Who Speaks for the Striped Bass?

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?137777

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.



42 comments on “Who Speaks for the Striped Bass?

  1. DonR

    Here’s the problem, as I see it. This is a surf fishing site/mag, when you give away say a plug you get around 200 replies. Take those 200 surfcasters divide between 5(?) states you get 40 emails sent to a ASMFC state/commissioner. Do you think he’ll listen? I think it’s about education—it’s been said before you have guys who fish once or twice per year on the head boat probably have no idea what they’re catching is in trouble. It would be nice to get the B&T shops involved in catch and release but I have a feeling they may be afraid of the repercu$$ion$. I don’t have the answer but I know it’s not the arguing/name calling/b1tching I see on all the other sites.

  2. rob

    Maybe you could post a sample paragraph that guys can cut and paste into the emails. Some guys may not know what exactly to say. Might be helpful.

    As far as doing something- I feel frustrated about the situation. It seems like there is nothing that can be done- no matter how much we talk, it seems to just be talk. what comes to mind is a march on Washington to be heard- but will that help either?

    I don’t know what the answer is but I did email all three legislators in my state.

  3. zhromin Post author

    I agree with everything you said and I know the frustration first hand.
    I am not against eating or keeping bass. My kids love it and I think PUBLIC should be able to harvest striped bass for personal consumption. but I don’t think it’s sustainable to have commercial and recreational harvest. We tried that and look where we are now.
    as far as the stuff that goes on the other sites..we built this site by the surfcasters and for the surfcasters. we didn’t built it so we can have a free far all that will attract people which will make it more attractive to advertisers.
    To us this is passion…and yes we might disagree with popular opinions sometimes but we will always put fish first and needs of end user second.
    after all its easy to divvy up the bounty if the bounty is there
    this constant maximum grabbing by all user groups is crazy and counterproductive for all

  4. VIC D (olskool)

    Z , Keep up the GREAT work. Im already on with the emails and letters. Ive already been thru this tragic event once before!! Back in those day WE didnt have the imformation OR SURFCASTER to carry the torch. Ive been on the phone and THIS monster for three days trying to get a few fires started. I really hope I can do something …..THIS TIME!! Everybody must be proactive or everyone will suffer ,alot sooner than we think!

  5. crscott2

    Well written. I find it unfortunate that the majority have decided to wait a week until the meeting to contact their commissioners. But, I guess better late than never.
    You, and everyone else. should be attending and voicing these words at each and every Marine Resources Advisory Council Meeting (MRAC). There is only one left for this season, its scheduled for Nov. 12th at 205 Belle Meade Road, East Setauket, NY.
    I agree voicing your opinion on web sites does little to achieve results. So why not attend the MRAC meetings and have a face to face discussion with the fisheries managers, the ones that go to the ASMFC to make the decisions. If we had half as many people commenting on the boards attending these MRAC meetings, then maybe something would change.
    see the link below:

  6. sonerito

    x2 re what Rob says – a form letter would make it real easy and allow a clear and consistent message. I know I know, but hey a little spoonfeeding for the cause never hurt.
    Regarding the commissioner link with their email addresses – note that Senator Boyle’s email link didn’t show up for me – the other two were there. I searched and found the following: pboyle@nysenate.gov

  7. JohnP

    It is painful to read this.

    For me, this feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    I remember sitting in the Freeport Long Island Rec Center in 1995, when the NY Sports fishing Federation hosted a meeting to get input on the proposal to lower the size limit on bass. It was one fish @ 36 inches back then. I heard a party boat captain tell us that party boats were not a factor in the bass fishery, and that party boat fishing was not an effective way to fish for bass anyway. Most of the people in the room opposed to the idea of a lower size, but I recall Charlie Johnson of NYSF concluding the meeting by saying “It looks like we don’t have an concensus.” We were all stunned. We clearly heard what most of the speakers had to say, but it was also clear there were forces behind the scenes pushing for more and smaller fish.

    It didn’t make sense to me. I might have been one of the only people in that room (quite possibly THE only person in that room) with a formal education in Marine Biology, and a background in the study of population dynamics and modeling. I understood the numbers and some of the modeling, but I also understood there were other forces at work that were not built into these models. Other species (whiting, blackish, flounder and weakfish) were becoming more scarce and it appeared a major effort shift was about to happen. I also felt that it would be very hard to reverse course once we started to relax the regs, and there would be eighteen million reasons to defer corrective action until it was too late.

    Once the size was lowered to 28 inches it appeared we lost a lot of that conservation ethic among us. I just saw more people willing to take that fish to the cooler instead of letting it go.

