The fishing survey is considered inaccurate
The powers that be at NOAA have determined that the survey they send to recreational anglers that is used to estimate fishing effort and success may not be accurate. This survey is then put into the mix that goes into the Marine Recreational Information Program, and it is this number that drives the regulations that we recreational fishermen have to live by.
To quote the press release, “We have listened to the concerns of our recreational fishing community, and have taken action to investigate their concerns further as part of our ongoing research process,” said Dr. Evan Howell, director of NOAA’s Fisheries Office of Science and Research. technology.
The fishing effort survey they sent to recreational anglers from Maine to Mississippi and Hawaii was compiled through an extensive research and peer-review process. The standard order of questions is to put the easy ones first, and the hardest ones last. This apparently did not work well for this pilot study.
When they changed the order of the questions, they had fewer errors and illogical answers. Estimates of the resulting effort were lower for inshore fishing and private boats than estimates resulting from the current design.
On a personal level, I worry about what constitutes an irrational response. Most of the people working on these projects are not fishermen. What might make perfect sense to us might seem crazy to a non-hunter.
The survey will be expanded in 2024. There will be monthly surveys with both the current survey and the revised survey so that comparison between the two can be made. It is hoped that with the shorter time frame, participants will have clearer memories and the data will be better.
This is just one piece of the MRIP puzzle. There is also a dock survey, and that too needs some work. It can only be done when the interviewers have permission to go. This means that all those mobile home parks and campgrounds on Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay never see a dock survey.
I have tried to suggest using an online survey that includes every saltwater angler who has a cell phone or computer. We will all fill out the questionnaire when we return from a fishing trip so that the data is up to date. The same people who set up the current survey could develop one for computers and cell phones, and every hunter with a FIN number would be required to use the survey. Those who refuse will not be issued a FIN number the following year.
I and many others have been complaining about MRIP for years, and it seems like our voices are finally being heard. It will take years for the changes, if any, to be made, and when they are, there is no guarantee they will be an improvement for recreational fishermen.
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, we should see fewer people on the water as schools, football games and other fall activities replace trips to fishing grounds. While the weather right after the holiday certainly wasn’t like fall, the air and water will cool sooner or later, bringing good fishing for fall-fed species like big blues, false albacore, and maybe a red drum or two.
Surf fishing comes into its own in the fall. The weather is milder, the insects are fewer, and the fishing should be better.
Lots of people preparing for big blues and drum music. I’m getting ready for the big kings, the slick and the whiny. I enjoy catching these fish as well as eating them.
I have two lightweight surf outfits that will fit big panfish. I use a simple top-down rig baited with Fishbites bloodworms. I don’t want to get in trouble with the local hardware stores, but I haven’t bought bloodworms in years. I use Fishbites or Gulp! Instead of most baits, except live minnows when fishing for flounder.
I can rig one rod with a float buckle and a 5 inch shot! The tornado tail is pink, green or nuclear chicken. Sometimes this rig will attract a large flounder. Another way to catch flounder in the fall surf is to throw a jig rigged with the same selection as the Gulp! Get past the last broken wave and bring it back through the wash. On the day we were fishing a live spot for trout, we were catching beautiful flounder as we brought a spot through the waves.
As a final thought, if you do catch some kings or a spot, try using a live king or spot head on your fish finder just in case there is a large red drum in the neighborhood.