This just arrived in the mail and it seems like an artifact from another age. While I’m proud to say that I’m a three-time member (all on the fly while wading, which makes it even more of a challenge) it didn’t happen last year and I don’t see it going down this year, either. Of course, I’m quite willing to be proven wrong.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Stripers Forever is an organization whose mission is to make the striped bass a gamefish. The “Release A Breeder Club” was started years ago to encourage anglers to release stripers over 36″. In today’s climate, that’s a no-brainer. Plus, you get a spiffy certificate to display your worthiness. Keep the fight short, keep ’em wet, let them do their job to repopulate the East coast!
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.
The following (within quotes) is a cut-and-paste from Stripers Forever:
“If you have not filled out your 2015 Angler Survey please do it right now. We are going to stop taking responses on January 7. This survey is the largest and longest-running gauge of striped bass angler sentiment. It is important for fishery managers to know how the angling public perceives the quality of striped bass fishing. We’re using an online survey from SurveyMonkey to make it easy to complete. The link below will take you directly to the survey. It will only take you a couple of minutes to fill in and submit your answers.
Your input is more valuable than ever. Please take the time to take the survey; your response plays an important role in the protection of Striped Bass. The more completed surveys we receive the better. This year we’ve added an important new question to gauge your perception if the 2011 year class lives up to what is supposed to be the third largest year class in history.”
The Stripers Forever Release A Breeder Club encourages anglers to practice catch-and-release for striped bass of breeding age and size. To become a member, you need to catch and release a striped bass of at least 36″ (about a 20-pound fish) and provide a photo or a witness.
While club membership admittedly walks the line of narcissism, I am pleased to say I’m now a two-time member. But, let’s give credit where credit is due: this year I was simply in the right place at the right time. Still, I’ll take it. There is precious little in fishing that matches the brutish power of a twenty-pound ocean-going bass in four feet of water.
I’ve been certified.
Today’s word is: “shoulders.” Can you say “shoulders?” Sure. I knew you could. This isn’t the winning fish, but it’s still a good one.
Stripers Forever is a non-profit, internet-based conservation organization that advocates for the conservation and responsible stewardship of wild striped bass along the Atlantic Coast. They seek game fish status for wild striped bass on the Atlantic Coast. You can find out more about Stripers Forever and the Release A Breeder Club here.