We met our enemy

Maybe you will think we are a bitter bunch because we haven’t seen a bunker or mackerel or herring blitz along the shore in decade. Certainly not the likes that our friends in NJ or Cape Cod Canal have experienced last few years. But trust me, it has nothing to do with that. Yes, our season is off to a miserable start . From what I can gather from my friends, this might be the worst start to a season in decades. Are the bass stocks on the decline ? Do you have to think about the question ? Yes, there are few that will tell you that there are plenty of stripers out there. They are just migrating in deeper water and staying off the beach. And you know what, it’s impossible to prove them wrong. For all we know, they might be right. I sincerely doubt it but I’d love to be wrong on this. But on the end of the day, it’s all speculation, he said she said, nice conversation piece but nothing more then that. None of us are experts or scientists.

But we are not stupid

We know that thousands of stripers floating dead in you tube videos in the south over the winter is not good for the stock. Neither are thousands of bass left in the nets to die because poachers have abandoned them. Neither is lock and load trophy winter fishing by charter and private boats down south.

So we screamed and yelled. We asked for action. How dare they kill that many big breeders? Don’t they know that most of these big fish are females constituting majority of the breeding stock? Have they have no heart or conscience to think what hurt are they putting on stripers population? So we contact THEIR governors, legislators, fish managers. We demand they put the stop to this shit…this barbaric depletion of the species that is more valuable in recreational dollars spent then will ever be as a food fare.

We demand you stop this slaughter immediately so we can…..

Kill the dam thing ourselves as soon as they hit the beaches of New Jersey feeding on bunker or Canal munching on mackerel ?

“Hey, it’s been a long winter and I am out of filets so I will take two big fish as I am allowed by law. F@#$^% you   and your mama too. How dare you look down on me for taking two 30 pound stripers off the beach. It’s not like I let them float dead like the net trawlers down south. Yes, I might have dropped few 20 pounders to die in the j rocks but only because I caught bigger ones. C’mon dude, give me a break, I am in the tournament this week. Besides, after I weigh  these slobs I might even take one home and give it to neighbors. The other slob? I’ll probably leave in the tackle store walk-in freezer. Maybe they can give it to somebody? After all, what am I going to do with all that fish?

Besides, I will catch more tomorrow if there is another blitz. Hopefully bigger. I want everyone to know who I am. So stop breaking my balls. These fish are only here for few weeks. Then they are gone till next year. It’s not like the fishing is good like this  the whole year dude…we got to get on this while its hot, before the fish are gone. Like how they do in the south over the winter.


Oh shit….did I just say that out loud ?”

We met our enemy, and he is us ” Pogo

26 comments on “We met our enemy

  1. Juan

    Bitter medicine. Need to swallow and ingest this truth so that I can get better. I shudder at the thought that one day (God forbid) the only way my grandkids will see a striped bass is in some text illustration or visiting an aqaurium.

  2. Greg Tucceri

    Your little rant sounds like nine out of ten guys you run into on the CC Canal during what I call it, stupid fishing. These people don’t get and never will, it only seems to last for about six weeks and then they go away. Its what separates the fishermen from the anglers.

  3. Lou DeRicco

    Nice piece………..I hope someone gets the message. I was recently fishing from a boat on the ocean. Between 3 and 5 miles out( in the EEZ zone, for those who might not know) we saw several party boats from New Jersey fishing for Striped Bass. Most of the fish were between 26 and 32 inches. We watched some of the party boats gaffing every fish. In fact, I personally saw two bass get thrown back into the water after they had been gaffed. It was a very disturbing sight. Maybe with more education, and more enforcement, people will begin to realize what they are doing. I do not know anyone who fishes seriously and in multiple locations, who has not noticed the decline. Again, good piece. Keep it up……….

  4. woodwker99

    So few remember what it was like in the early 80’s when you couldn’t catch striped bass because the season closed (or was so limited it might as well be) I wasn’t a Salt water fisherman then but my father-in-law was and I remember him bitchin’ about it. That is why I only keep 1 28″ fish each season (there are fluke and blackfish to fill the freezer if need be; or so I hope). we need to find a better way. I would love to see weigh stations at all beaches and fishing piers for weighing contest fish for release… but that isn’t realistic. maybe we should only have photo/catch and release contests like Stripathon,
    Maybe that would mean less “stupid” fishing. I guess there is no one simple answer to this complicated question. till someone comes up with one I’ll just keep setting the big ones free.

  5. Mark

    Enough Said. I have been around many “conservation” minded anglers in the past who have pics of dead bass on their FB page. These are the first guys to call out commercial fishermen and head boat captains. They are also the last people i would ever see at any type of management meeting. “Truck Broke down, I sent a letter(rarely the case) any litany of BS and excuses” I also know guys who take a fish a weekend to feed their family and I have zero issue with it. Everyone is an expert in fisheries management and a conservationist until they have a big fish on the rocks. Then they are just full of it. The only way the bass will rebound and sustain is if the managers do something to protect them. Guess what guys it isn’t making bass a game fish it is reducing the take to one a day at 36″. Talk slots all you want and rationalize it to death. But we have seen the pattern before and history is repeating itself. We don’t need to re invent the wheel it worked before it will work again.

