Three major takeaways from yesterday’s ASMFC vote

I wanted to take a 24-hour grace period before I responded to yesterday’s disappointing session. It’s dicey trying to predict outcomes when nature is one of the variables, so I’ll just stick to what I know to be true.

  1. The ASMFC manages stripers as individual state playthings rather than a shared coastal resource. This is, after all, a migratory species. If you watched the live feed or heard some of the commissioners speak, you know that this group is infected by special interests. It’s discouraging to see that some states, like Maryland and New Jersey, believe their agenda is more important than that of other states — or the fishery as a whole — and maddening that other states don’t call them on it. States’ agendas rule rather than the good of the fishery. Unacceptable.
  2. When it comes to conservation, the ASMFC is incapable of forward thinking. John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things,” and the fact is that the ASMFC has an abysmal track record when it comes to managing fishing stocks. In their decades of existence, they have never rebuilt and successfully maintained a single stock. Of the 26 stocks they currently manage, 17 are overfished, depleted, or “condition unknown.” That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. What’s more, it points to incompetence. So yesterday’s choice of Sub-Option 2-A2, 1 fish 28-35″ slot, is compelling evidence that they are managing not for the future but for right now.  Want further proof? A moratorium was never even on the table. The closest choice to a hedged bet was the 1@35″ slot, similar to the most recent rebuilding tool of 1@36″, which was successfully implemented last time we did this. But the ASMFC would rather go to the casino and roll the dice than invest in a conservative, fundamentally sound plan with a proven track record of good returns.
  3. The vote of the active, conservation-minded majority doesn’t matter to the ASMFC. The ASMFC constructed a Potemkin’s Village of inclusion with public hearings in its member states, and continued the sham by inviting public email comments. While the response level was disappointing — about 1,000 people — the result was nothing short of a mandate: Sub-Option 2-A1, 1@35″. Incredibly, this vast majority directive was wantonly ignored. So, we get it, ASMFC. You really don’t give a shit what we think.

Search the parks in all the cities, you’ll find no statues of committees.

The fighting is rounds. This is round one.

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“The Little Things” from July/August 2015 American Angler

We’re going back a few years for this one! “The Little Things” is the first in a series of articles — and presentations — on seemingly insignificant things that can have a huge impact on your fly fishing success. This piece first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of American Angler. Noteworthy: not everything in this article is in my original “Little Things” presentation. To read it, there’s a link to a pdf below. Enjoy!

TheLittleThings

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ASMFC Votes tomorrow on Addendum VI — and how WE all voted, or: too much waste!

The ASMFC will decide on the Striped Bass Addendum VI options tomorrow, Wednesday October 30 beginning at 2:45pm. The meeting will be broadcast online. To register to listen in, click here.

Now, to our voices. The ASMFC received 5,500 public responses. 4,500 of those were form letters. Absolutely useless! What a waste. Could we not have taken 15 more minutes to compose an original thought to try to save our stripers? Nearly 900 people attended hearings in ASMFC states. (Thanks to all who came out!)

The most telling stat is that of nearly 1,000 individual comments, too many people did not take a specific stand on the primary or sub options. Very disappointing. Apathetic or positionless responses do us little good. But, I try to be optimistic: of the individual responses and public hearing comments, the vast majority — decisively — voted for Primary Option 2, equal % reductions. The vast majority — decisively — voted for 2A1, 1@35″. The vast majority — decisively — voted for 2B-1, 1@18″ Chesapeake.

So now it’s in the hands of the ASMFC. Will they take a leadership position? Or will it be business as usual? We’ll know tomorrow.

For those keeping score:

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Steve Culton is now (finally) on Instagram

My goodness, sometimes I move at a glacial pace. (Remember glaciers? We used to have them everywhere it was cold…) But never mind. You can now find me on Instagram at stevecultonflyfishing. This location will be more quick hit copy and visual reference than the detailed articles you find on currentseams. And on the flip side, more situational shots from fishing trips or events in near real time.

While I’m hoping to cultivate new audiences, I encourage all my loyal readers to follow me on Instagram. There will certainly be material there that doesn’t make it to currentseams. Thanks, and I’ll see you on the river or at an event soon.

Yeah. That’s me.

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“Wet Flies 101” in Bridgeport November 19

Someone recently asked, “When are you going to be presenting Wet Flies 101 again?” I have your answer: Tuesday, November 19, Nutmeg TU, 7pm, Port 5, Bridgeport, CT. If you’re interested in this highly effective and underutilized subsurface method, Wet Flies 101 provides an overview and gateway into this ancient and traditional art. Hope to see you there!  You can find the Nutmeg TU Facebook page here and their website here.

This nearly two foot-long wild brown is one of the best fish I’ve ever taken on a wet fly — and provides testimony to the devastating efficiency of the method.

Wet Flies 101

Farmington River Report: Not as low, still a bit slow

I guided Glenn and Magnus yesterday from 10:30-2:30. The river was uncharacteristically quiet within the Permanent TMA — we saw only three other anglers the entire day. It was cool and damp and cloudy, perfect for tiny BWOs, but the only bugs appearing in numbers were caddis. Water was 160cfs and leaves were a factor. We fished a combination of indicator nymphing/drop shot and streamers, and although we stuck several fish on both methods, it was not a good day for getting trout to the hoop. Nonetheless, a pleasure fishing with you, gentlemen. (For those fishing streamers, white was the hot color yesterday. I like white when there are colorful leaves in the water.)

Magnus working a run at the head of a pool. We had a brief flurry of activity here, sticking two fish in the space of 5 minutes.

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Glenn waiting for the strike…here it comes…

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Thank you FVTU and the question of the night

Whoops — a little glitch made all the words go away. Long story short: Thank you Farmington Valley TU for being so welcoming (as always) and for the delicious pre-gig dinner. (A fed presenter is a happy presenter.) We had the world premier of The Little Things 3.0 and I think it went well. I’m already looking forward to next time.

See you Tuesday, November 19, Nutmeg TU, 7pm, Port 5, Bridgeport, CT. Presentation subject TBD. You can find their Facebook page here.

The question of the night: When I’m wet fly fishing on a tight line drift and I feel the take, how do I set the hook (after pausing and asking the question, “Are you still there?”). I had to go to the video replay to answer this one. It’s a simple lift of the rod tip. A hard set isn’t necessary, mostly because the pause allows the fish to hook itself.

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