who have no way to keep or prepare the bass they caught, so the captain should be allowed to sell them rather than just putting them back in the water. So come on Capts, which is it. Do you “need” 2 fish because your customers want them, or do you want to sell your customers’ catch because they don’t need them? Or is it just a matter of taking everything that you can get?

  8. Zeno Post author

    I agree…not all the surfcasters are created equal either
    I’ve seen some who rather gouge their eyes then keep a bass and I’ve meet other who carried 10 bass, one of the time, thinking no one sees them to their truck, every day
    I am not talking about charter boat captains. Some of the charter boat captains ,particularly the fly fishing guides are strongly in favor of conservation
    I am talking about a system that is broken.
    Party and charter boats should and must be reclassified as commercial fishermen and all their catch be allocated to commercial quota…they are businesses

  9. Joe L

    Charter boat captains should encourage customers to release fish.It good for their business to do so.Some people just have to keep everything they catch.You can talk till your blue in the face and it doesn’t do any good.Captains and mates should be exempt from keeping fish,no trophy fish either.For me the enjoyment of fishing is in the catching of the fish ,not in the keeping of the fish.

  10. Robert Mc

    Tom your right. Beside your not going to find to many boats selling 21 charters a week, max out every trip and keep ever fish caught!! And if the charter tells the capt before they want to catch and release only, I don`t thing the capt would say no!.

    Keep in mind
    Z is saying these guys are being paid, there for they`re commercial………..

    I Agreed

  11. clinton

    Just think about the boats in Montauk alone.I read the reports about “such and such”boat limiting out.I hate to see a collapse but I think it needs to happen on a drastic scale so that everyone will wake up.Seems to not have worked the last time.

  12. Adam

    I fish for food. My parents & Grandma live on a fixed income in Eastern Suffolk county. Try paying summer prices, or having to drive to Riverhead to afford groceries. We own a boat but only run it when the time is right because of money. When the radar broke I had to pay to get on a charter in August. I had never been on a party boat. They released 40’s on Aug.1st. The two fish & the blues i kept fed my family. I fish every day & I follow the rules. Our rules for fluke suck! letting commercial guys keep 24 inch bass or party boats continue to porgy fish after we can’t is wrong.
    The lifetime fishing license in a violation of a two hundred year old agreement in Southold, Shelter Island,East Hampton & Southampton. Every aspect of our rules needs to be reevaluated.
    But it’s all about the dollar. How many people do you see with VS & lami’s who fish twice a month if that?

  13. Zeno Post author

    there is nothing wrong with fishing to eat. I had striped bass for dinner today.
    And no, “sport” guys should not tell those who want to keep a legal fish that they should not eat it. This is still America.
    However, no one will tell me why would someone be allowed 2 fish on the chartered or party boat

  14. mark m

    I hear what Zeno is saying. I listen almost every day to various charter captains who come to the shop and complain that the commercial quota is killing their recreational
    quota (WTF?) Ask a 6 pack captain and they blame the large party boats because of the larger fares onboard. Not to name any boats, but if a large party boat in Montauk has 50 fares 3 times a day that is a 100 fish per trip (300 per day) potential pulled from the rips. Multiply that by boats plus the various ports along the coast! To add fuel to the fire, just add the bass pulled out by weekend warriors and the numbers are staggering. The entire quota & regulatory system is wacked out and needs to be unified by all the coastal states. Our government is basically auctioning off the right to fish to whoever wants to pay fees.

  15. Zeno Post author

    This is not about good apples versus bad. There are a lot of great conservation minded captains out there. John Murray comes to mind, he writes some great thought provoking pieces. Captain Frank Castelli, fellow behind the Guide Choice lures donates 5% of each lure pre-sales tax sale to conservation.

    Its about system that is broken. They certainly operate within the letter of the law. And yes, the scenario that the fellow laid out in his internet post about a boat being booked three times in a day is highly unlikely. But you can do numbers yourself, take only one trip a day and multiply times , I don’t know, 500 times a day along the whole coast for every boat that sails daily with a customers…my only point here is, they are commercial operation and should be classified as such…other stuff like poching, encouraging keeping fish, culling, pinhooking,selling costumers fish is stuff for another post

  16. Mark Pirani

    I need to start reading this in the afternoon so my day isn’t ruined. I have made this argument over and over again. I advocate gamefish for Striped Bass but not so you can have had head boats slaughter the species. Imagine the damage done by the 20 Head boats or even larger fleets it makes me ill. There needs to be a seperate category for these boats and their take.

