By Lou Caruso
The future of our fishery
First off let me state, I am not one of those guys that is insanely adamant about releasing every fish caught. I keep an occasional fish for the table as my family all enjoy a meal of fresh striped bass. This has more to do with the fish we are taking.
I recently took a trip to Cape Cod Canal. My wife bought me a bike for Christmas from Canal Bicycles in Bourne, Mass forcing my hand. I’m always saying I want to try new places but never seem to find the time. She made sure I would go. At 63 years old I’m still learning and for me this is a whole new arena…
I went for a few reasons, first being I’m trying to break my personal best, second access is much easier than doing the south side walk in Montauk and third this all being new to me has renewed my vigor in chasing striped bass..
As most of you know, there are some really big fish up at the canal. Just look at Facebook or Instagram and every- body and his brother is holding up a 30 pounder from there.….
What I saw kind of made me sick and concerned. The amount of 30-40 pound fish being kept is amazing. I saw bike after bike going by with these huge fish strapped to the back. Monday and Thursday are Commercial Days where anyone with a commercial license can keep 2 fish. The last day I was there which was not a commercial day, I counted in 1 parking area over 50 fish taken out of there. Many over 30 pounds. That is one location over a 7 mile stretch with 2 sides of parking areas.
My concern is there are 2 pods of big fish right now. One in the canal and one off Montauk. Both of these pods of fish are getting hammered….. If we continue to take all of the prime breeders out of the gene pool a few things will happen. First, the generations of fish following may not be a big as these bass today as breeders will be smaller and smaller. Second, if you look back at the collapse, just before it occurred most of the fish being caught were over 30 pound cows.
Our biomass of big fish is dwindling very quickly. It’s up to us to be responsible stewards of this fishery. If you can, release the monsters and keep a nice 10-15 pound fish. They taste better and will give those 30-40 pounders a chance.
Thanks for letting me vent,