    I also saw that we lost a number of very influential voices in the rec community. Some had to worry about industry advertising, some were interested in launching a business in the industry, and still others just wanted to be able to rub elbows with the industry. They no longer were willing to call for conservation, it became taboo in some circles to do this anymore, or to support people who held this view. Those who still thought this way were labeled as “elitists.” Conservation oriented organizations gave way to industry-oriented organizations, and in New York we still have members of Marine Trades and Bait wholesalers representing you – “Recreational” fishermen on important Marine Resources government policy decisions.

    At the ASMFC level, we have people representing us who are not qualified, or who hold views that are counter-productive to conservation. Some have been in these roles of a long time. I had a NJ representative hammer the point home to me that if the NJ rec anglers didn’t kill the fish, the commercials would, and that if his state didn’t kill the fish, the next state would. So his strategy was to get all he could for NJ. I had his NY counterpart hammer the point home to me that he disagreed with my definition of a quality fishery (“Plenty of large breeder fish and good and stable representation from a board range of year classes”). His definition of a quality fishery was “Ability for people to be able to go out and take something home.”

    They will be at the important ASMFC meeting deciding of the fate of the fish. They will be casting the important votes.

    This is how we got there.

  8. Chris A

    I have been sending in emails since 2010. I have also have my friends send in email and phone calls. Only to get the bass, bunker blue., fluke, etc our not been over fished. Now I read by someone that NY commissioners or saying a changed is needed. Wake Up people. The Commissioners have made me embarrassed as other states fight our commissioners always looked over there shoulder and vote the other way on many topics.. Just look what there our saying about the new bunker reg. They or not on our side. They care about votes. That positioned is for leaders but of course these man our followers. Only following to get the next vote.

    WAKE UP. I still will send Como emails that these Commissioner need out even if they vote for a reduction.

  9. Rob

    Mr Fote (one of three NJ commissioners) wrote me back and gave me a link to an article he wrote in regards to what action he plans on taking. Here is his final sentence “Nothing that I have seen in the past 40 years involved in striped bass and the past 24 years at ASMFC has shown me that we need to change our current practice. If the science and the triggers show the need for a change, then I will support that”

  10. Jimmy

    I am thinking we should probably send Mr. Fote an email and educate him on what the “current practice” is doing to our fishery!

  11. JohnP

    Either Mr Fote is playing with you or he has not read the latest stock assment. Eitehr case is scary.

    Five-year projections of female spawning SSB and fishing mortality (Figure B4) were made by using a standard forward projection methodology. If the current fully-recruited F (0.188) is maintained during 2013-2017, or if it increases to the threshold or decreases to the target, the probability of being below the SSB threshold increases until 2015-2016, but declines thereafter. If action to reduce F is delayed until 2014 or 2015, the probability of being below the SSB threshold increases (Figure B5).

    If the current removals, meaning landings and dead discards of 3.59 million fish, are maintained during 2013-2017, the probability of the full recruited F being above the F threshold increases rapidly starting in 2013 and reaches near 1 by 2014 (Figure B6). If constant removals equal to 50% of the 2012 removals are taken during 2013-2017, the probability of fully recruited F being above the F threshold is near zero.

    Basically, this says that if removals are maintained where they are, the fishery will likely be pushed to an overfishing condition. If removals are reduced by 50%, that most likely can be avoided.

  12. Brian K

    Not every angler in NJ is keeping EVERY bass landed from the surf!! Many are releasing fish along the entire coast of NJ. They may not be taking their picture and sending into a online magazine or other media outlets to prove they caught and released a 20-30-40lbr. Yes there are anglers in NJ who need to thump their chest and show a big cow laying on the beach or hanging from the scale BUT there are many who quietly cast and catch and release the fish to fight another day.
    I will bet that there are MORE anglers keeping fish along the Long Island shores than in NJ, especially since the fishing is normally much better MOST of the year.

  13. zhromin Post author

    wait..who said that they are ?
    I can personally tell you that NJ anglers are one of the most ethical and hard fishing surfcasters on the planet. I was just pointing out the irony..ok?
    NY anglers were stuffing bass in cooler at Moriches this weekend and then bitching about not being able to keep two to me
    please do not take from this post that I bash Jersey anglers. I am spreading the blame equaly, To my knowledge no place is responsible for more killed surf caught bass in fall than Montauk

  14. JohnP

    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.

