I told you few years ago that we are going downhill fast with the striped bass but many said “yawn”. Last year was my worst year in surf ever but it was awesome compared to this year. Shit, if this keep up I will be doing fluke and sea robin fishing only in a year or two.
Let’s see, who is too blame? Hmm, there is always someone to blame, right? Seals? Hurricane Sandy? Sand Eels? Pollution? Commercial dudes? Haul seiners? For hire boats? Recreational boaters? Poachers?
I am sure all those things have had influence but the major reason is right there in front of you. Take a look at the reflection on your PC screen. Yup, we are the problem and no I don’t mean the blog readers literally. I mean “recreational anglers”. I know most of you are more conservation minded than most but recreational fisherman kill too many fish.
Everyone wants to blame someone. No one wants to do a damned thing to make it better. Wait, is this a political speech? I could but I’ll spare you my political leanings. Commercial folks get the most blame but they are only what, 10 or 15% of all catches?
Yeah, it would help if we reduce their take because unlike them, we release our fish and give them chance to at least recover. Once they put a tag in their mouth, their life line just went……………
Haul seine or should we call them gill net seine?
The only reason I put this video up was because it was remarkable how LITTLE fish they are catching these days compared to years ago. It appears what they are doing is legal although if you are going to be a stickler for details..they are not doing the tagging legally. According to NY State commercial striped bass law they must tag each fish before they tend to another. This goes for all forms of commercial fishing. Kind of impractical but that is the law on books.
17) A striped bass commercial permittee who takes and possesses a striped bass of legal commercial slot size shall immediately attach and securely lock into place through the mouth and gill a numbered strap tag issued by the Department immediately after removing said striped bass from their gear and prior to attending another piece of gear. All striped bass not of legal commercial slot size shall be returned to the water immediately without unnecessary injury. Possession of striped bass not tagged as required by this subdivision is prohibited
The “recreational” for hire fleet?
Ok, most of you want to sink every party and charter boat in sight when you see pictures like these, right?
But wait a minute. The party and charter boats, the ones that specialize in striped bass trips have been struggling all year. They been “mix bag fishing” targeting bluefish and weakfish because they can’t find bass in the bay. Why not? Because with all the clam chumming, bridge fishing, eel drifting, they and private boaters HAVE ALREADY wiped out the resident population. Why do you think mullet run is exactly what it sounds. MULLET RUN but nothing but MULLET. Because we killed all their predators. Come fish with me, I can guarantee you a skunk in every hole in Jones Inlet that has produced for me last ten years. Every single one, did not hold a resident fish in last two years. School of bass are getting smaller and smaller. Years ago we used to have a good action from Montauk to Brooklyn at same time. Now you have to find ONE beach where fishing is decent. And the rest? Dead sea. Why do you think Brooklyn boats are running to FIRE ISLAND to catch bass? And now NJ boats too? Because they like the scenic ride or because they have no fish locally?
So pictures like these get really under your skin, right?
But lets examine who are these folks on these boats. Are they poachers, commercial pin hookers, prison escapees? NO. They are your father and grandfather, you local retires and disabled veterans. They are people who love fishing and can’t afford a boat or cant withstand the rigors of surf fishing. Can you really blame them, after a whole year of sucking wind on these party boats that they took their limits? Really?
And what about the captains? There are few that really do care, primarily the ones that specialize in fly fishing. But most can give a rats ass about you, the fish or environment. It’s a business and once they wipe one species out they will move to the next one. Change the boat sign from bass to blues to fluke and keep sailing. When everything fails, they will sell their boat and wave you goodbye…with a middle finger way up.
And yesterday we found some of them are fishing illegally in EEZ. You think captain tells his fares ” Folks, this is not legal but no one is watching so gaff away”? I doubt it. If they are doing what they are alleging, they crossed the line of ethics and morality. As far as I am concerned criminal charges should be forthcoming if this is proves to be true. But this is America, innocent until proven guilty.
What about all those giant bass killed by the private and charter boats off NY and NJ last 6 years that were feasting on bunker? Wait, what about all the SURFCASTERS in NJ that were hoisting giant dead fish for pictures EVERY DAY and now they are all over the internet complaining about the lack of fish or that party boats are killing too many fish? How is that for hypocrisy among our ranks? Last two years there were PLENTY of bunker from Jersey to New York. You know what was on them? Sharks, whales, dolphins. Bass? What’s a bass? For hire dude don’t give a crap, he’ll take tourist on a whale watch. Money is money
Oh, you think Jersey guys did bad? Ha-ha. Go to Cape Cod Canal around Memorial day and watch the carnage. Trucks, bicycles full of striped bass. Fish being dragged on the streets, trough the grass as if no one ever ate one. To be fair, people in MA have a very different view on commercial fisheries. I believe all you need is a $100 permit and you too can be a pin hooker and sell you bass in season. Even nonresident. But they will come around. Their season was the worst in long time too.
You didn’t think I was going to leave Montauk blitz chasers out of the equation, did you? There are more bass killed after a good Montauk white bait blitz then a pin hooker kills in a year! A year!!!
And then our beloved striped bass go to winter over in VA waters where they get absolutely slaughtered by hook, line and net. Have you ever seen this video? It’s enough to make you sick to your stomach.
So we kick and scream, yet our brothers and friends were slaughtering these same schools few weeks ago on for-hire AND private boats off Montauk and along Long Island shore. Kind of Ironic right?
You got organizations that claim to represent commercial sector, tackle trade, surfcasters, boat guys but who REPRESENTS THE STRIPERS?