  6. bdubbs

    Out of the 50 or so keeper size fish I’ve caught this year I’m proud to say I’ve released all but 2

  7. bdubbs

    I’ve def.. noticed a decline in numbers. But an increase in the size of the. Fish. Sounds to me like what I heard happened.ed right before the last big decline back in the day.

  8. TRisser

    It will only stops when state regulation is removed and federal regulation is put into place. Let’s be honest it is a national resource that migrates through state waters. No different than a duck that flies thought state airways. I don’t understand all the NC this, NJ that, and MA this.

    I’m also a big fan of 2-4 keeping tags being provided with the seasonal license. In all honesty who needs to keep more that 4 fish a year. That will feed my family of five several really good meal. Just my opinion so don;t hate on me.

  9. Bob

    The laws should be changed for commercal fishing to stop the culling of fish. I think they are allowed to keep 50 fish a day but to kill hundreds of fish per trawl to get 50 large bass to make some desent money isn’t the right way to treat any natural resourse. Stop the culling, the fish are dead already. Let them keep 150 fish of lets say 16″ or more. They will make probably a bit more money, save fuel because of less trawls and hopefully stop killing so many bass.
    People who fish tournaments have to change too. If you make up your mind to keep a fish for the scales, thats it. You can release small fish and fish you don’t want without hurting the fish. Catch and release using cameras like the MadFin Shark Tournement might be the way to go. I have seen some party boats use nets and some use a gaff. If the fish looks small, they should use a net and if they use a gaff on a fish that get thrown back, they should be issued a fine.
    Recreational fishermen who catch fish that they are not eaten and don’t release them are just as bad as the rest. In short, we all have to be more responsible for all natural resources. Stop wasting and killing the fish we don’t use. I don’t want to see any fish go the way of the Dodo bird.

  10. Zeno Post author

    Just want to be clear on something …this is not meant to demonize anyone who takes a fish for table..I have zero problem with that..is to make you think outside the box…

  11. Scott

    I have been fishing the waters off CT. for many years, a few years back I noticed a decline in the smaller fish Last year we had somewhat of a rebound here, the fish seemed to be concentrated in the back bays. When guys found out at that the fish were there, an all out assault started on these fish, no one kept any that I saw, but so many were caught, treble hooks ripped out, and just tossed back with no regard to health of the fish. People from four towns away showed up to take part in all of the “fun”. I know people have the right to catch these fish but how about a little care when releasing them? I wonder how many didn’t survive? I am no saint, but I am a conservationist, I am part of a volunteer angler survey. I release every fish that I catch, after recording the size time date etc, which is sent to the Ct. DEP. I try to release every fish unharmed , but has everyone lived? probably not, but I do my best. My point being that we are all responibile for the decline of Striper numbers. The Trawlers and Party boats play a big role , but in the end we all have to practice catch and release, be careful and release fish unharmed. Keep what you want to eat, but only what you eat. A few large females unnecessarily killed means less future fish.

  12. Lou Esposito

    your 100% right…..Catch and release only for me…I don’t need to eat a Striper, I need to be able to fish them…..Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should……..

  13. Steve S.

    I agree 100%. It’s one thing to talk about conservation, and another thing to actually practice it. I participate in a couple of fishing sites, and it always seems everyone is pushing for C&R. Maybe they keep one or two bass a season. Then, when a blitz comes around the canal, or anywhere for that matter, all I see are dead bass on the rocks and service road. Pics posted on Facebook of two big bass they caught today, and 3 days from now there will be another pic of two big dead bass from the same angler. Seriously, how much bass can one consume in a year.

    It is always going to be a debate as long as the laws permit anglers to take 2 bass per day. I am not a C&R nazi, but I choose to release all the fish I catch. If everyone truly thought about how much they need for consumption, and stuck with that for the season, the numbers would obviously improve.

    Thanks for your post Z. I hope it makes others think more about their future, and not the present.

  14. John Martines

    All I can say is Yup!! You see in in the canal.. Were seeing it here in NJ. It’s funny how there are hundreds of guys fishing right now and when the bunker have moved on … no one! You might see 5 guys in a night during the summer and come fall not the same faces you saw in spring. Zero the Heros! Love the fact that bunker are back but can’t wait till they leave, as IMO it brings out the worst in alot people.

  15. JohnP

    I realized a long time ago, anybody who is always posting big fish pictures of themselves on facebook is either insecure, or is trying to sell you something, or both.

  16. firstlight

    You’re so right. Lots of recreational fishermen walking away with breeders from the Canal, and the charter and recs’ rampage is getting under way at the Block as well. We’ve ourselves to blame. While it may be nice to eat a bass, it a hell of alot more fun catching one.