    Start by asking these guys below marked *

    Don’t know where Bob and Charlie came out on this, but they tend to be coservation oeriented. Paul is or was a party boat captain representing “Recreational Anglers” in NY, Chris is or was Exec Director of the NY Marine Trades Association and also holds a position here representing “Recreational Anglers” in NY, Melissa is with Regal Marine Products (Bait) and also holds a position here representing “Recreational Anglers” …So if you’ve got a Party Boat Captain, a Marine Trades for-hire, and Bait wholesaler, all supposedly representing YOU, how do we think things will turn out? its so pathetic its almost funny.

    Bob Danielson, Senate nominee*
    John Davi, Senate nominee
    John Renaldo, Senate nominee
    Dean Yaxa, Senate nominee
    Paul Risi, Assembly nominee
    Christopher Squeri, Assembly nominee*
    Charles Witek, Commissioner appointee*
    Karen Rivara, Commissioner appointee
    Joseph Paradiso, Commissioner appointee
    Paul Farnham, Commissioner appointee*
    Melissa Dearborn, Commissioner appointee*
    Thomas Jordan, Commissioner appointee

  15. birdshark

    Since some people asked, here’s the email I sent if people are looking for a form to use.


    I write to you as a New York resident and lifelong fisherman (surfcaster more specifically) concerning the state of the Striped Bass fishery and to urge you to take drastic measures at the upcoming ASMFC meetings to protect the future of this great fish. Those of us who fish regularly can see the writing on the wall. The fish aren’t as plentiful as they used to be, the size of the fish are not evenly distributed and they are appearing in a few select locations rather than throughout the striper coast (regardless of how much bait is present).

    I am requesting that you strongly consider the following measures regarding the Striped Bass fishery.

    1. 1 fish per person on party and charter boats. This is hugely important. The amount of boats sailing multiple trips per day and bringing home 2 fish per person easily accounts for thousands of fish per day. That is unnecessary, beyond wasteful and truly sickening. The draw of a party/charter boat trip isn’t simply to bring home pounds of fish. It is about the experience, memories, etc. A 1 fish limit will not hurt the party/charter business.

    2. Increase the minimum legal size back to 36″ thereby giving the fish additional spawning seasons before being possibly removed from the stocks.

    3. Shorten the season to allow fish a better chance to successfully spawn in the spring and to allow the late fall run bass, which are often large fish, a chance to live another season.

    4. Pressure NY and the other states to increase enforcement of regulations. There is rarely a day of fishing where I don’t see someone taking short, too many or out of season fish. Enforcement is almost nonexistent. The number of boats fishing outside of the 3 mile limit is a notable recent example.

    5. Any additional measures that are equivalent or stronger to those noted above.

    Thank you for your time and consideration of this very important topic.

  16. RI_Charter_mate

    I work as a mate on six pack charter in Rhode Island, which frequently fishes the waters of Block Island.

    I have an interesting perspective on this matter. While my day job is directly involved in the recreational for hire fleet, I am an -avid- surf fisherman. Up until the past two seasons I would put in over 100 nights of fishing per year, fishing from March to late December. However, last season and this current one, I’ve probably fished roughly 50 nights each because it’s been -that- bad here. Simply put: there are effectively -no- resident fish in my local waters.

    But even working on the boat, the fishing has been off significantly. Certain report producing publications focus on the one or two days of excellent fishing at BI, but fail to tell their readers of the two weeks of poor fishing in between those banner days. Or, they focus on a “40 here a 50 there” and never talk about the hundreds of anglers fishing BI during the same time frame who either got skunked or scraped together a few fish. At Block in 2013 it seemed like the August pattern set-in in May and lasted the entire season. I’ve never seen anything like it, barren fish finders and week long periods of fishing eight hours for three to six stripers.

    This was the norm for the vast majority of the RI charter fleet fishing BI, and the Montauk boats as well. There were many times Block was barren, and we’d talk to the guys in Montauk who stayed over there, and they were struggling as well. If they are no fish at Block, and there’s no fish at Montauk, where the hell are they?

    The answer is: *there aren’t that many of them*, resulting in denser schools of fish that result in lock and load fishing when they -are- there, but catching NOTHING when they aren’t, resulting in the extremely inconsistent fishing pattern that is the new “normal”.

    Now, you talk about the for hire mentality of “we’ll just catch something else if we can’t get the bass.” There’s some truth to that, but that’s not really an accurate description of the mentality around here. What I see from charter captains more than anything is the same outright denial of this situation’s gravity that I see in many recreational anglers. They fail to realize they’ve adjusted their expectations to be inline with the new “normal”, and many of their “good days” would have been considered marginal to poor in years past.