  17. firstlight

    This has been a pet peeve for a long time, yet states generally support charters in as much as they bring people who are spending money into a particular state. Obviously, the guys who pay big bucks to charter want to bring fish home, the bigger the fish the better. That’s another reason for dropping the fish limit to one per person. Given that there are charter boats all over the mid-Atlantic and New England coast, the results are devastating.

  18. Zeno Post author

    Don’t paint all with a same brush..the much despised mosquito fleet in mtk is as conservation minded as most surfcasters if not more..they are charter boats too…in a lot of ways its hard to blame anyone who does what laws allows them to might not like it but they are not doing anything you wouldn’t do if you were in their shoes…if I get a chance I’ll fill you in on a conversation i’ve had with a poacher over the weekend…although we might not like what for hire boats are doing we have other issues too…poaching is a much bigger problem in NY then I would ever envision

  19. fishinthedark

    Z well said and I might add there is an inlet with a very large party boat basin in its shadows who are doing the same thing day in and day out when the fish show. I am not picking on them in particular as they have a right to make a living like any other red blooded American, but facts are facts.
    The pictures and chesting pounding from that sector of the fishing community posting on is hard to ignore.

    No my point isn’t lets tell the party boats or the 6 packs they can’t fish its WE NEED A SLOT LIMIT so guys who fish for money can make their nut and put guys who maybe fish once or twice year onto fish
    SLOT limit 26-32 and one trophy fish over 48 inches. Let be real I know 48 inches is going to be a monster, but it lets the guy who might have his first 50 keep his fish, but more importantly it keeps all thos 30-40lbs breeders breeding until they get very old (48 inches is an old fish)

  20. Lou

    Was just talking to a surf caster with commercial tags about this the other day…… We need to change the regs to 1 fish per personand create a yearly slot limit soon or “I’m outta business” …. It seems that this is spiralling more and more out of control.. And everybody wonders why the fall run has very few big fish. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Every day I see on the internet people bitching and saying “someone has to do something about this or that” They need to get off their dead arses and do something !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    O K I’m done with my rant !!!

  21. karl kjellberg

    I think the charter boat captains need to adapt the spirit of the Atlantic Salmon lodges (owners and guides) of Quebec (particulary Gaspe) they take their sports (anglers) fishing and generally only allow them to catch two fish per day (if they are so lucky) and impose a lodge Catch and Release program (this not a law it is voluntary to protect the species from being decimated) They will if a guest insists on exception basis let them keep one small Grilse Salmon (similiar to slot size) if they catch a small one which generally results in about 10-20 fish max per lodge kept for the entire season. My understanding is that the vast majority of all lodges in Gaspe participate in this effort to maintain a viable salmon fishery. Not sure how we could promote or have this mandated but I would be support any effort to mmove in this direction

  22. Matt

    I’ve always considered charters to be commercial fisherman. If the catch isn’t lumped in with commercial numbers it very well should be. My favorite is walking on to a party boat where i tend to do well and get a thrill out of throwing back keepers just to piss other fisherman off. Charters and Party Boat are as commercial as they come. When you tell a deck hand to throw your fish back then he proceeds to walk away with it to deliver it to the boat cooler or one time i told the hand to release my fish he starts walking to front of the boat I had to chase his ass down to get my fish back and tossed it right the over the side SOB was gonna selling to someone in the front. Another time I ended up gut hooking a bass pretty bad so I kept him … I kept on fishing and throwing the rest back … the deck hand goes why are you throwing them back, I told him i reached my limit … he replies but you didn’t reach the boats limit …. what? I paid to fish from the boat, I didn’t pay to fish for the boat.

  23. CockpitMonkey1138

    I am a very avid surfcaster. But during the summer I work as a mate on a six pack charter. The intent of most parties we get are to kill a limit of stripers, preferably of the largest possible. There’s a distinct lapse in logic here. They don’t really want to fish. On the contrary, getting most of them to fish is like pulling teeth. What they really want is fish to eat.

    But what they miss is that they can go to a fish market, and get four striper fillets for a lot less than it costs to book the boat. I tell my captain our business relies more heavily on the stupidity of your average person than it does on striped bass. And as any mate will tell you, 2 out of 3 fairs is a raging moron. Ex: I bleed a fish, customer: “Are you trying to puncture his lungs?” I kid you not.

