Shortfin Mako Fishing Closure

One of the ocean’s fastest predator, the shortfin mako is prized by recreational anglers for their game. Sometimes skittish, but always fast, powerful and aerobatic these large highly migratory sharks are challenging to hook, fight and land. For many years big game anglers would target makos fishing the mid-shore and offshore waters in the spring, summer and fall; however those days are now over.

Mako Fishing Is Now Closed

We are all looking forward to the 2022 season; however, big game anglers will not have is mako fishing season. The mako population is and has been in decline. To reduce fishing pressure and support the rebuilding process… There is a Two Year Moratorium on the harvest of N. Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks.

This news will not surprise most shark anglers. The mako fishery has been down from some time. Let’s dive into some shortfin mako facts to learn how we get here and where we are going.

Fast – Powerful – Aerobatic

Mako sharks are well known for getting aerobatic after hookup. Here’s a big mako cartwheel captured by Tom Lynch. Photo: Tom Lynch, Angry Fish Gallery

Stark Facts On The Shortfin Mako

Did you know? The majority of makos sharks caught are juveniles, ages 3-10. A fishery which captures before maturity is set up for failure.

Did you know? If mako shark fishing was closed / stopped immediately it would take about 50 years for the population to recover.

Shortfin Mako Biology

Mako sharks are very slow growing and can live up to 35 years old. They have late age maturity and low fecundity. Their growth, size and age at sexual maturity are very different between males and females. Male mako sharks reach 50% maturity at about 8 years which is approximately 71″ weighing 140#. Female mako sharks reach 50% maturity at about 21 years which is approximately 110″ weighing 600#. Then they only produce 12 pups on average every two to three years.

Photo: Marty Chums

The Mako Stock Status & Management Measures

The 2012 International Commission or the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) Shortfin Mako Shark Stock Assessment overestimated stock size and underestimated fishing mortality which lead to and allowed steep stock declines from 2010 to 2017.

In 2017, the updated assessment showed the stock was overfished with over fishing occurring. This was the time for strict management measures. ICCAT recommendations were to promote live release of makos caught across all fisheries and established minimum sizes of 71” for males and 83” for females,

In 2018, there was emergency action; increased recreational minimum size from 54” to 83”, mandatory release of all live specimens in commercial longline fishery, Retention only of dead animals

In 2019, Amendment 11 to the Atlantic HMS Fisheries Management Plan introduced new measures; recreational anglers must have HMS permit with the shark endorsement, mandatory circle hook use and sex-specific minimum size limits (71” for males, 83” for females)

The 2019 update was the same, overfished with overfishing occurring. Here’s some stark facts pulled from the ICCAT 2019 Shortfin Mako Shark Stock Assessment Update Meeting… which are based on future productivity assumptions for the stock.

  • The mako shark stock is in bad shape and it will continue to decline until 2035 even with no fishing (closed season)!
  • A ZERO total allowable catch will allow the stock to be rebuilt by 2045 with a 53% probability.
  • A 300 ton catch or less ends overfishing and achieves 60% probability of recover by 2070.
  • A 500 ton catch results in a 52% probability of rebuilding the stock by 2070.

Who & How Are Makos Managed?

The International Commission or the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) was established in 1972 and has 53 member nations with three delegates from each assisted by experts and advisors. On an international level ICCAT is responsible for the study of the populations of tuna and tuna-like fishes as well as other species exploited in tuna fishing in the Convention area. The Convention area is shown below in blue. ICCAT regulates fisheries with recommendations which are binding.

ICCAT conducts research and stock assessments on bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, bigeye, skipjack, swordfish, blue marlin, white marlin, and pelagic sharks (blue shark, shortfin mako, probeagle). They set international quotas and monitor international landing and fishery statistics.

NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management Division has jurisdiction in the US federal waters in US Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Their responsibilities are to set domestic regional quotas (some based on ICCAT), monitor landings and to report statistics to ICCAT.

  • Develop and implement fishery management plans in cooperation with the HMS advisory panel
  • Implement domestic requirements of ICCAT and support international negotiations for ICCAT, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
  • Issue permits for commercial and recreational HMS fishing and scientific research.
  • Monitor commercial and recreational catches to ensure compliance with domestic and international quotas and/or catch limits.

