A Quick Review Of New England Striped Bass Regulations - The Fisherman

A Quick Review Of New England Striped Bass Regulations

With striped bass season now in full swing, and entering June – the month many hardcore striper fishermen consider to be one of the best of the entire season – it’s important to take a moment to review the regulations in New England.

First, let’s all make sure we don’t forget that we’re in the midst of our second straight year with a slot limit for striped bass and that this slot has been tightened for 2024. For all five coastal New England states, the regulations state that striped bass between 28 and less than 31 inches are legal to harvest, all fish that fall outside of that 3-inch slot must be released as quickly as possible and with no further, unavoidable bodily harm. And yes, those rules still apply even if you just landed your personal best or even the next world record striped bass.

For those who use live bait, it’s important to remember that all live or dead baits must be fished on an in-line circle hook, the term in-line means the that point of the hook is in-line with the shank, offset circles are illegal to use for striped bass. Treble hooks are also illegal for use with live or dead bait and that means that ‘snag and drop’ fishing – the practice of snagging a live baitfish on a weighted treble and letting it swim until a fish eats it – is a thing of the past. And any striper accidentally caught using an unapproved hook must be immediately returned to the water, even if it’s a legal size “keeper”.

There are also some new fillet laws that govern where and even how you can fillet harvested stripers in 2024. For starters, you cannot fillet striped bass or even retain the racks of filleted fish if you are still (or plan to continue) actively fishing. Furthermore, no more than two (2) fillets may be taken from a single striped bass; this one is a little confusing, but the basics of it are that they don’t want the fillets “portioned” until you’re back at home, this will make it easier for an environmental officer to determine that anglers have not exceeded the legal per-person limit. For those fishing from a vessel, if you plan to ‘fillet at sea’ you must retain the racks of any filleted stripers until your boat is secured to a dock or removed from the water and the fillets have been offloaded.

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