    But here’s a trend we have noticed, and it’s a change for the better. Due to increased fuel costs and other expenses, we have had to charge more for a full day striper trip. As a result, the get-r-done-kill-em-all crowd has thinned significantly. They’ve been replaced with upper middle class families and professionals on vacation, who more often than not do not want to keep fish. At all. Regardless of size.

  24. Matt


    You fish to fish, the satisfaction of catching dinner yourself may be very fulfilling but you don’t fish too eat. Unless you live on the water walk to your spots and have a honey hole of fish It’s not cost effective to fish for food … between transportation, bait, and tackle its cheeper to buy striper in the grocery store. $70 boat fare can buy an awful lot of frozen chicken from Walmart or any other large outlet store. Between gas, tolls and food when it costs me about $70 just to get to Montauk to fish the surf and thats if i sleep in my car.

  25. CockpitMonkey1138

    Matt, you’re in the minority. We get hundreds of people. We have one crew with your mentality. It’s sad. I’m really not kidding when I say most want fish to eat. It really makes no sense.

  26. Charlie G.

    Sad but it does happen. The bigger shame Z is you can’t get surfcasters motivated to organize to do anything about it. I have found it hard to even get surf fisherman to get off their ass to even wright a letter to voice their disapproval of actions like you’ve written about. Just what I’ve experienced in the past. Let’s hope they change or the populations may revert to what they were in the past. Now that I got that rant out, I need to fish to relax.

  27. Rob

    Was on a blackfish boat a few weeks ago. Not many people caught any fish, let alone keepers. The young captain, who is obviously a good fisherman, caught at least 6 keepers while fishing the entire time. He takes a night trip too. All so he can sell fish. What about the people who are on his boat who pay to catch fish? Shouldn’t he and the mate be helping his customers catch fish? Then he wonders why the boat is frequently half-empty. Not to get off topic but just goes to show its unfortunately all about the money.

  28. bunufish

    My dad is an avid boat fisherman, and we argue often about fish that are not of size being kept. But yeah, to back up your story. He went on a bass charter out of brooklyn, ny. He called to tell me that he had the time of his life, never saw so many fish etc. So I asked him how many he caught and he said 4, so I asked him, How many did you bring home? and he replied, “2”. I felt relaxed until i asked him, what about the other 2, did the boat release them? He said, “No, the boat kept them”… PISSED ME OFF. So sad, that the boats, which should be enforcing and following the rules and should know better than their fares, are breaking the law. That being said, I took my annual 1 day boat trip with friends, and this other brooklyn boat was strict with keeping with regulations.

  29. Steve K.

    Excellent eye opener Zeno. There is a lot of work to be done in many areas and this is at the top of the list. Something needs to be done before it’s back to the 80’s. 🙁 Very difficult to fight greed as it is ‘usually’ too late before any action is ever taken. Thanks for doing your part in trying to wake people up!

    Now, hot to fix that broken system which consists of 90% greed…

  30. mark m

    Charter boats and party boats should be classified as commercial because of the large catch ratio they fall under in terms of pounds caught per boat. It just makes sense. The use of draggers should be redirected due to the destruction and large kill-off they create.

  31. mark m

    Sorry to post two times in a row, but I just thought of a day in Montauk this summer when commercial gill netter tossed 200-300 bass over the side. I was on a friends boat and heard a call on the radio about what was happening around the point by Ditch Plains. When we got there, bass were floating and gasping on the surface every where. We took photos in case someone needed them. Apparently a boat ran out of bass tags and was throwing fish over the side to avoid fines. This, I was told, was totally legal and following goverment guidelines.

  32. Tony Marchisotto

    I am days behind my email but I have to say, this is not wrong it’s criminal… maybe not by law but of right & wrong. Hunters & Fisherman are supposed to be the guardians of conservation. Not the rapists of the resources. Shame shame shame.

  33. GoFsh

    You are absolutely right…

    Date posted November 1, 2010 11:11 AM

    Posted by

    Report location New York > Fire Island > LL

    Fishing method Boat

    Striped bass slaughter! This mornings 7 am trip had 53 fisherman they kept there limit of 106 stripers! Next trip 1 pm!


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