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Recreational vs Commercial Fishing Limits

2973 Views 31 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  BeachLife
Theres so much wrong with the current situation involving recreational vs commercial fishing regulations that I dont even now where to begin.

Lets start with North Carolina but keep in mind that this situation is the same in every state, with some being worse than others.

Ive read several articles in the past regarding how much money a typical fishermen spends on a normal fishing trip, with the majority of that going to the local economies. It varies tremendously depending on the situation but collectively its substantial.

Apparently NC recreational fishermen are restricted to a 1 month flounder season, with a limit of 1 per day. While commercial fishermen are limited to 100lbs per trip. Even more disturbing they can have even more flounder on their boat than the legal limits "if they were caught" in a neighboring states waters.

Ive been told that one can buy frozen flounder fillets at Walmart now for $5.00 per lb. Ive also seen flounder served at some all you can eat $29.99 buffets. So theyve taken the average Americans access away to our own resources and allotted them to the commercial fishing companies, most of which are probably foreign owned at that.

So our resources are sold off for a fraction of what they'd be worth locally both from direct sales & incidental benefits to local American towns and communities. Every commercial fishing operation takes money directly from the mouths of local gas stations, hotels, marinas, convenience stores, restaurants, and others who used to benefit from recreational fishing.

I might be kind of jumping around here, but just wanted to mention pound nets before I forget. These are like mazes made from nets. Theyre installed at the mouths of bays, and rivers in the primest of positions to intercept a large percentage of everything that swims in and out of these areas. You can even find online pound net maps for each state to see where these nets are currently located for yourselves. Up until this past year I don't think commercial flounder fishermen even had a trip limit, it was a free for all, first come first serve, with 70% of the entire state allotment given to the commercial fishermen (its still 70/30% as of the date of this post, 10-08-22). So although the recreational season is over, and the commercial mobile device season is over, commercial pound nets are still being used right now to haul in as much as 1000 lbs a day in just one management sector alone. And during the exact time that big egg laden, egg laying females are amassing and easily targeted in large numbers by commercial nets.....so much for "reducing limits to restore a sustainable population".
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If you knew anything about Pound Nets you would realize that if there is a trip limit for the Pound Net Operator, then he will only remove enough Flounder from his net that the trip is allowed and let the rest of the Flounder in the net take a break until the next time the fisherman comes out to harvest.

Last time I was around Hatteras Commercial Fishermen, they were the ones buying gas and diesel from the local operators, the Marina and gas station owners likely as not were both their neighbors as well as their relatives.

Situation is not the same in every State. The only Flounder in Ohio are on the $29.99 all-you-can-eat-buffet.
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I only know a few commercial fishermen, most of the ones that I fished with are now in their graves. I do remember them though and I enjoy my memories of them. These dead Natives of Hatteras and their kin are ingrained in my History of the Island. So its tough for me to take offense at what the Hatteras People do for a living.

A trip is a recreational fisherman who comes to Hatteras expecting to catch a lot fish when he scheduled his fishing trip months in advance without having a crystal ball for weather. The trip does not practice to be the best he can be, the trip depends on others to guide him to the hot spot and if he does not put the work on the fish, complains that the fishing is ruined by some other group other than himself and his fishing buddies.

I think the figure was around 2 million visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore each year for the past couple years. Some of these people probably brought a rod or two with them. Even if they did not they came down and enjoyed themselves on land that was given to the Federal Government by the Families that operate the Pound nets you seem to be keying in on.

Perhaps some of those 2 million annual visitors caught the fish you are worried about?

There is almost 60 some miles of Hatteras Island that never gets fished by Recs because they are too lazy to hump it a mile or two from Route 12 to the Pamlico...so they pull right up in a parking at Canadian Hole and then they complain about the Canadians who do not pay taxes who come down every year and steal the wind.
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Commercial fishermen in NC only have the quotas imposed on them recently, before then and especially when I was wearing White Boots and riding out each morning at Dawn to our sets, we killed whatever hit the net. No doubt even though I have not killed a Flounder in 20 years, I have killed more than my share in Life as well as the shares of everyone on this board was shipped out to Fulton Market and came back in the form of a check made out to my Captain from Tillman's Fish Company in Avon. So I personally give the Flounders a break these days and only fish for Drum and go offshore once in a while. I was not involved in Pound nets back then we used Flounder nets which killed a lot of Sting Rays and unfortunately a lot of Turtles.

Pound net is a little more selective, you do not have to kill everything that swims, you can release the Turtles.

This Pound net fishery on Hatteras and Ocracoke is a essentially one or two guys in a 20' Privateer getting a couple hundred pounds here and there, not this industrial slaughter you are crying about. You need to rail against the Draggers that set up all winter long in the Hook.

Likely the chief reason the people of Hatteras gave up the National Seashore Lands was they were too poor to pay the property taxes, this was during the Depression, before the Bridge. Most of them are still kinda poor, only a few figured out to lay waste to the Tourist Dollars.

