Catch and Release for Striped Bass is common place with Striper fisherman.
But Catch and Release Can Kill Stripers
Every Striper Angler has some control over their own fishery.
More on the Proper Release Techniques for Striped Bass
Does Venting Promote Survival of Released Fish
Striped Bass are notoriously fragile once out of the water.
Even fish that have been handled extremely well
may die once they are released even if they were only out of the water a short period of time.
Researchers at the
Texas Tech Department of Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries
Management recently published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management their
findings on hooking mortality of some 1,200 striped bass -- a huge and quite meaningful
sample size -- from fish caught and released from across the southern U.S.
information from previous hooking mortality studies done in North and South Carolina,
Maryland, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas.
The findings could have implications to striper
fisheries across the country.
Dr. Gene Wilde led research looking into how bait type and water temperature affected the
survivability of striped bass caught and released. The study essentially asked:
caught on natural baits more apt to die from injury than one caught trolling a crank bait?
And temperature, the warmer the water the worse for wear?
Here's what Dr. Wilde and his
team of researchers found.
Regardless of bait type, 29 percent of striped bass caught and released died within three
But compared between bait types, it was higher for fish caught on natural baits, at
For artificial baits mortality was a much lower 25 percent.
But bait type alone didn't explain the variation.
Water temperature figures prominently in
whether fish will survive. Simply put, the warmer the water, the more likely a released
striper is to perish, regardless of size.
Climbing into the 80s, nearly 70 percent of
stripers caught on natural baits and 57 percent caught on artificial, perished.
According to Dr. Wilde, the exact implications of his findings to striper populations will
vary from water to water, but to him, one thing is clear.
"Our results do call into question catch-and-release fishing, especially in
summer," said Wilde. "Catch and release is viewed as having little effect on
populations, but when more than 30 percent of fish die, even in cooler water, I have a
hard time justifying releasing fish.
Instead, requiring anglers to
keep all fish captured, up to their bag limit may be better.
When water temperature is over 70 degrees F.
DO NOT RELEASE STRIPED BASS.
Another alternative to striper management is seasonal closure.
While it would afford some
protection to stripers, Wilde admits its not likely to happen with many striper fisheries.
Instead, Wilde thinks a seasonal relaxing of length limits might be better.
just go ahead and keep what would otherwise be an undersized fish, given minimally a third
of released fish would perish anyway.
This year as you partake of top-notch striper fishing, think about what's at the end of
If you belong to the secular church of catch and release, are you practicing
what you preach?
Is your quarry going to survive to be caught another day?
This evidence is convincing.
When and how you fish for stripers could have a lasting
impact to your sport.
According to Wilde's research, you do have a choice.
Assessing impacts of
Striped Bass Catch and Release.
John Tiedemann, Assistant Dean, Monmouth
University School of Science.
Dr. Andy Danylchuk, Assistant Professor,
University of Massachusetts Amherst