Here’s a short write up from The Fisherman on the mako closure…

Data Source Credits: Dr. Jeff Kneebone, Research Scientist
sapientia.ualg.pt/bitstream/10400.1/14858/1/83_Natanson_etal_2020_Shortfin-mako_reproduction_FishBull118.pdf

Philadelphia Fishing Show and Hi Flier TV Episode

Hey Everybody,
I wanted to let you all know about my upcoming event: the Philadelphia Fishing Show, Feb 18-20 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. phillyfishingshow.com

This is a pure fishing show. Charter boats, party boats, guides, and lodges from all over the world. Great deals on tackle. Exhibits include lure builders, apparel, art, boats, and so much more. Our attractions include: the Hawg Trough, a 5,000 gallon freshwater gamefish aquarium, a fully stocked trout pound where you can actually catch a fish at the show, a Fly Casting Pond where you can either learn or practice with a seasoned guide, and the Great White Shark Challenge that features a 3,000 lb replica Great White. You can get strapped in to a harness while an angler in a fighting chair tries to reel you in! 

There are three seminar rooms hosted by The Fisherman Magazine with the best guides and captains in fresh and saltwater sharing what they know about the sport they love. These seminars are continuous throughout the show and are FREE with your admission. FREE parking, as well. Food and refreshments are available. Hope to see you there!

This week the Hi Flier was featured in an episode of Saltwater Underground with Nick Honachefsky. The show combines two different trips in September where we targeted bluefish at the Barnegat Inlet jetty and live grass shrimping for weakfish and the ultralite mixed bag in Barnegat Bay. It was so much fun to fish with Nick, my son Nick, and Austin Perilli. Nick Honachefsky does a great job with this show that shares some tactics and is fun to watch whether you are a fisherman or not. Look for his show on the Sportsman Channel. Our episode aired this past Sunday, and will air again Fri Jan 21 at 10:30 AM and Sun at 4:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Set your DVR! Channel 605 on Direct TV and Channel 736 on Comcast.

Look forward to seeing everyone on board in 2022!

Thank you,

Dave

Dave DeGennaro

Hi Flier Sportfishing

732.330.5674 cell

phillyfishingshow.com

Is Poaching At An All Time High?

After attending the NJ Marine Fisheries Council Meeting on Thursday January 6th 2022, it’s safe to say that poaching is a serious problem. This fall it was at an all time high in New Jersey waters. Thankfully we have a great group of conservation officers doing their best to control it. It’s just a shame how they are somewhat crippled by the courts. Judges are not looking seriously at fisheries violations due to other priorities and overcrowding issue.

NJ Striped Bass Poachers Busted

Conservation Officer (CO) Snellbaker’s presentation started, “It’s the worst it has ever been. The spring was very bad. April 8 to 11th we wrote 67 summonses for over $15,000 in fines. But this fall was unprecedented. In a small area on the western shores of the Raritan Bay we wrote up 500 bass with 200 tickets. All in one week.” He mentioned that some were only written once but could have had numerous violations. Also due to the lack of CO staffing, the numbers aren’t showing the full picture. They could have issued a lot more fines.

Striped Bass Black Market

There’s a large (how large is yet to be determined) issue with anglers exploiting striped bass and potentially selling them on the black market. “There’s anglers, there’s runners and there’s transporters. It’s an organized ring, ” said Snellbaker.

Striped Bass Are Game Fish In NJ

Striped bass are classified as a gamefish in New Jersey; therefor, no commercial sale of any kind is allowed. With prices of fish sky high right now it’s a lucrative opportunity. More than likely the fish are sold under other names (grouper/snapper) at inner city markets where anything is possible. In 2013 Oceana (an ocean conservation group) found that 1/3rd of the seafood sold at retail did not match its label.

These short striped bass are the essential juveniles that are the key to the striped bass stock. All of them would soon to be first year spawners.

NJ Tautog Poachers Too

Snellbaker also mention another issue, the poaching of tautog. “This fall CO’s issues 200 tickets in two months with some violations having 20+ fish or more. From September 1 to December 1st CO’s issued more the 95 summonses in Barnegat Light alone for undersized, over daily bag limit (some 1 over, some several dozen over), mutilation of fish to prevent identification and interference with an office among others.”

While most anglers might have seen or heard about poachers, who knew it was this bad? The NJ Marine Council board was not aware of it. But they are now and from their comments will come up with a plan to take action.

Some ideas that were where mentioned…

  • Issue a state saltwater license (it’s coming one day)
  • Increase fine
  • Confiscated Gear & Vehicles
  • Close a hot bed area or close part of the season

We’ll have to see how it all plays out. Unfortunately good guys will be hurt in the end.

