This is an annual census taken by Maryland’s DNR to determine recruitment strength for the previous spring’s (as in a few months ago) class of new-born striped bass. The number was 2.2 (the long-term average is 11.9). While every year is different, this only continues a downward trend that began the year after the banner class of 1996.
You can read more about the count on the stripersforever.org website here.
It’s a long, long way from 1996.
Moratorium is coming. Count on it.
This is troubling. Being new to fishing for rockfish, I have only this year’s 6 fish to base my opinions, but of those 6, only one was keeper sized. The smallest was 9″. If most fish caught are babies, and they don’t survive, then we may be negatively affecting outcomes to a greater extent than we realize.
I wonder about the viability after catch and release. The two I released from a boat were easy to do safely. Fish in the water the whole time. From a rocky shore, at night, I am afraid the fish was excessively handled and that could lead to mortality.
A few observations:
Removing a #4 fly is a lot easier than a treble hook on a 29gram spoon.
Trebles with intact barbs cause a number of problems:
1. Harder to remove
2. Leaves a bigger hole
3. More than one part of mouth caught
4. Damage to lips is greater than single hook, by the time I get the hook removed.
Landing a fish on a rocky shore seems a bad way to preserve a fish to grow. What about rubberized pillow/blankets or something? I went down to the water’s edge and kept the fish in the water, but the waves were sloshing it around and it was bumping (not violently but still–that could damage the fish and start an infection).
I’m wearing a headlamp next time instead of a torch in my mouth.
Action items I intend to do next week:
1. Fish barbless
2. Switch from trebles to single swinging hook when spinning.
I think your instincts for wanting to do as little damage to the fish as possible are good. Every situation is different, and I try to limit putting myself into places where quick C&R is going to be a problem. A single barbless hook sure comes out of those rubbery gums a lot quicker than a barbed treble.
P.S. Yes to headlamps. And make sure it has a red light spectrum function. 🙂
Yes. Scotopic thing matters–keep night vision working 🙂