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THE 3R’S OF STRIPED BASS

Join The Fisherman in promoting responsible angling for, and handling of, Atlantic striped bass.
By Toby Lapinski
THE 3R’S OF STRIPED BASS
RELEASE properly, REDUCE mortality, and REBUILD striped bass; together we can all make a difference.

Here we are already almost at the end of October. I know it sounds cliché to say, but where did the season go? It seems like just yesterday that I was impatiently waiting for the waters to warm up enough for that quick shot at spring tog and weakfish followed by my first swim of the season in the wetsuit. Now, six months later, I can’t help but think how the season has almost passed me by and the long list of off-season projects I have planned. But I’m not about to get too far ahead of myself with that just yet as there is still plenty of fishing to be had.

Before you get back on the water, I’d like to direct you to the campaign we began in October which we are loosely calling the “3R’s of Striped Bass.” Take a look at the logo here if you didn’t see it yet, and you’ll see the words “RELEASE properly,” “REDUCE mortality”, and “REBUILD striped bass.” With the concern of excessive release mortality (fish which die after being caught and released) which came out of the 2018 Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment, release mortality and ways in which this number can be reduced by recreational anglers has been at the forefront of many anglers’ minds. The concept of the 3R’s is something that all of us, regardless of which angling category we fall into, should be able to get behind.

The Fisherman Magazine has always been at the forefront of conservation both in print and in our actions. Back in 2015 we removed striped bass as an eligible kill species from our annual Dream Boat Fishing Challenge, long before many other self-proclaimed “leaders in the industry” felt enough pressure from the angling public to make changes themselves. We made this decision because we felt it was the right thing to do for the fish, putting any sort of monetary gains or public relation concerns aside; we simply knew it was, and still is, the right thing to do.

We have also been spotlighting some past editorial on our website which is meant to not only teach you how to be a more productive angler, but also a conservation-minded one. This goes to show, once again, that we didn’t just jump on the bandwagon or react to negative press we may have received, we instead have made the effort to lead by example for quite some time. We have been rolling those articles out in our free, weekly electronic newsletters which you can sign up for right now if you haven’t done so already.

So building upon being the example in doing what is right for the fish and the future of the fishery, we have begun spotlighting ways in which we as anglers can help to reduce mortality released fish through the 3R’s campaign. This is not meant to criticize those who choose to harvest a fish as we support such actions so long as they are done in a responsible manner and within the letter of the law. Instead it is meant to aid and educate all anglers by ensuring the best chance of survival for released fish. We understand that fishing is going to result in some fish dying along the way; it’s simply the nature of the game and the only way to completely reduce mortality is to eliminate participation, and that’s the last thing we want! However, as we have covered many times in the past, and we will continue to do so going forward, there are ways in which anglers can do their part to ensure no unnecessary waste occurs.

In the 3R’s campaign we have already covered such topics as the use of circle hooks with bait, bridle rigs for bunker and the crushing of hook barbs, and going forward we have a slew of additional ideas and concepts which we plan to roll out. Keep in mind that these are not meant to be preachy, they are simply intended to be subtle reminders that our actions, both those taken in advance of an angling experience as well as those in the midst of a hot bite, can have both positive and negative consequences.

So stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled for the continuing presence of the 3R’s of Striped Bass logo. It will appear in print and online where related content exists, and down the road perhaps you’ll even see it on stickers and t-shirts where like-mined anglers can show their support and commitment to the recovery of striped bass.

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