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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past week, I fished Raritan Bay 2 times and was treated to excellent spring striper fishing. I was reminded, however, to the rise and fall of our fisheries especially as I approach my birthday in 2 days, closer to 70 than to 60. It seemed like yesterday, albeit in the early 80's, that we were killing big weakfish en masse in Delaware Bay by Brandywine with a bucktail and purple worm, the bait of choice. By the mid 80's, these tiderunners were gone. Then, there was a nice comeback of stripers and big drum, as we successfully fished for both in DB coming back to the docks "all loaded up". We affectionately termed the combo, "strumming". The Delaware Bay rips, at times, were also "on fire". Now, it seems that the whole thing in Delaware Bay is, to be kind, hit and miss. Is this rather extraordinary bass fishery in Raritan doomed for the same fate as Delaware Bay? And, if so, shouldn't we be doing something to prevent that, learning from our experiences and preserving the fishery for future generations of anglers? I know the answer is not simple, indeed quite complex, but I believe that we should be part of the solution, not the problem. Just sayin'.
 

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Ron, we are blessed that we get out just about everyday and as a private boat we are 99% C&R. On a typical weekend it is not uncommon to catch 15-20 fish in just a few hours. And be back at the dock having had a great day. This is the first weekend that we fished and we commented on saturday that there had to be a 100 boats easy on the bay in the fog (that is another discussion) we released 8 fish and had nearly twice as many connections. So it is easy to say that if we fished the entire tide we would have had a full OUPVlimit of keepers if we wanted. We kept one fish that was 29" skinny and lively for an out of town guest to have for mother days. But just imagine how many fish are taken in one day if 50% of the boat out there did 50% as well as we did; and then assume that the happens at least 3 days a week. When you look at it like that it brings conservation into focus.

I am not a scientist so I am not qualified to comment on how healthy the stocks are; I can say that the day before we caught a 9" bass in the river in the cast nest if that means anything. Sure I am all for C&R; the question gets much more complicated when you are a OUPV charter that relies on your charter business as your only means to feed your family. Preach C&R until your blue in the face if your fares are within the law and they want to fill the cooler you are between the rock and the hard spot. Layer on top of this a commercial fishery, and a fish that migrates thousands of miles across many state lines and you have the perfect storm.

If you asked me I would go to a tag system. When you apply for your saltwater registry you get a set of tags (for free). Do what you want with the tags. Kill a 2" fish or a 50" fish. sell the tags, trade the tags, burn them in a political statement I don't really care. But once they are gone, you better not have a striped bass on the boat. And I am all for big fines just like they do with the HMS fishery. Impound the boat and $10k a fish sounds about right. And just for fun can we end this with *Thanks Obama*. Now we have all the bases covered.
 

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Ron, we are blessed that we get out just about everyday and as a private boat we are 99% C&R. On a typical weekend it is not uncommon to catch 15-20 fish in just a few hours. And be back at the dock having had a great day. This is the first weekend that we fished and we commented on saturday that there had to be a 100 boats easy on the bay in the fog (that is another discussion) we released 8 fish and had nearly twice as many connections. So it is easy to say that if we fished the entire tide we would have had a full OUPVlimit of keepers if we wanted. We kept one fish that was 29" skinny and lively for an out of town guest to have for mother days. But just imagine how many fish are taken in one day if 50% of the boat out there did 50% as well as we did; and then assume that the happens at least 3 days a week. When you look at it like that it brings conservation into focus.

I am not a scientist so I am not qualified to comment on how healthy the stocks are; I can say that the day before we caught a 9" bass in the river in the cast nest if that means anything. Sure I am all for C&R; the question gets much more complicated when you are a OUPV charter that relies on your charter business as your only means to feed your family. Preach C&R until your blue in the face if your fares are within the law and they want to fill the cooler you are between the rock and the hard spot. Layer on top of this a commercial fishery, and a fish that migrates thousands of miles across many state lines and you have the perfect storm.

