There's no arguing that catching a big striped bass is one of the biggest thrills an angler can experience. Equally thrilling, at least to me, is releasing that big fish knowing that it's going to get bigger and BIGGER! Don't get me wrong, I'll keep a big fish now and again, but I try to limit the Adam Bomb's keeping of fish to those between twenty-eight inches and thiry five inches. The reason why? Well, that's simple. The bigger the bass, the more likely it is that it's a female and the bigger the female the more eggs she'll produce.
Stripers will spawn for their first time at about twenty-two inches in length. This equates to about a five or six pound fish. A female of this size will produce about 125,000 eggs. In comparison, a fish of about twenty pounds will lay about 2,000,000 eggs when they spawn and this number goes up approximately 1 million eggs for every ten pounds of body weight. For example, a 30lbs. bass will lay about 3,000,000, a 40lbs. bass about 4,000,000, and a 50lbs. bass will lay about 5,000,000 eggs. By looking at this information, it is obvious why releasing bigger bass is very important for the further improvement of the striped bass stocks. When you release a 20lbs. plus bass, you shouldn't look at it as though you are releasing just one fish. You should look at it as though you are releasing one big fish that is going to produce A LOT more fish for the future.
The new regulations that are currently in effect in New Jersey, the slot limit, is designed to reduce the mortality of larger fish in the striper population. If these limits are effective, we should see an increase in the number of big fish and in turn an increase the numbers of small fish.
Joe Crouthamel and Jeremy Scrocca with a pair of
25lb. class bass
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