Measuring And Aging Striped Bass
DNREC and all the other state enforcement agencies are checking striped bass. Make sure you measure your striped bass correctly or you could be in violation. Striped bass or Rockfish have to be measured to overall length. Pinch the tail together and measure from the closed mouth to the end of the pinched tail. Make sure the tail is stretched out as far as possible when you pinch it together, see the image for guidance. This is a straight line measure so it is recommended to use a measuring board or lay the tape on the ground. Do not measure along the body of the fish, the curve will skew the actual length.
A striped bass that measures thirty six inches to the fork will be over thirty seven inches and not legal to keep in Delaware. A fish measured along the curve will be longer than actual measurement and you could be in violation. Our creel limit is 28 to 36 inches and over 44 inches, anything in between has to be released and there have been many a fish that had to be released the past week. A good rule of thumb is if you are not sure, then release the fish.
Try not to take too long doing this in case you have to release the fish. Also for anyone curious how old their fish is you can use this chart as a rough average. Keep in mind that the weight is based on a bass that has been feeding for a full season. The chart is the most accurate in the fall, and less accurate in the spring. Some fish could be lighter or heavier during a run when they burn up the most energy and mass, because they are feeding heavily and females will be loaded with roe.