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View From The Beach Renowned surf angler, Rich Troxler, shares his thoughts, tactics, tips and tricks for surf casting success!


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  #1  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:52 PM
richtrox richtrox is offline
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Default There will always be bass,.....

by Rich Troxler

From my response on another thread

And that's why individual accounts of fishing are not used for assessing the health of any fish stock. And I do understand the reasoning for this. But there is also something to be said for looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck observation, particularly when viewed over a wide range of territory. So I have two points of view, the math/science view and the personal experience view.

From a strictly math/science perspective, unless your data set accounts for the entire range of a species as well as the internal and external factors that effect species (weather patterns, forage abundance or availability, spawning/recruitment, disease, predation (natural, commercial/recreational fishing, etc.), then you are just making assumptions based on incomplete data. It is my opinion that those responsible for determining the health of striped bass and the subsequent regulations, do so based on flawed and incomplete data sets. I also have very little faith in most any government organization to make impartial decisions on anything where money is concerned. Again, these are my opinions.

But even if you take the available data that is a matter of public record, the same data decisions are based on, then the math should tell you something. I would have to go back and dig up the numbers, but they've been talked about enough so that many have already heard them, so if they're off, feel free to correct me.

Basically, other than I think last year (considered good recruitment from the Chesapeake) the last 7 years or so saw almost no recruitment from there and the Chesapeake stock makes up 60 something percent of the total stock. My understanding is that recruitment from the Hudson stock (which makes up the other roughly 30 something percent of the stock) has trended down in recent years, but not enough to make to make the bells go off yet.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that fishing pressure has increased on striped bass over the last decade. I believe that a lot of this has to do with regulations on other species that have caused the recreational industry (I include party/charter boats in this group) to pursue the striped bass, in order to fill the void. Many of those other regulations seem to be based on flawed data sets also, but again this opinion being based on those who fish for them, both for a living and for sport. Certainly the stock of fluke and seabass seem to be healthy and abundant, and many scream at the regulations placed on them as a result. And then there was the debacle of the spiny dogfish being a protected species for all those years.

You probably noticed by now that I haven't even mentioned commercial interests as I'm not pointing fingers or trying to lay blame anywhere, but their numbers have to account for some part of the overall mortality number. We've all seen the video of the boats engaged in high-grading and tossing back large numbers of dead bass back into the sea. These numbers are all part of the mortality numbers that may not be accounted properly by those who do the assessments. That's my only point for bringing this up, not throwing stones.

Then there is mycobacteriosis, a disease that apparently infects about 75% (in 2001) of the Chesapeake stock (this from the MD fish/game website) which can cause a slow death in the fish that become infected. This could very well be one of the reasons for such poor recruitment from the Chesapeake stock. Also, from what I've read, many of the fish examined seem to be suffering from malnutrition, which may address a disruption in the food-chain (i.e. over-harvesting of bunker in that area), all of which should be taken in to account when assessing the OVERALL HEALTH of a species.

So if you accept that fishing pressure has increased significantly over the last decade and that recruitment has decreased significantly, coupled with increased mortality from disease and malnutrition, what does the math tell you? A simple graph using just about any numbers will have one line trending up (mortality) and the other trending down (recruitment) and sooner or later the lines cross.

So from a science standpoint I have my opinions about how and what data should be collected (collectively). I also have my opinions on how that data set should be analyzed. And I have my opinions about how political and economic influences affect the proper management of fisheries in general. The short version is that I think there is a problem with the decisions being made, the data sets they use for those decisions, those actually making the decisions, as well as the external influences and interests affecting those decisions.

Now, from my own personal experience, and this will be short, I firmly believe that the striped bass is undergoing a down cycle. And a lot of the guys from my generation also believe this. Yes, I still catch fish, as there will always be bass to catch, but there are many things happening today that remind me of the 80's. The fish still show in the spring where they should, but don't stay put long. Same for most of the season. If you work hard, you catch fish. But that means little in the big picture.

I also keep hearing a about "the abundance of bait this year". Bait everywhere! Let me pose a simple question. If the number of predators goes down, what happens to the number of prey that they feed on? Cause and effect, all part of a larger picture that needs to be managed as a whole.

BTW, the mid 80's saw a bizarre run of big fish at Block Island, something like 19 fish over 60 and more 50's than could be counted in a 3 week time frame. If you asked those guys if there were any problems based on their personal catches, they would probably say nothing was wrong with the fishery.;)
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2012, 01:32 PM
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Capt.Paul Capt.Paul is offline
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Default Re: There will always be bass,.....

Rich I couldn't agree with you more. Although I can only comment as to where I fish (Moriches NY) I have too scene the striped Bass population decrease and the bait explode. As little as 6 years ago I use to have a spring run in the bay that was off the hook and then a fall run in the bay that I would be able to catch many fish in the bay like 10-30 before I even made it to the inlet. Since then the numbers have falling so low I hardly try the bay anymore. Maybe now with the new breaches the bay fishing will increase and this year coming the fish may get a free pass as I think a lot of surf locations may still be closed many boats were lost and just a feeling of there's bigger problems to deal with due to Sandy.

Living and fishing this area my whole life 47 years now I have scene many changes sometimes things look like they are rebounding and other times it looks bleak. Although I caught a lot of them this year. You had to work twice as hard and really put your time in. My take on the whole situation is I try to fish as much as I can only taking what I can eat for the table releasing many many more then I keep. I don't know what tomorrow will bring but the population just keeps on growing and will continue to put pressure on all of the fish species. Just think 15-20 years ago did you even know what sushi was??? Now there a restaurant in ever town on Long Island. Don't get me wrong I LOVE sushi especially Blue Fin Tuna. That fish is doomed, tastes too good and the money you can earn if you catch one forgetaboutit. This year 2013 get out there fish as much as you can, take only your legal limit be a good Stuart of the sea and post your reports we the economy will need as much help as it can get. But don't burn surf spots ;)

Capt.Paul aka Pablo
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:56 PM
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MAD 69 MAD 69 is offline
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Default Re: There will always be bass,.....

It seems like the Chesapeake stock has dwindled to next to nothing, the Delaware stock has always been small and the only healthy group seems to be the Hudson but we don't see them down here in south Jersey. It's frustrating as hell down here in the fall - acres and acres of mullet and Bunker with nothing chasing them but the occasional Bluefish.
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