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Guest Opinion

Capt. Pete Floyd was much more than a successful fisherman

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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OUTDOORS

It is with heavy heart that I report the passing of Capt. Pete Floyd. He died Dec. 26 at his home in the Florida Keys.

I first met Pete and his wife Donna when they ran the Skipjack from South Shore Marina in the 1970s. He moved his boat to Lewes during the weakfish run and we lost touch until the late 1990s when I moved to Milton and began hanging out at Lewes Harbour Marina. By this time Pete had established himself as one of the best charter boat captains not only in Delaware, but also in the Florida Keys.

Pete and his mate Chris Thurman would run back-to-back offshore overnight charters with one coming in during the early afternoon and the next one leaving as soon as the boat was filled with fuel and supplies. They would fish the canyons for everything from blue marlin to blueline tilefish and have success in all their pursuits.

Pete Floyd was much more than a successful fisherman. He had a sharp and curious mind that did not allow him to remain stuck in the same rut that holds back lesser men. He wanted to know more about everything, not just fishing. We had many conversations about marine science, and while neither of us were experts, we both found the subject fascinating. I shared information I found, and he would add what his experience had taught him or material he had on the same or related subjects.

I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to Pete's wife Donna and his entire family. While I and his legion of friends will miss his presence, it is always the family that carries the heaviest burden. Smooth sailing, Capt. Pete Floyd.

Changes for 2015

The biggest change for most recreational fishermen will be in regulations for striped bass. Beginning Thursday, Jan. 1, the bag limit for rockfish will drop to one per day while the size limit remains at 28 inches.

I do not expect these regulations to be in effect this spring. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved nine options that will satisfy the 25 percent reduction in striped bass mortality, and these will be available to Delaware anglers at a public hearing early in the year.

Another regulation that will be changed is the rockfish season we have enjoyed during the summer. The 20- to 26-inch size limit will have to be adjusted in order to meet the 25 percent reduction. I will have more on the public hearing and the available options as soon as they become available.

In a little good news, it looks like the seasons and bag limits for summer flounder and black sea bass will remain the same. This is my interpretation of the report from the last meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. There can be changes made, but since both populations are considered stable if not expanding, I really don't think much will happen.

While I am predicting the future, I might as well make a complete fool of myself and predict how fishing will be in 2015.I have been doing this for more than 40 years, and sooner or later I might even get something right.

I do think we will have another good flounder season with the best action returning to the ocean. As water temperatures continue to increase, flounder seek refuge in deep water where they find the environment more suited to their constitution.

Speaking of water temperature increases, it looks like triggerfish and sheepshead are here to stay. This is a good thing, as both species are tricky to catch and provide excellent table fare. Spadefish are also moving in, but not yet in the numbers we would like to see.

The warmer water seems to have moved black sea bass farther offshore. Just a few years ago, you could catch all you wanted at the Old Grounds, but now you must travel at least 20 miles east of there to have any chance of catching a keeper.

Those who have fished the Old Grounds for years will also notice the lack of flags flying above the water. These flags marked sea bass traps, and commercial fishermen are now following the fish farther east.

Finally, we will look at surf fishing. This is something I have done for a long time, and while we have had some very good fishing, it has fallen off in recent years. The weakfish have been gone for 20 years; the big blues don't come in anymore, and the rockfish stay away from the beach. We do have small blues and kings, but the larger species have moved off or gone away. I don't expect much improvement in 2015.

Happy New Year!

Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. Eric can be reached at Eburnle@aol.com.



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Original Publication Date: January 2, 2015



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