Striped Bass Spawning Season Starts Let The Big Girls Go
Before you got too excited, the fish in the picture was caught in April of 2014. However the Delaware Bay and river is coming alive with large migratory striped bass. This is the beginning of the next phase of the striped bass spring run, when the fish start moving into the spawning grounds. We already have tons of the small male rats schooling up everywhere. There are also some rather large males in schools along the Delaware Bay beaches as well as the tidal creeks and rivers. It is striped bass spawning season and we have some regulations in Delaware to protect the spawning bass. We also like to promote the fact even in the unregulated areas you should let the “big girls” go so they can produce more fish. If you really don’t want to stress out the fish keep them in the water when you release and skip that picture. A couple of years ago the one in the picture was caught by Anthony Lerro (2014) .. “I have been fishing the (Delaware) river for years now. By far the largest I have ever boated. Appreciate all the feed back. Definitely was a fish of a lifetime. Fish was 50 ” long with 33″ girth. Fish broke a 50lb scale therefore don’t have an exact weight . By calculations from length and girth it’s estimated to be 68 lb. My guess is 60-65 lb. Took about 30 minutes to get her in.”
Per DNREC regulations …. The spawning season for striped bass in Delaware is considered to begin at 12:01 a.m. on April 1 and continue through midnight on May 31 of each calendar year. It is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass during the spawning season from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C & D Canal, or the C & D Canal or its tributaries. Catch and release only during this season; no harvest is allowed. It is unlawful for any person to fish during the striped bass spawning season on any striped bass spawning ground with natural bait using any hook other than a non-offset circlehook when the gap (the opening between the point to the shank) of said hook is greater than 3/8 inches. The Division recommends that circle-hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook and release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle-hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.