I think that you will see roughly the same kind of fishing that we saw in 2001. The commercials have 60% of the quota and they are allowed to keep anything over 14", not to mention that they target 14" - 16" fish. That combined with the fact that the larger fish tend to move to towards Eastern LI means that you'll probably see fish of about the same size as last year. Doesn't it feel good to know that your conservation efforts benefit the commercial sector?
Today's Newsday stated the public might actually have a say. As a predominantly bayfisherman, I am all for 16" with as low as a bag of 4, maybe 5. (Hey, take your wife along and keep 8 to 10, you greedy types Why should the draggers get all the 16"ers ? Ideally, a slot limit, but at the risk of being really offensive, I think it would be unwittingly violated quite often. Closed season? Mid to late May througn Sept is fine with me, the weaks, blues and stripers keep most of us occupied before and after. Anyway, anyone know how (or if) we get a vote?
Option 3 is better for anyone in the western sectors. The likelihood of seeing 17 inch keepers with any kind of consistency is a hoax. Most of the head boats from Captree west to Jersey complained about the amount of legal sized fluke they found at 17 inches. Jersey had a 16 inch limit and complained. We dont need 8 fish a person, or do we need to fluke until october.
IMHO, most partyboat goers and bayfisherman from Captree west would prefer just 3 16" keepers and a closed season than the bologna we put up with last year. I kept logs, and got something like 6 keepers out of 250 fluke in '01. Thank God for the weakfish! I pretty much stopped fluking in late July.
It would be easy for me to say option #1 is best
(8 fish 17" no closed season) because I fish the North Shore. Last year we had plenty of fish with plenty of keepers.
But it is true that the south shore suffered having to catch nothing but shorts all season.
I wonder if a season of say sometime in May till sometime in Sept with a bag limit of say 4 fish over 16" and maybe 6 fish over 17" outside of this season would be a good compromise for everyone.
Just a thought.
Maybe some kind of combination of slot sizes and seasons would be a more fair solution.
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