Thursday, October 7, 2010

Morone Saxatilis or The Striped Bass : Part 1

One of my favorite fish to catch this time of year is the Striped Bass also known as Linesides , Rock or Rockfish , and Striper. An anadromous species , the Striped Bass spends most of it's life in saltwater and returns to freshwater to spawn. In the early part of the twentieth century it was discovered that these fish could survive in freshwater year round , but with limited spawning success. They were introduced to many large reservoirs throughout the U.S. and continue to be stocked in many places because of their value as a game fish.

There are large populations of these fish on the East Coast of the U.S.  , with one of the more notable fisheries being the Chesapeake Bay. They provide many charter captains with a viable source of income during cooler months. Anglers on the East Coast target these fish from the surf and from bridges and piers throughout the winter months. Due to their popularity , there are numerous clubs , organizations , websites and internet forums dedicated to this magnificent fish.

There are a lot of rules and regulations for this species. In 2007 the Striped Bass was designated as a protected game fish by the federal government. Most states with populations of these fish have slot limits and/or minimum length restrictions. Stripers have a high mortality rate when caught during the summer due to lactic acid build up in their muscles. For this reason several states recommend that you stop fishing after catching your limit in the summer due to the fact that catch and release is ineffective.

The Striped Bass can be caught using a variety of different methods including surf casting , trolling , drifting , fly fishing and the use of artificial baits. I'll discuss some of the most effective ways for catching landlocked and saltwater Stripers in my next post.

Have a great day!

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