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FISHING LOGS: New England
Surf

MAN UP!

Posted By Dave Anderson, November 6, 2017
 Surfcasters up and down the coast have been showing a growing concern about the health of the striper stocks, and I am right there with all of you. I have been surf fishing for more than 20 years, and in the time between 2002 and this year, I have seen a precipitous decline in catches, particularly in the years between 2013 and now. We have two big year classes migrating right now, and it almost seems like everyone is forgetting that there is a serious problem out there despite what the seemingly blind fishery managers say. There are huge holes in the fishery; you don’t see many fish between 31 and 35 inches right now, there are also very few 38- to 41-inch fish. We’ve seen a good windfall of 30-plus pound fish, but most of them are coming from the Canal. Localized explosive fishing was the canary in the coal mine back in the 1980s. So here we have these two year classes: 2011 from the Chesapeake and 2014 from the Hudson. We are seeing a massive explosion of school bass, and most of you are out there throwing pencil poppers with 4/0 trebles at them. You’re better than this. I wish I didn’t have to say this, but after hearing multiple reports of dozens of schoolies washing up dead, I feel like I have to. Single-hook lures with crushed barbs should be the only things you’re throwing; keep that big pencil in the bag in case a pod of 25-pounders crashes the party, but, if you use your eyes, you can tell when the fish are small. We’re not getting any help from the men in charge this time around, they have already said they’re going to reassess the stocks after the 2018 season and—get this—they are NOT going to have public hearings or public comment periods. It’s going to be a closed-door workshop and that reeks of sinister activity. So we’re going to have to take matters into our own hands and protect the fish the only way we can. Please listen up, this is our chance to slow the decline, let’s not mess this up.
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