    A problem I see with many charter boats is that their customer base is not made-up of fishermen. Their customer base is made-up of people who -sometimes- go fishing, and there is a -huge- difference between those two. People who sometimes go fishing, aren’t particularly good at it, they don’t even really like it. I often wonder why do they even go at all? And the reason for most seems to be that the whole experience is fresh fish and a boat ride. “Dinner and a show” if you will. As one of the captains around here says “We’re in the entertainment business, not the fishing business.”

    Basically, you’re average charter customer is going out with the mentality of you’re there to kill fish. I’ve even had some customers remark that throwing fish back is “a waste” as if the fish’s true purpose in life was to be their dinner, and now that that cannot be fulfilled, it’s a waste. And these same people will often remark “Oh, we still have fish in the freezer from last year” as if that’s something to be proud of.

    The customer’s kill-em-all mentality is often encouraged and facilitated by the captains. Rather than educating their clientele on what fishing actually is and trying to foster some respect for the fish and the sport, they cave and give the people what they came for: big dead fish. (and yes, even though smaller fish are more suitable for eating, “bigger is better”, resulting in some boats even high grading their catches)
    Gotta kill a limit, gotta kill big.

    On my boat, we’re making some gains in educating our customers. Most don’t feel they -need- a limit of fish or are entitled to a limit of fish. Most don’t feel they -need- to kill a big fish to eat when a 30″ fish fills the same role just as well and even a little better. And they NEVER EVER NEVER get the captain’s and mine two fish each. The hell with that, it doesn’t work that way.

    As I told my captain this year “these fish are too big and slow growing to be a suitable candidate to be a ‘meat fish’, but most of those in the business treat them like one. What we see happening is the logical outcome of our collective malpractice.”

    And here we all are. Recreational fishermen only want to become conservationists once it’s too late, and commercial fishermen and for hires never want to become conservationists at all.

  17. Ron Mattson Sr

    Not a chance anything positive for the Striped Bass will come out of ASMFC. Only ‘gamefish’ status will overcome the greed. Check what ‘gamefish’ status did for the redfish/speckled trout/snook around the Gulf of Mexico states.

  18. zhromin Post author

    Gamefish does not do anything to rebuild the stocks
    even if you had game fish the number of bass in the ocean would be the same
    trust me I’m all for it but first we have to reduce mortality

  19. RI_Charter_mate

    Gamefish status is only going to increase the stock if it somehow results in a decrease in the overall fish mortality.

    Gamefish status prevents commercial sale on the fish, but it still permits recreational anglers to catch (and kill) striped bass.

    As I see it, gamefish status is only going to improve the stock if, and only if, there is a major shift to catch and release only in the striped bass recreational fishing culture.

    What’s seldom talked about is that the striper recreational culture, including that of surfcasting, has its roots in commercial fishing. Many of the sharpies around here were commercial rod and reel guys back in the 70s and early 80s and killed their fair share of big fish back then. While most recs today are rec only, the concept that striped bass are edible and the killing of them is normal, still exists as a holdover from those days. And in the North East, especially New England, the broader concept that “fish are food” is as old as the region itself.

    Trying to modernize these concepts by adding an element of sustainability to them is a daunting task as the acceptance of the kill is so ingrained. The attitude of the striped bass rec culture really needs to be inline with that of largemouth bass fishing, killing a fish isn’t normal at all; killing a fish is so against the norm that it’s kind of weird.

    Gamefish status is only going to be a meaningful gain if we, the recreational fishing community, change our attitudes towards the fish. No more magazine/beer sponsored killathons, no more bragging rights fish, no more “only a few for the table each season” because “only a few” turns into -quite- a few when there’s tens of thousands operating under that mantra.

  20. pistol pete

    sent emails to multiple people.

    I cant help but feel so helpless, insignificant, and ignored as i typed…
    as if their minds are already made up and not open to any new info …

    Hope they wake up before its too late.

  21. Louis DeRicco

    Those of us that have spent countless days and nights in search of Striped Bass have seen this coming for years. Along the lines of what both Zeno and RI Charter mate said, there are simply less fish in less places………..Yes, over the past several seasons, we have all had some great innings, and have all had some outings that could provide memories for a lifetime………. But, it has been obvious that things have been getting progressively worse. The fishery is in decline, and we need to do something about it NOW. It is our obligation to ourselves and our children, to exert whatever pressure that we can on the members of the ASMFC to take emergency action to help protect the resource that we love so much. I hope that your readers take the time to write letters or send e-mails in an effort to influence their state commissioners to vote in favor of more strict conservation guidelines. We are truly at a critical moment in time…………

  22. edward

    ZMAN –You are right on point . But i found these guy s don’t listen to “us till we sh o w up with torches and clubs in our hands”

