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Outdoors Report: Flounder rules: Feds OK 4; state to pick 1
By LEE TOLLIVER, The Virginian-Pilot
© January 28, 2007

Federal fisheries managers have approved Virginia's proposed flounder regulations.

Earlier this month, a group of anglers and charter captains selected several options for tighter, federally mandated flounder regulations. The choices had to be approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission before adoption by the state.

With one minor exception, the four options were given the green light. They are:

A 19 -inch minimum and six -fish bag limit, and no closed seasons.

18-1/2 -inch minimum, five fish, and seasonal closures from Jan. 1 through March 31 and from July 23-28.

18-1/2 -inch minimum, three fish, and no closed seasons.

18 -inch minimum, two fish, and seasonal closures from Jan. 1 through March 31 and from July 16-31.

Option 3 originally had a closure on July 25 or 26.

"The technical committee decided that a one-day closure would be more confusing than anything else," and that the benefits would be so small that "we didn't need to bother with it," said Rob O'Reilly, deputy fisheries manager at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

On Tuesday, the VMRC will meet to approve the options. On Feb. 27, the board will hold a public hearing. After hearing public comments, the board will then select an option, which will take effect March 1.

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Proud husband: Tony Na-hitchevansky has gotten his wife off the horse and into the fighting chair.

Carson Nahitchevansky grew up riding horses in Bedford County. She was pretty good, too, once taking second in the World Congress in the Hunter Under Saddle division. Her family spent considerable time on horses, chasing foxes.

Now she's chasing fish.

"She's worked very hard to become a good angler because of the competitiveness in her," Tony said. "She's hooked now."

Carson recently caught her second award-winning fish when she boated a 44 -pound, 3 -ounce striped bass.

Her first citation was for a 7-8 flounder.

Classic bust: Ivan Morris of Virginia Beach was so close to earning a spot in the Bassmaster Classic that he could taste it. Then disaster struck.

"I blew it," Morris said.

Heading into the final day of competition in the BASS Federation Nation Championship on Alabama's Neely Henry Lake, Morris was leading his divisional opponents. He needed only to defeat those in his division to earn 1 of 6 Federation Nation berths to the Classic. But he caught only one fish and fell to fourth.

Morris said it must have been the curse of the camera. On the final day of fishing, ESPN cameramen ride with the six division leaders.

"How do you have double-digit totals every day and only one fish on the final day?" said Morris, 52. "I fished my guts out all day and nothing."

Morris said that late in the day he managed to hook a large fish that took him into deeper water and wrapped his light line around structure before breaking off.

"He was a real mule, bigger than the 5 -pounder that won me big fish of the day on the second day," Morris said. "As it turns out, that fish probably would have kept me in first place and I'd be in the Classic next month.

"I've never had a cameraman in my boat, and it was one heck of a good time. He was just great. It was an incredible experience."

Bass show: Virginia's biggest bass-fishing show ends today in Richmond.

Bassarama is held at the Richmond Raceway Complex and features an array of vendors and speakers.

Bassarama is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Tickets are $5.

For more information, see this Web site: www.bassarama.com

Boats aplenty: The 54 th annual Mid-Atlantic Sports and Boat Show opens a nine -day run Saturday at the new Virginia Beach Convention Center.

With the recent completion of the center, the event is being billed as the largest in the show's history. It will feature more than 30 dealers and 100 vendors in 150,000 square feet of floor space.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 10; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 11; and 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 5-9. Tickets are $8 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 6-12; children 5 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

For more information, call 222-3900 or see this Web site: www.vaboatshow.com

Public meeting: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public-comment meeting on opening Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge beaches to night surf fishing.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Princess Anne Recreation Center, 1400 Nimmo Parkway, in Virginia Beach. The refuge could be opened to anglers during spring and fall red drum runs.

Fishing from refuge beaches already is permitted during the day. For more information on the meeting, call 721-2412.

AWARDS

The Virginia Coastal Fly Anglers handed out these awards at Saturday's annual banquet at the Hampton Yacht Club,

Angler of the Year - Kendall Osborne of Norfolk.

Release Angler of the Year - Daniel Smith of Norfolk.

President's Award - Greg and Pat Hartline of Portsmouth.
 

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flounder regs

I like option 1 the best. Option 3 is my second choice. I rarely keep fish under 19 inches. I release a majority of the fish I catch. It would be nice to be able to catch enough to put some fish in the the freezer.
 

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I have no problem with 19/6 as long as the commerical catch has to abide by the same SIZE REGS that we do, not fair that they get to keep much smaller fish. If they truly cared about the fishery they would not have any problems with this. We as recreational anglers put much more money into the states pocket but we get the small end of the stick with the limits.
 

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Interesting...when this first came about,there was a greater response for #2.I e-mailed option 1 when this started.I was not in favor of a summer closure.Everyone needs to e-mail or show up to voice an opinion.#3 has a shot as well,maybe add another fish or two to the limit.
 

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I should clarify some things. .

1. The commercial size limits are not being considered at this time no matter what anyone wants or requests as part of their comments. That would have to be a seperate public hearing. By all means you are welcome to provide your input to the Commission regarding this matter.

2. The commercial quota is going to be reduced by 40% in accordance to the ASMFC mandated changes.

3. Most likely (>95% in my opinion) the only changes that will be considered are the four that were posted.


With that in mind please be polite with your emails.

Tom
 

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How does this factor in:

January 19, 2007: NMFS has revised the 2007 commercial quota for Summer Flounder fishery; Virginia's new quota will increase to 2,138,818 pounds. <More>

http://www.mrc.state.va.us/Notices/pn_flounder_01-19-07.shtm

Here's the interesting part:

New Regs:
First Quarter (64.3%) 1,166,285
Second Quarter (6.4%) 116,084
Third Quarter no directed fishery
Fourth Quarter (29.3%) 531,449

Old Regs:
First Quarter (64.3%) 842,791
Second Quarter (6.4%) 83,886
Third Quarter no directed fishery
Fourth Quarter (29.3%) 384,040

and best yet:
The cumulative possession limit for the First Quarter Directed Fishery is 12,500 pounds in each ten-day landing period, beginning January 22 through January 31. When it is projected and announced that 85% of the First Quarter quota (716,372 pounds) has been taken, it shall be unlawful for any person harvesting Summer Flounder outside of Virginia's waters to possess aboard any vessel in Virginia any amount of Summer Flounder in excess of 10% by weight of all other landed species on board the vessel. Only vessels holding a valid Virginia Summer Flounder Endorsement License may possess Summer Flounder.

Therefore, regardless of any future cuts made in the coming months, the commercial pressure will not decrease by much until the next year. Also, if they cut the commercial flounder take by a percentage, they may just cut back to 2006's actual values.

It really looks like the recreational fisherman will only be feeling the pinch in CY 2007.
 
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