Truth is , there is only Stripers Forever. They are the only organization that I am aware which puts the health of the species ahead of consumption, recreation and money. And they want only one thing ..gamefish status for the striped bass.
How in the world do we fix this? This mumbo jumbo of each state having is own regulations. How the hell is possible that we can regulate one species different in every state, when the same species is a migratory animal? Even worst, who came up with a law that you must release a 27 inch striper in Little Neck Bay in the name of “conservation” only to be legally harvested at George Washington Bridge later in the day, in the same state, few miles away? Or that a fish that swims from one state to another, can be eaten in one and not in another?
Did the same jackass made these rules as the one that told us years ago that because of PCB we should not eat fish caught west of Smith Point (or something like that)? And yet as soon as the fish went a hundred yards on the other side of Smith’s Point Park it was a fine meal? Fish “magically ” became a good for human consumption. Are we cretins?
I think that striped bass are too valuable of species to be caught commercially. I never felt like that before, but now I do. I come from a family of pin hookers in Europe and many of you know that I have a great deal of respect for anyone who makes their living as a fisherman. People will say doesn’t everyone has a right to buy a striped bass to eat? Doesn’t guy in Kalamazoo has the same right to striped bass consumption as we do in places where stripers roam? Yeah…but
Let me answer that like this. Have you ever heard of commercial fishing in freshwater? Why was that outlawed? For the benefit of the PUBLIC? Hmmm, that is a novel concept, PUBLIC BEFORE SPECIAL INTEREST. I truly believe that making striped bass a gamefish is the only thing that can make this species thrive. It would still be managed by ASMFC, you would still have seasons and limits but the fish could not be commercially sold. No different than snook in Florida. Why do they realize the value of a snook as a fish as gamefish and we cannot? But I think before we get to that, we will have to put the brakes on what is going on today.
Let me ask you a question. Look in the mirror. Do you feel like an inferior man? Do you think that your value as a provider, as a protector of your family future is lower than another man’s? Does the fact that you don’t own a boat makes you a second class citizen?
I don’t think so. I work my ass off to provide for my family from 4 AM when I get up to go to the construction site, till 10PM when I am often working on SJ related stuff at home.
Then explain to me how does your brother, uncle, father, friend, gets on a for-hire boat and gets to keep twice as many fish as you do? Are the charter boat captains and party boat captains anointed by God as special people? Do their kids deserve a bigger meal at the God’s table then yours? Since these dudes are considered “recreational” fisherman and are responsible for killing more bigger striped bass that any other sector of this fishery, I think it’s only fair that you personally make any and all efforts you possibly can to make sure that anglers that fish on the for-hire boats get same allotment as you do in the future. And that they never, ever pull the wool over your eyes and get you to agree that their customers are more deserved of the bounty of the sea than you are.
What, did you mother found you on the street? I didn’t think so
In fact, I think it would be wise to ask NY DEC over the winter for your fish back. Which fish? The one that belonged to you, us , everyone and DEC decided to give it to for-hire sector as an “extra”.
The more I think about this, the more I get enraged. Not so much of commercial guys although there is no love lost there. But you got to admit that most striped bass “commercial” guys in our part are weekend angling pin-hookers who fill their tags and they are done killing. I actually believe that they care more about stocks than for hire fleet. Most of them only fish for striped bass and I feel they actually do care about the stocks future. The for hire fleet, with exception of many conservation mind captains, particularly fly fishing specialists, don’t care what they are fishing for as long as the boat is booked they will go out to catch skates. And they will make as many trips a day as they are fares lined up. And I can’t really blame them for what they are doing from a business perspective. They are trying to maximize profits. What I do blame them for lobbying to be able to keep more than anyone else. But then again, they are in for the money.
Let’s be honest, whoever is the first dude that came up with the idea of allocation for-hire fleet to double what every man, women and child in this state is entitled to, is a genius. Think about this. He took PUBLIC resource and sold it to his fares as “extra” fish. We got sold a bag of shit by our NY representatives on local levels who promised us that they will be a stewards of our, PUBLIC resources. But instead they sold us to the highest bidder.
striped bass is too valuable of a fish to our towns, to the tackle stores and manufactures, to our hotels that cater to fisherman and to slew of other related businesses that thrive because of the striped bass. The dollars spent on catching the striped bass by anglers dwarfs that of the commercial sales of the striped bass.
I think it’s for all of us that care about the stripers, and their future, to look into the mirror and ask yourself “Am I doing something about it”?
Other than bitching on online forums, that. Which counts only in getting you your internet keyboard cred. But while you type your very eloquent and quite humorous replies, another school of stripers has been slaughtered at sea.
There is not a darn thing you can do about what’s going on today but you can, you should and you must do something about tomorrow.
The ASMFC meeting in taking place next Tuesday. I urge you, ask you and beg you to click on this link http://www.asmfc.org/about-us/commissioners , find your state commissioners and send an email to each one asking them do reduce fishing mortality . That is it. This is not a time for gamefish, bag limits and slot size talk. We’ll get to allocation of who gets to keep how many fish once we know what they decided. But right now, today, we need them to REDUCE MORTALITY so we ALL stop killing too many striped bass. You can include a brief explanation of how your fishing has been affected and keep it brief and respectful.
But DO SOMETHING. Is the fish that was part some of the greatest days of your life worth a five minutes of your time?
Only you can answer that question.
The striped bass management plan should be consistent with the best scientific advice available. Thus, ASMFC should adopt a new addendum to the management plan that reduces fishing mortality to the level recommended in the new benchmark stock assessment, and also adopts the new, lower overfishing threshold recommended in the assessment.