On the coast and BT-11 incident
Capt. Joe Ward is working on the big trout, especially with the good early morning topwater bite, pups and flounder once the sun gets up.
Capt. Gary is doing a lot of the same, but he had a very interesting morning on Friday. While fishing an area OUTSIDE of the newly enforced restrcited area at BT-11/Piney Island, he was first buzzed by the PEDRO rescue helicopter which routinely makes sweeps of the range to insure that it is clear. Then the helicopter returned, failing to call or respond to calls on CH. 16 and then it began hovering right over his head, forcing prop wash down in the boat, scattering tackle and equipment and definitly freaking out his party, not too mention the big school of drum they were fishing on.
I don't blame the men and women of the helicopter crew, they are professionals and good at what they do. I've seen them pluck a bleeding to death fishermen out of a moving boat, under rough conditions and at night. It happened so fast that if you blinked, you would have missed it.
But the poor judgement of their superiors who have endorsed, if not mandated this dangerous activity is inexcusable. This method of intimidating anglers anywhere close to waters that they have traditionally fished for years is unacceptable. Since this incident, I have received two other reports that the same thing has happened to others who were NOT in the restricted area.
The poor decision to use this dangerous tactic is probably made by the same ones who believe that the military can get what they want by strong-arming locals, passing along missinformation and being poor neighbors. Shame on them for endorsing tactics like this. They have had no consideration for those who have fished, hunted and boated around BT-11 in Traditional Use Areas for years without incident, injury or interuption of military activities. Now that attempts are being made to expand the range, areas that have historically been available are being closed and this is the way they are attempting to close them.
Gary was completely legal and within his rights to fish those public trust waters. After contacting Cherry Point, they agreed that he was not at fault and was NOT within the restricted area, but they made no formal apology to him or for the intimmidation tactic that they are using.