A Modest Proposal (Revisited)

A couple of years ago, I made the suggestion that given the current condition of striper stocks — stressed — and that their future depends greatly on smaller fish getting to be larger — breeder size — might it not benefit everyone if we didn’t try to catch a bajillion small stripers?

Once again, I’m revisiting that energy. Ask yourself this question: Do I really need to catch dozens and dozens of school bass at the mouth of the Hous (or wherever you go this time of year where striped bass congregate)?

I invite you to join me in observing this new, off-the-books reg: When it becomes apparent that it’s a small bass on just about every cast, reel up and stop fishing.

Catching another dozen dinks won’t make you a hero. But walking away will.

This session, from yesterday, went up to 11. Things were slow until the tide reached a certain window. Then a rip formed, and it was the Bass-O-Matic. I was tempted to go for 12, but I stopped after this fish. You can, too. Thank you for your consideration.

16 comments on “A Modest Proposal (Revisited)

  1. Joel says:

    Absolutely Steve, great advice, there comes a point where we are causing unnecessary harm and it takes self control and reverence for the resource to know when to let those fish have a break. Save the striped bass!

  2. Not necessary to catch every schoolie in sight. And not necessary to take a picture of the ones you do catch. Take a deep breath and consider what you are doing, and then enjoy the day

    • Steve Culton says:

      I took a picture of this one specifically to use in this post, but I hear you on the photos and certainly less is more! On the plus side, I never even touched this fish…

  3. Tom B. says:

    Agreed!! I started doing it a few Novembers ago when it was apparent that after one-too-many Nor’easters, it was all 14″ fish for the rest of the year. It applies in Spring too!

  4. Mark Brown says:

    Good points. I usually go try a new spot and change flies. Experiment

  5. James Rakowski says:

    Steve I salute you for promoting this conservation measure. We know recreational angling is a significant cause of fish mortality, and we all should do more to limit the harm.

    I’m using lures with single hooks with crushed barbs in my surf fishing, and handling any fish I catch minimally. To measure any fish, I use marks on my rod to get a sense of its size.

    Most important of all, I vote for candidates and advocate for policies that advance marine conservation. Jim Rakowski

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks, James. You bring up a good point (if you’ll pardon the expression) about crushing barbs. I automatically assume people do that, which is probably foolhardy on my part…

  6. George Baldwin says:

    Perfect. Seems to be a growing number of us doing that now. Thank you for this article.

  7. Todd Lussier says:

    I’m with you Steve. I’ve been restraining from trying to catch every striper I can. A lot of the time it’s only a few anyway?! Lol! But on those crazy days when it’s every other cast no matter what your doing you gotta say enough. So those days will happen again in the future. Same with brook trout, a few weeks ago on my go to stream they were biting good! I caught a few on a nymph then a couple on top! I was satisfied. Instead of picking apart every pocket and run back to the car I just took in the scenery and enjoyed walking in the woods along a beautiful brook. Still casting every so often, cause it is hard not to try for just one more!!

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thank you, Todd. One thing you can do on small streams to give the natives a break is to use an oversized bushy dry…like a 12 or a 10 Stimulator. The char won’t be able to get their mouths around the hook, and you can enjoy their inner Kamikaze while doing no real harm…

  8. Bill Giokas says:

    We the angler are part of the problem. Studies have shown that improper handling of the fish cause most of the problem along with grip and grin photos. Bill

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