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Public hearings on draft striped bass regulation options

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The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Virginia have scheduled hearings to gather public input on Draft Addendum II to Amendment 7 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass, which considers management measures designed to support stock rebuilding. Stock rebuilding will be achieved by reducing fishing mortality to the target in 2024.

Hearings in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will be conducted in-person as follows.

Rhode Island: Thursday, Nov. 30, 6 to 8 p.m. Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management Hearing. Location is at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus Corless Auditorium, 215 South Ferry Road, Narraganset, RI. Contact is Jason McNamee at 401-222-4700 .

Massachusetts: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Hearing Location is at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Admiral’s Hall 101 Academy Dr., Buzzards Bay, Mass.  Contact is Michael Armstrong at 978-619-0012.

The final version of the Atlantic Sates Marine Fisheries Commission’s draft Addendum II can be found at Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (asmfc.org).

The goal of this document is to reduce fishing mortality by adjusting recreational measures and commercial quotas in the ocean and Chesapeake Bay regions.

Tony Friedrich, vice president of policy for the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) said, “While we strongly supported the initiation of Addendum II, we believe that the potential outcomes of this action are not enough to ensure long-term striped bass sustainability and abundance. These measures may only be in effect for the 2024 fishing year, assuming a 2024 stock assessment warrants another management action. Five consecutive years of poor spawns out of the Chesapeake Bay should be on everyone’s minds as we consider Draft Addendum II and the future of this fishery.”

On their website the ASGA says, “Anglers harvested way too many fish in 2022, as the strong 2015 year-class recruited into the then 28-35” slot limit. ASGA supported the Emergency Action measure, and we still do. It is critical that managers continue efforts to protect the 2015 year-class and maintaining the 28-31” slot achieves that goal, while providing some consistency for anglers and the stock assessment scientists.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass: East End Eddie Doherty, Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author, said, “The Canal has slowed down, but mostly 21 - 26 inch school striped bass, an occasional slot (28” to < 31”) and some bigger are still being caught along the 7-mile stretch. A lot of surfcasters have stowed their gear for the winter including most of the Boys of Summer who don’t want to be the Boys of Winter, but some diehards are still wetting a line like Canal legend Bob “Bull” MacKinnon, who intercepted the migration of several fish including a hefty 22-pound striper that hit his Walley’s wonder bread pencil.”

Declan O’Conner of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said, “There are still some striped bass working the Breachways and beaches eating peanut bunker and silversides primarily. With the bigger bass that are still around dialed in on shad. The average size of fish has been decreasing but the size has ranged from schoollie to over slot. I recommend having a popper and a bucktail in your bag if you plan on walking the beaches. A popper allows you to cover water and look for a reaction strike. A bucktail can be fished slower and closer to you if you locate the fish. If you want to catch shad carry a small piece of metal with a fly teaser rig a foot above it.”

Tautog

Tautog fishing continues to produce for anglers.  Anglers Walt Galloway and Walter Berry caught tautog to 21” fishing structure in the Generla Rock North Kingstown area last week. Declan O’Conner of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, “Tautog fishing has been very good with many customers reporting limit catches of fish up to around 9 pounds. The fish are starting to move a bit deeper, solid reports coming from areas with depths ranging from 25 to 40 feet of water. There have been more than a few black sea bass mixed in on some of the deeper reefs. A few customers reporting the biggest bag limit of seabass this season. 

Squid fishing continues to be fairly good. But as usual it is hit or miss. Squid fishing expert Greg Vespe of Tiverton reported an good night squid bite in the Newport Bridge area.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s expert license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to dmontifish@verison.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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