I love striped bass, plain and simple. I was born on Cape Cod, grew up on the Chesapeake Bay where stripers spawn and now I guide fly fishing for them in southern Maine, at the northern reaches of their migratory range. This fish has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember and I’m incredibly fortunate to earn part of my living guiding for them on the flats and rocky coast.
Stripers are the most accessible saltwater game fish in the east and for that reason recreational anglers pursue these fish with intensity throughout the spring, summer and fall. The ASMFC, the commission that manages our striped bass stocks, has officially declared our striper bass to be overfished and overfishing is occurring. This basically means that we are catching more fish than can be naturally replaced. Anglers fishing for stripers from North Carolina to Maine are essentially wiping out our fish. Water temperatures are warming. Striper habitat is being lost each year and water quality issues are present in most east coast estuaries. The least we can do is manage striped bass for abundance so these fish have a chance flourish and provide a positive economic impact for coastal businesses. All segments of the fishing community deserve the emotional and financial fulfillment from chasing this enchanting game fish.
As the stoke for striped bass season grows take some time to reflect on how you can help protect these special fish. Perhaps your contribution comes in the form of committing to catch & release, spreading the word to friends and family about the state of our striper population or maybe you are ready to become an advocate and help encourage better management at the council level. For a long time the recreational angler that supports abundance hasn’t had a strong voice representing them but that time is over. This month the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) launches and vows to fight for all anglers that support oceans filled with fish. Managing striped bass for abundance and decreasing menhaden harvest are two topics at the top of ASGA’s list. Join ASGA to stay informed and become apart of the army to fighting for abundance across our marine fisheries. I am a proud board member of the ASGA, please reach out directly if you want to chat about how you can get involved.