Take a drywall bucket, a cast net and one rod and some Deet and wear long pants, if you insist on carrying 30 pounds of gear then you are an idiot, its a long walk to the Secret Spot.
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Why do you need to tote a backpack full of pyramid sinkers to walk out to the Sound to fish with? What are you planning on catching with a bottom rig in the shallow waters of the sound? Are you targeting Blue Crabs? Stingrays? You planning on backlashing a lot?
Where I am referencing is the Pamlico Sound and because you have to walk to it in most spots, no one really pressures the fish much.

More folks like to ride up to a bait shop, pick out some bait and ice it down and then head to Ramp 44 and then fish right in front of their Truck in a campsite type environment, setting up a perimeter boundary with a mass of sand spikes.

When I was 10 years old a man I call the Flounder Man would walk the beach in front of our house in Kitty Hawk. He was old perhaps in his sixties, same age as me now. But his legs and face were tanned and taunt from walking the beach bare footed every morning.

The fisherman used a light spinning rod using an egg sinker and a Carolina rigged three inch strip of Flounder belly and he carried a burlap sack looped around his belt.

Whichever way the current was running he would walk with the current and just let that Flounder belly cut in the shape of a baitfish flit about and most of the Flounders that took his bait were right at his feet in the first drop.

I never saw the Flounder man without a Flounder stashed in that wet brown burlap sack which kept the fish cool enough before the Sun came up enough to shut down the morning bite.

Usually he only kept just one fish a day, just enough for Lunch and fresh Belly for the next mornings fishing and the walk that kept him young.
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Surf fishing is the first hour of sunlight and the last hour of sunlight in my humble experience with the exception of larger critters that like to come in during the night time at all hours.

I see a lot of folks that roll up to their spot after 8:30AM and then do not catch anything until 5:00 PM and then leave the beach because they are tired and hungry. During Drum season you pass all these folks headed off the beach, when you are just rolling out for the nights fishing.

Even back in the 1960's the morning bite in the surf of Spot, Flounder, Trout and Blues was over at 9:00 AM. The best bite was usually when the sun had just come over the horizon but the beach was still in shadows. I got up early and walked out with my galvanized bucket at Dawn, at the age of 10. When it got to be breakfast time and the rest of my Family had gotten moving, the bite was over and it was time for me to bring in my catch. (My Dad though not a fisherman, usually cleaned my fish. He knew a 10 year old Child and a sharp knife was not a good pairing.

Later in my Fishing career, same on the piers, even back in the day, you had to get up and set up pre dawn so you could fill your bucket with Bluefish or Spot before the bite shut down around 8:00AM.

Especially when the water is clear fish know if they are in the shallows they can get picked off by the birds when the sun gets high overhead.

I guess Pompano is a little different, but on the Northern OBX where I started, Pompano were few and far between for me, likely because I did not use sand fleas. There were millions of Coquina though, and the Coquina are no more, victims I believe of a never ending supply of effluents from septic fields draining straight into the Atlantic.
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If you have seen three Dawns and Three Sunsets and no fish.................its time to hit Pop's with a designated driver, or perhaps the ABC Store with your car keys in someone else's pocket.

If I were in your shoes or waders I would bring my boat down and talk to Lee and the Midgett's about parking your boat across from Lee's Place on dry land. Then when you are down you launch at Pre Dawn before the Charter fellas who park their boats right behind Lee's Shop go out. Or a slip likely is only three hundred+ or so for a trailer size boat a month. Three hundred might be the gas/diesel bill for dragging that boat back and forth a few times. In the fall a boat on land across RT 12 is easier on the mind than one in the water that needs to get pulled out.

At Lee's Place You lurk just to the North of the channel out of Lee's Place and then follow the Charter Men who depend on putting their clients on a few Trout and Drum. Stay a good ways back so the Captains do not think you are tailing them and then discretely fish where they fish. There are only a few inshore Charter Men at Lee's Place so they are easy to recognize and likely will not notice your tail if you are a half mile or more behind them.

For the past twenty years or so I have been only Drum fishermen. My days when I am down on the OBX are taken up cast netting or going to a few Secret Spots for Secret Bait. Cast netting can be just as full filling as rod and reel, especially when your net opens up over a big school of Mullet and before the net even hits the water you know you are on them. I just fish during Spring and Fall Drum season, so I do not have the pain that a lot of folks have for the decimated inshore fishing for other species besides Big Drum.

Anyway everyone is entitled to blame whatever group for the poor fishing. Commercials blame the recs sometimes to for restrictions and for their way of life going into the sunset.

I just spent an hour shelling and de veining a pile of fresh frozen at the packing house shrimp and My Mom and I will enjoy them this evening, steamed with Old Bay.
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It has been decades since I have seen the OBX High Tide line littered with Razor Clam shells......I guess they all bit the dust, same as the Coquina.

Time for the Shrimp to start their boil...
I depend on the Secret Drum Hotline at times to get the right Secret Spots. Before cell phones, I just went out the end of the T.

I now follow Savfish and Nick all the time no that I had those GPS transmitters installed under their Trucks. Can do it from my office desk. Heck I even installed one on a certain Oregon Inlet Charter Boat so I can check on where they are going, but mostly they just go out the Point.

What I cannot figure out why Savfish keeps pinging me back from down in Florida, the transmitter must be acting up.

The argument that I make a living putting my crew on fish, pertains to commercials also.
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