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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This week I had an opportunity to ride a gillnet boat and see what was going on. Large amounts of stripers are entering the bay on a daily basis this past week. It shouldnt be long until they make their way up to the flats up north. Judging by their excretions, these were not feeding fish. These were fish on their way to spawn. The day I worked the netboat, we gillnetted almost 5,000# of stripers (which is a very good day... the average day is around 450#). Herring have also shown up early, along with croakers and large numbers of grey trout. It won't be long guys, seems like spring might be showing up a little early this year.
Another note- we caught two sturgeon , both 30#ers, in the nets when I fished. Both were released alive and strong. One had a tag, which the tag will be turned in. The guys said they are catching them more and more regularly in the nets and its not uncommon to catch several a day. The sturgeons don't seem to get affected by the gillnets much and tend to just sit there alive until someone lets them out. A good sign that the efforts to re-establish a population here may be working a little.
This was the first time I had ever fished a gillnet boat and was incredibly suprised at just exactly how selective these nets can be. 99.5% of our catch was the taregeted species, with our only bycatch being the two sturgeon and four herring that amazingly were caught in an 8'' mesh. Judging by the size of the mesh, we could determine just exactly what size the stripers were going to be in each net and when we pulled up to them, the Capt. would say this net is going to be holding 28-34'' fish, this one will be holding 36-40'' fish, etc etc. These boats work off a quota and each boat is alotted an amount in pounds. Most boats have around 2,000# for a year but the boat I was on had purchased quota from some other boats and had about 25,000#. Once they catch their quota, they are done.
 

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my brother caught a couple small sturgeon a couple years ago off a pier in Newport News... it's really cool to see they are making a comeback

thanks for the post
 

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Did you happen to take the tag off the fish? Or rake the tag number down to send in?

Obsessed
 

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Obsessed, If Jake was on a boat that caught the poundage he cited they were more than likely using a reel net and there simply is not time in that operation to write down the number off a tag. I would imagine that it was cut off and shoved in a pocket for later unless they used Jake as a guy with open hands and observing to do the deed.

Jake, I was once again invited to join the sturgeon fishermen for a day or two this spring. Last year, the day I rode along we did not get any. I'm hoping for a 9-footer this year.

I'm glad you made the comment about how targeted these nets are. People still are not going to believe you but at least you gave testimony.

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Interesting report about your day with the gillnetters; especially about the healthy sturgeon. thanks for posting!
 

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GOD BLESS THE WORKING
WATERMAN,i know some were caught of buckroe beach.
You will have a hard time geting em to bite.
 

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Good report

Gillnets are selective and the most important thing is catches are regulated by either tag or weight. Commercial fisheries are very effectivly patroled and there are few violations of the regulations. You hear about it when it happens but in total it's not a high percentage.

Boats
 

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That Is A Pretty Good Ratio 2 Fish Verses 5000 Pounds Those Neters Wood Catch The Last; Last Fish In The Ocean If They Could. So You Just Keep On Kissing There Butt. You Big Dumby
 

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Now thats a real intelligent, mature comment from someone who I am sure is clueless about any type of commercial fishing.
I bet you like your seafood when you go to your favorite resturant though don't you now.:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We were in the lower bay. I'm not gonna say exactly where because he is still catching fish there and there arent any other nets there.
Our catch was regulated by both tag and weight. Each fish on the boat had to be have a tag in it. No tag and the fish house isnt allowed to weigh it.
I was actually suprised at how much care they actually took of the sturgeon. We did slow down the pull for a moment to take the tagged sturgeon's tag out and make sure the fish was pulled from the net unharmed.

Lee Piercy, you are an idiot.
 

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questions

Appreciate the report. I always find it interesting to hear what the nets are catching. I have a couple questions though. I am not trying to stir the pot, I am just curious.

1. What other fish species would you expect to catch with an 8" mesh in March? That is big enough that really the only fish you would catch would be stripers wouldn't it?

2. Are the croakers and large numbers of trout showing up in the smaller mesh sizes? If not, how do you know they are there? I assume smaller mesh sizes and summer temperatures make it much more difficult to target a single species.

Thanks for the information.

Added this -> what is with the time…. It is three hours early.
 

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Hey Jake, working a net boat one time is fun... doing it every day is WORK! Glad you got to go, and thanks for the report. Must have been cool to check out the Sturgeon.
 

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cuhollow - yes, it is harder to target specific species with a smaller mesh. My cousin runs some nets on the shore, and pulled them for a period of time last year due to the number of small reds he was getting in his spot nets. To target specific species in this scenerio, it's has more to do with location/tide than it does mesh size.
 

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Capt,

Appreciate the report and I know how hard it is to make a living on the water. One of my problems with gill nets is that when the weather is too bad for the boats to get out and pull their nets, the majority, if not all of those fish pulled from the nets are gutted and tossed overboard. NONE of those fish count towards their weight allowance.

I don't know how often this happens in a season, but I have personally seen this being done several times.

Someone was talking about croakers. If you have been out off the Ramada and saw draggers running the channels...they have been targeting croakers for more than a month. Good, bad or indifferent, last year we saw quite a few small stripers culled from their catches becoming seagull food.

I don't have any answers folks, just observations. This country and the world craves seafood, including me...I just prefer catching my own and hope for a happy medium between commercial and recreational harvesting by utilizing accurate scientific and ACTUAL catch/kill data.:helpsmilie:

Bill
 
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