  17. richtrox

    This spring does suck. I do believe what the data indicates, that striped bass are on decline. I do have a picture of me holding a 30 on my facebook page. She was badly gouged and would not have survived. I like to eat fish, and eat it as often as I can, however, I typically keep only “gouged” fish, you know, the ones that suck the buck into the gills. If it’s damaged, I’ll at least dignify the death by partaking of the flesh, so it’s not wasted. 99% of what I catch gets released.

    True fishermen will do whatever it takes to preserve the species that their lives revolve around. Simply put, we don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot. I remember the moratorium and have no desire to see history repeat itself. But I don’t think true fishermen are the problem. We tend to be good stewards of the resources we derive so much pleasure from.

    But “true” fishermen are in the minority, especially in this day and age of internet fame, and the “me first” mentality that has become so prevalent nowadays. The hoards that flooded RM beaches last year are clear evidence of this. I wouldn’t even go near the place, but the stories of all the shorts being kept were many and often. I’m sure this was repeated in many places last year.

    A story was related to me just this day, by a guy who has some presense on Internet boards and whatnot. It concerned a certain individual he would run into from time to time around the west end bridges, while the W3 was being rebuilt. Sorry, that covers more than a decade LOL.

    As the story teller is leaving for the night, this individual lands a good fish and takes off with it toward where they were parked. He opens his van and tosses the fish in, and as he closes the van, he smacks his fingers in the door. While hopping around and cursing, the story teller goes over to check on him. In the back of the van are several tubes, all filled to overflow with striped bass.

    I’ve heard similar stories aplenty, from the most unlikey sources, like the girl with an “island” accent who works at a food place near where I work. She says a guy shows up a couple times a week and sells bass to the people in her neighborhood out of the back of a truck.

    I think this is more common place up and down the striper coast now, than I ever gave credence to before. Bottom line, it’s easy money, and there will always be those who won’t pass it up. With increasing demand and a bad economy, it’s no surprise that this goes on. They are not the whole problem, but they are part of it.

    Personally, I would welcome a ban on keeping all striped bass for a couple years. Bill Wetzel posted an article on his site that gave a pretty simple perspective on the current state of the fishery, from someone in the “industry”. It was pretty sobering. Take the heat off for a couple years and hope that those year classes show good recruitment. If you could change the regs down south to prevent high grading, that would be icing on the cake. I don’t think anybody will be able to do anything about Omega Protein and the destruction of the menhaden stocks as big money and big business trump government by the people.

    Sorry for the long rant.

  18. Jim in RI

    The states should have a slot limit like they do down south with Redfish. I’d be for 1 fish 28″ to 36″ a day. That would leave the over aggressive schoolies and Cow breeders untouched. Want a trophy take a photo and release the cow.

    I keep 2 to 3 Bass a season for table fair, usually in that size range. If you want more meat for the table there are other species less at risk and just as tasty.

  19. Moses

    I agree with the points made so far.I have seen guys last season fishing the ncb on april12 taking bass illegally. The ironic part is That as I started to walkover the bridge my buddy and I were stopped by dec in their car and checked for a fishing lisence and got into the car and left.when I walk towards the other side of the bridge that’s when I saw the two guys with nice sized bass and said to them that the season wasn’t open for three more days.they cursed me out as I walked by.on my way back I saw quarter sized scales on the floor. Last may while fishing I saw a guy walking back to his truck with a keeper of 35″ and another bass that I knew was a short as well as illegal. I told him he could only take one at 28 and another at 40″. He argued it was legal and measured it to show him. It read 23 1/4″. He still took the fish. The one that pisses me off is when the dec shows up and all of a sudden they can’t speak English. Meanwhile when I was talking to him when I got there earlier he spoke English just fine! Go figure…it sucks to follow the rules and because the actions of a few makes us look bad and then we wonder why we all get the brunt end of it be it season closures,access closures,increased size limits and fewer fish.like the slaughter of cod a few months back due to a loophole in legislature that wasn’t put in place to control cod limits and it was a pure slaughter.no matter how you look at it it’s just bad for the future of this sport and for our children in the years to come if people don’t start catching on like someone said earlier “there are less fish but there are bigger fish and it resembled what happened before the moratorium”. Hello sound familiar. History is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t learn from out mistakes.
    Sorry for the rant. If your going to eat the fish fine but don’t kill it and let it go to waste.
    Tight lines

  20. Tyson

    I am all for catch and release for the stripers. Also the devastion the commercial guys are doing to the forage fish like bunker and so on is too much. Anyone can check out this link foragefish.org

  21. Tony Marchisotto

    Thanks Z…But you are preaching to the choir. Please please re write the entire above as a compilation piece and put it in the “Fisherman”, “On The Water” & any other fishing periodical that will print it.

  22. Rob B

    I came to the conclusion a while back that the stripped bass fishing for recreational men and women is coming to an end.

  23. Wes

    Back in the 60s it all started our decline of our sport.You think we would have learned from those days.Make Striped bass a game fish, so my grandchildren can enjoy our sport.


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