Big Striped Bass Hitting Virginia

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striped bass, rockfish, fall migration
Thomas Frazier … 65.4 lbs 53 inches … girth of 36 inches … photo from Chris’s Bait and Tackle in Virginia

The fishing in the Chesapeake bay has been hot for many weeks for schooling striped bass and some nice bluefish.  There have been some large fish caught as well and that is normal for the Chesapeake Bay.  Chris’s Bait and Tackle in  VA posted this striped bass the other day.  Thomas Frazier with the catch of  65.4 lbs 53 inches and a girth of 36 inches.  That fish would best the Delaware State Record by 12 pounds easily.  We haven’t seen a lot of the migratory bass in Delaware, but some have made an appearance.  This fish is either from the Fall northern migration or it wandered out of the Chesapeake bay.  No telling where it originated but it is a catch of a lifetime.  Today it is cold raining and overcast, a perfect day to look for striped bass in the surf in Delaware.  It is just like the day Ben Smith caught the state record striped bass a couple of years ago on a foggy December morning.  Many of the larger striped bass will move closer to shore at night looking for food, and they will do the same on a day like this, you have to be out there to catch one.   This big striper in Virginia is a great catch, and some will say it should have been returned to the sea.  That is the angler’s choice as far as what they want to do with their fish.  Virginia actually changed their creel limit to one fish at 28 inches and over the past year to comply with the ASMFC regulations.  So for his one keeper allowed, that is one hell of a fish.   Congrats to Tom Frazier on the catch of a lifetime.

striped bass,sea isle city,new jersey, the lumps, avalon limps, rockfish,linesider
Corey Joseph with a nice 40 inch striped bass off  Sea Isle the day after Thanksgiving …  released to comply with Delaware bass regulations.  Many a fish has gone back to the sea in Jersey and Delaware due to the slot limits.  Corey had to release this fish due to the fact, though caught in Jersey it had to comply with Delaware creel limits once brought into our waters.
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There are still a lot of fish off Sea Isle and farther north in the surf of LBI.  We have plenty of time to catch these fish if they come close to shore.  That remains to be seen and everyone is getting antsy based on the messages I have  been getting on Facebook and emails.   They will be here soon enough.  How long will they be here …no one knows.  Will they come close to shore … no idea.  When will they be at Indian River Inlet soon … no clue.  People need to just go fishing and get out there and you will be the first to know, not the last.  I know for those that travel it makes it difficult and they want to get here when there is fish here.  There are fish at IRI right now mostly residential schoolies and the inland bays as well as up and down the Delaware Bay beaches.   Those fish are fun to catch and there are a few keeper in the mix but for the most part they are averaging twenty to twenty-seven inches.  The white perch action is hot in the tidal creeks and ditches.  Channel catfish are abundant as well, all being caught on bloodworms.  You can always do some freshwater fishing for pickerel, perch, bass, and crappie.  There is plenty of fishing, but the one fish everyone wants just isn’t here yet in great numbers.  That being said it might indicate the fact the numbers are lower, hence the reason the ASMFC had to get the coastal states to lower their numbers.  Or we can all just use the excuse they didn’t come close to shore this year, there are plenty of fish, and are all in the EEZ.  Fact is the striped bass numbers are down and the lack of fish in the usual areas are a good indication of that.  Coupled with the fact fish are showing up in areas but not for very long is another indicator the numbers are down.  Hopefully the upcoming year classes will help fill in the migratory schools, the 2011 year class has been some hot fishing as far as schoolies this year and their numbers are huge.   Our creel limit that was changed last year for striped bass is forcing people to send a lot of their catches back to the sea.  My personal preference is to release large bass.  They are breeders that produce a lot of eggs and these are ten to twenty year old fish.  Ben out there a long time in not the cleanest water in the world, but that is my preference.  Just take a look at our fish consumption advisory for Striped bass in Delaware.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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