Editor’s Log: Wave Of The Future? - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Wave Of The Future?

There are many striper-obsessed fishermen. You can count me among them. I enjoy fishing for just about every species that swims, but if given the choice between chasing stripers in spots where I know there are big ones and literally anything else, judge me if you must, but I’m picking the striped ones. I don’t want to get too mushy about it, but there’s a continuity to it, that reaches back decades to a time when I was just leaving home and I can still see little shadows of that time through the eyes of my younger self. I love that.

As striper conservation has grown in popularity and then risen to some level of importance for – just about – every striper fisherman, there has been this goal of combining the enjoyment and fulfillment of fishing with contributing, in one way or another, to conservation efforts. When you think about it, the data is there for the taking, the hard part is collecting it, or maybe the hardest part is actually getting anglers to collect and share it…truthfully. As technology has become more portable and remains, pretty much always, connected… this task has become easier and more data is being collected and shared than ever before.

We’ve seen landmark programs like Massachusetts’ ‘Citizen Scientist Project’ that challenges anglers to collect data on caught stripers, including fight time, hook type, water temperature, time out of the water and the presence of blood, and then assess their condition at the time of release. I’m sure I will cover this in greater detail in a future Editor’s Log, but the 2023 data is unlike any other I have seen and it’s awesome! The downside of these assessments are that they amount to a snapshot, a very useful snapshot, but it’s limited to just that one encounter.

Last season the folks at Gray Tag Research launched what amounted to a ‘pilot program’ for a new conservation concept that had the ability to produce data beyond the snapshot encounter of catching a striped bass. The 2023 StriperQuest tournament basically tested the waters on a tournament where every fish landed was tagged and released. Some of the fish were adorned with pop-up satellite tags, most of them though, swam off wearing green streamer tags. The concept was a win, and they have expanded the event and opened it to the public for 2024, as of last check, there were about 30 boats registered.

The goal of the StriperQuest tournament is simple: catch, tag, measure and release as many stripers as possible during the one day event and the boat that logs the most tagged releases, will be crowned the winner. The top three teams will take home cash prizes, third place takes 20% of the cash pool, second place takes 30% and the winners will net a generous 50% (all of these percentages will be calculated after Gray Fish Tag Research takes their 15% in support of further tagging missions).

The event is being held in New Jersey and anglers must be present at the captain’s meeting and awards ceremony to participate, both being held in New Jersey, and the event is slated for Thursday, May 16. I didn’t write this editorial in the hopes that there would be a huge New England presence there, I wrote to it draw attention to an event that I believe represents the wave of the future in competitive striped bass fishing. And, I guess, I hoped that enough of you would read this and then contact the ‘powers that be’ at Gray Fish Tag Research, suggesting (dare I say demanding) that we see a sister event in our neck of the woods in 2025. Feel free to pester Roxanne at [email protected].

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