If you asked me I would go to a tag system. When you apply for your saltwater registry you get a set of tags (for free). Do what you want with the tags. Kill a 2" fish or a 50" fish. sell the tags, trade the tags, burn them in a political statement I don't really care. But once they are gone, you better not have a striped bass on the boat. And I am all for big fines just like they do with the HMS fishery. Impound the boat and $10k a fish sounds about right. And just for fun can we end this with *Thanks Obama*. Now we have all the bases covered.
Well said, the tag system is a great idea. How much bass can one person really eat I mean some of the pictures & reports are just over the top.
 

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chomps the only problem with tags is it is to close to the government selling us our right to keep fish ...then have pew buy all the tags or have the entire pew organization fill out licence and up the quota ...to much problems ...the question to be asked is what happened to Delaware we all fish the same and keep the same ...does Delaware and Pennsylvania treat there storm runoff ??? question like this need to be asked and answered to find the cause
 

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I voluntarily release the largest bass I catch as do some others but we are a small minority. From what I see going on the overwhelming majority of fisherman are hoping to kill the biggest bass they possibly can. There is a youtube video of some Chesapeake guys with a 60# and a 58# (approximately) on a rope stringer and awaiting the knife. To me killing those rare and magnificent old cows just for a few meals is repulsive. Just consider the potential if such fish were released, Some other fisherman could have the thrill of a lifetime, they could grow bigger, they may lay a million eggs, etc. It takes a lot to offend me but to me acts like that are reminiscent of when loggers would cut giant sequoias for profit.

To me these bass generate 10x more in revenue as an premier inshore game fish than they do as a food product but the commercial sale continues. The recovery of the striped bass has been deemed a success but to me it gives very little attention or protection to produce mature, quality bass of 40#, 50#,60# and yes even 70#. The recovery has been good but with vision and courage it could be spectacular. I would love to see some kind of a slot size limit that would require at least some of these bigger fish to be released. To the charter guys who fear some mandatory releases would hurt their bushiness I say just buy a camera and mail the pictures to the angler and he will be just as happy and just as likely to rebook.

I will continue to voluntarily release the biggest fish I catch but I know it is mostly a symbolic act. Mandatory rules and regs are the only way to make a significant impact on the population. I am not active in bass politics but perhaps if we continue to support and encourage smaller harvests and daily limits some one will notice.

SO FOR THE RECORD.....I WOULD FULLY SUPPORT 1 FISH PER DAY AND SLOT LIMITS TO PROTECT SOME COWS
 

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I am all for catch and release,unless the fish is gut hooked with no chance of survival then its a shame not to eat it. If the striper stocks fall to where they were in the 80,s half the charter boats will go out of business. I was talking with a montauk charter captain last year and he said just that... He told me that the offshore charters were off 75 percent due to what he would have to charge just to cover fuel/expenses. Most of the montauk fleet are making a living on stripred bass charters. With that said preaching catch and release to customers is probably not a bad idea.
 

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I would think Raritan is so much better than Delaware Bay because the Hudson River is so much larger and deeper than the Delaware River. Im no science guy but I would bet that the Hudson spawns 10x as many fish as the Delaware. Just my thought....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As I said, the problem is complex. I suspect that there is a host of factors, some of which are natural and some, man-made. Pollutants trickling down from the rivers emanating from the nitrates (or whatever it is) used in fertilizers, for example, can't be a good thing and on and on. For those of you so inclined to be more informed, I would recommend John Rusell's (sp?) book, "The Striper Wars". It is a fascinating piece on the historical, biological, environmental and legal "battles" of the striped bass. There is a very interesting, compelling part detailing the legal fight that successfully stopped the building of a highway adjacent to the Hudson River which arguably would have had a serious impact on the viability of that bass population. In my view, required reading for the striped bass aficionado. Enjoy, or perhaps, lament. Just sayin'
 
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