  23. zhromin Post author

    That might be true but we can’t even try and bitch and moan about it which is what we want usually do
    We allowed them to appoint paid for commercial reps to represent us recreational anglers. The only way to change this is to get rid of those who work against us..we been to lax fishing was good and we let them pull wool over our eyes
    If you think those who’ve done this dirty deeds won’t listen in the future if we raise ruckus..you are wrong
    They are all elected and fear loosing their cushy position more than anything
    Once they see the voters are fuming they will change their tune

  24. Ron Mattson Sr

    I am wondering why ‘gamefish’ status worked so well for speckled trout-redfish-snook in Texas/Louisianna/Alabama/Florida/Mississippi/South Carolina/Georgia. Must be the way those creative individuals spin the numbers. You will have an extremely hard time trying to convince North Carolina/Virginia/Maryland Legislatures to limit Striped Bass either commercially or recreationally. We have all seen what ASMFC has done for the #1 Striped Bass food(menhaden)in these states-little or nothing. Got to take it out of their hands completely.

  25. johnp

    ” I am wondering why ‘gamefish’ status worked so well for speckled trout-redfish-snook in Texas/Louisianna/Alabama/Florida/Mississippi/South Carolina/Georgia. Must be the way those creative individuals spin the numbers. ”

    It may not be a coincidence that those states generally have strong CONSERVATION groups, like CCA. I’ve also heard time and again that recreational SW fishing down there is just a larger part of their culture. Its not quite like that in the Northeast. We also have this perverse relationship up here with the industry, with many of the same characters in the recreational industry sector also dabbling in or tied to commercial fishing, in some way. I got a first hand view of this years ago on a party boat out of Belmar NJ. Customers were throwing back fish and the mates were yelling, “Yo, give them to THE BOAT, how do you think we make money!” Back at the dock the mates were selling striped bass to non-english speaking customers (who probably didn’t know any better). And versions of this type of situation continue to this day. Why would they support stricter regs? And if anyone from a fishing magazine gets too bold, they will threaten to pull the advertising. This is how the world works it our own broken NY/NJ mentality of managing fish.

  26. Ray crimmins

    if I understand the problem correctly we need a 50 percent mortality reduction. to me gamefish status doesn’t make sense if the commercials are only responsible for 10 to 15 percent of mortality.maybe if we call the party boats and six packs what they are commercial fishermen and we as recreational fishermen.either go back to a 36 inch limit or even a moratorium. makes More sense to me then just taking away only a small percent of the problem

  27. zhromin Post author

    we wont know what reduction will be in place if any. Once we know that then the geniuses that be will tell us what’s our max size coast wise
    then each state decides the regulation
    If I am right, if amsfc takes action they will have public comment next spring with MAYBE regulation in 2015
    no worries though, by then all or most bass that surfcaster has access to will be dead

  28. zhromin Post author

    game fish, as goods as it sounds, does not do a damn thing for the conservation
    It takes commercial quote and gives it to recreation
    so instead of 2 fish at 28 inches you will get 3 fish at 28 inches but it does not reduce mortality
    although, yes, catch and release will improve mortality compared to commercial catch which is all dead fish. But game fish on their own does not do a damned thing. Jersey has a game fish and they have no fish like us.
    If you are going to make it a gamefish you have to make it on federal level, in every sate

  29. Jimmy

    I came across this on one of the well known sites out there. It appears people are contacting him but I don’t think he understands the urgency of the problem we are all facing.

    Here’s pat Augustine’s take on the subject , he responded quickly to my email
    Based on the status of the striped bass stock, it would be near impossible to push for gamefish status. Please take the time to go to the ASMFC.gov website and get the facts.
    I agree, this is a valuable fish, but folks need a reality check and get away from the hyped up story the stock is going to crash. If you want to talk about it call me at 631 928 1524. Regards.Pat

  30. Pingback: Link: Who Speaks for the Striped Bass | Brooklyn Urban Anglers Association

  31. Ron Mattson Sr

    For those who think the ASMFC is going to do anything positive for Striped Bass..again..wait till 2015 for an answer. The GCCA was started in Texas by a small group of concerned saltwater anglers. New York alone has thousands more..so called concerned anglers..now than Texas did at the start of the GCCA. And for those believing that the commercial+illegal commercial Striped Bass catch is 10-15% of total you need to live for sometime along the Chesapeake/Delaware Bay areas to understand how the process for policing the commercial Striped Bass catch is terribly inadequate. And finally tell me where it is written in stone that if ‘gamefish’ status is given Striped Bass the commercial catch % is automatically given to the recreation sector?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *