Striped Bass Regulations for 2015
Wheather you feel new Striped Bass regulations are the answer or not...regulation changes are on the way for the 2015 fishing season. Why? If you are a serious, long time striped bass recreational angler in the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic region, you have most likely noticed the absents of quality stripers and a steady decline over the past 6 years in the number of fish being caught. While the organizational custodians of our striped bass resource, such as ASMFC (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission) and CCAMD (Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland) and other conservation activist groups, sort out possible causes for the decline and solutions to help the stocks to rebound to previous healthy levels... we the anglers have the power to make an immediate and positive contribution to this effort.
Self Imposed Regulations: This just makes good sense! Why wait for the lawmakers to impose a regulation that we as responsible anglers already know will have a positive effect on the stocks. For example, consider making it a practice to release and carefully handle breeding females (of all species for that matter) even if legal keeper size. This is a no-brainer! 1 breeding fish = thousands of fish potentially. The average 5 lb. female striped bass is capable of spawning 180,000 eggs in one season. One 15 lb. female is capable of producing over a million eggs. Even if only a small percentage of those eggs survive to adult size stripers, releasing just one fish can make a big difference. When we release one breeding-size female striped bass, we may have returned thousands fish back to the stock.
Below are some ideas that many Fishzoo anglers have voluntarily practiced long before the Striped Bass stocks reached their current low levels:
"Photo Keepers" During the Apr-May Chesapeake Bay trophy season, consider not keeping ANY of those large fish which are for the most part next year's breeding females. "Photo Keepers" only!!
"Horizontal Handling" This one is really important! During the spring catch and release season practice "horizontal handling" of the large egg-bearing females. If these fish are handled incorrectly they may prematurely spawn. Striped bass eggs are slightly heaver than water and if spawned in low-flow areas like the Susquehanna Flats and open bay waters, they for the most part will sink to the bottom and die, without sufficient current to keep them aloft.
"Photo Keepers" During the Chesapeake Bay May - Dec, season, consider any larger, 26+ inch striped bass a "Photo Keeper" only! Get a picture and release those breeder-size fish back to the stock. The smaller fish 20 - 25 inches are really much better eaters anyway.
"My limit is One" even though the creel limit allows for 2 fish during the May - December Chesapeake Bay season consider keeping only one fish.
"Throwback Thursday" Get creative! Pick a fishing day throughout the week and resolve to release ALL fish caught on that day.
"NO rules NO finger pointing NO policing" These are proof-positive suggestions! ANY change we the anglers individually and voluntarily adopt, even for just one outing, that helps to reduce the striped bass mortality levels (really all species) will have positive effects... on the fisheries and who knows, other anglers just may follow your example.