Big Thanks!

A big thanks to all of those conservation minded anglers for following the rules. And a huge thanks to all of NJ’s Conservation Officers for putting in the hard work. This year I feel like the enforcement stepped up from previous years. I saw CO’s on the water and at land based spots in the spring summer and fall. A presence that I have not seen in previous years. It’s very good to see and I hope their presence continues in 2022 to keep everyone honest.

Remember: If you see something say something!

Call: 877-WARN-DEP Hotline [18779276337]

Happy New Year LBI Fishing Report

What an awesome year it was! We had great fishing with some surprising and controversial catches. Check out the photo below for our Top 9 2021 Posts on Instagram. Thank you to all of our customers for a great year! Since 1962 it has been and continues to be our pleasure and passion to help anglers catch more fish and help anglers enjoy fishing to its fullest. Happy New Year! Tight lines in 2022!

Without question Jake Kline's Barnegat Light tarpon catch and kill was one of the most hot topics of summer 2021. The grounding of the Bear was also a very popular one. It didn't get any less weird in early December when a surf angler on the LBI beach got a bluefin tuna.
Without question Jake Kline’s Barnegat Light tarpon catch and kill was one of the most hot topics of summer 2021. The grounding of the Bear was also a very popular one. It didn’t get any less weird in early December when a surf angler on the LBI beach got a bluefin tuna.

Here’s the first Long Beach Island Fishing Report of the year!

Long Beach Island Fishing Info

Anglers are still enjoying fun striped bass fishing here on and around LBI. That’s right… the broken record repeats. With flip flopping colder and mild temps ahead things might change. But right now the fishing is and has been surprisingly good for this point in the year.

LBI Surf Fishing Report

The Long Beach Island surf fishing is not epic but anglers are catching on both lures and bait (clam & bunker).

Joe Handley Jr fished on New Years Eve and reported great fishing on the south end of LBI fishing. “There’s still lots of fish pushing down!” He reported, “I was thinking of hangin it up till spring but not after what I saw today. Don’t quit yet! I had good striped bass fishing from Spray Beach down into Holgate. Not a major blitz but I followed the birds and caught fish along the was as they pushed in and out. Got 6-7 bass from 16-37′. The fish wanted metals and larger bucktails worked slow. They ignored paddle tails, poppers, Redfins and SP minnows.”

Lee Saxton reported fishing NYE too but his trip was slow with three spiny dog fish and one 25.5″ bass at about 10am. His father in law caught one bass 23″ at about 1pm and then another one about 22″ an hour later.

Reports From The Boats

Boat anglers fishing out of the local inlets (Barnegat & Little Egg) are targeting and catching striped bass and tog. Few but very strong striped bass reports spoke of great striped bass activity feeding under bird plays over herring. It doesn’t get any better than that for this time of year!

Jake Kline was out in the fog and got into them really good. Other reports came in too.

Jon Coen (above) had a blast chasing striped bass on his skiff on December 30th. He reported, "50º, no wind, all along and they bit on everything we threw!"

Jon Coen (above) had a blast chasing striped bass on his skiff on December 30th. He reported, “50º, no wind, all along and they bit on everything we threw!”

Trever Jones and son recently got into some good late season striped bass fishing out of Barnegat Inlet.
Here’s a recent catch from Trever Jones and son.

On The Tog Scene: Fishing seems to be what what inconsistent right now. There’s some anglers reporting good fishing one day and then slow the next but that’s fishing! There are some nice ones being caught. Right now is a great parts of the season to get after them fishing white and green crabs. 

Here's Dave Moores with one of many quality tog he caught, tagged and released in 2021.
Here’s Dave Moores with one of many quality tog he caught, tagged and released in 2021.

Just a reminder now that it is January…

Striped Bass fishing in the bay and rivers is closed. Fishing for striped bass from the ocean shores 0-3 nautical miles is open year round.

Also Black Sea Bass fishing is closed! Expect the season to open back up in mid May.

Jason Sari got out this week before the NJ Black Sea Bass season closed and got into some quality fishing. Here's one of many big ones he caught fishing Lake Atlantic conditions.
Jason Sari got out this week before the NJ Black Sea Bass season closed and got into some quality fishing. Here’s one of many big ones he caught fishing Lake Atlantic conditions.