Striper Nov 9, 2018 10:54:57 GMT -5
Post by hookedup on Nov 9, 2018 10:54:57 GMT -5
Although I like to blame Omega for the lack of striper in the Chesapeake Bay and within the 3 mile limit, this article in today's Virginian Pilot lists the other part of the problem:
Fishing for striped bass has always been a fall tradition, even though catching the species the past few years has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Let’s face it: we were all spoiled by the days several years ago when stripers were big and thick in the lower Chesapeake Bay and along the coast. Catching them typically was as easy as getting on a boat and putting out some lures. Casting, trolling, it didn’t matter. The fish were so plentiful that it was rare to ever get skunked. About the only thing that took pressure off the massive schools of striper was bad weather. And it had to be some serious bad weather to stop us.
Those big fish don’t come around legal waters inside of three miles of the coast much anymore. The fish that make northeastern waters now head straight south on their migration and end up around offshore wrecks and structures around the Chesapeake Light Tower. You’re not supposed to even practice catch-and-release out there.
Bigger fish that make northern regions of the bay their home most of the year rarely make it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. While some come close, the past couple of years, they’ve made it to points west of Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore.
And the number of fish topping 25 pounds – you know, the ones we used to throw back – isn’t what it used to be.
So what happened? How did a world-class fishery simply turn off?
Look in the mirror. We crushed them and gave them little chance to keep their numbers high. Both recreational and commercial fishermen share equal blame – all those big breeding females taken for trophies and freezers full of meat.
Only time will fix things. The rockfish have made a dramatic return once before. Hopefully, they will once again.