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#1 Perry

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 08:09 PM

I have a concern on the number of keepers that are being kept! Sounds kind of stupid to call a striper a keeper and then let it go but thats what I do and it gives the wrong impression to other anglers who when catch a keeper, keep it. There is no science to support any allowable harvest of stripers. Thats not to say there there couldn't or shouldnt be a harvest just to say there is no way DFO can claim to manage this resource without some rational science based decisions.
How many anglers fish stripers? How many are caught? How many are retained? How many anglers are keeping undersized stripers? Whats the stripers population. How is the population of the forage fish that make up its diet? What is the by-catch by commercial fishermen? At the present time there is no way any of these questions can be answered by DFO with any creditability. There is no science to support current regulations? It's best quess management based on the hope that we as anglers will do no harm with the statis quo.
My fear is they are guessing wrong and the striper population is in trouble now and in the immediate future. If you share this fear lets let the keepers go and stop referring to them as keepers. I hope I am wrong.
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#2 dave

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 08:29 PM

I agree 100%! I'm not a biologist, but it seems backwards to me. The strong year class is growing up and is now "keeper" size and in danger. If you fish for stripers, please practice CPR (catch, photograph, and release). I am also hearing lots of reports of even undersized fish being kept. Turns my stomach to think of the abuse that is taking place. If you want a fish for the bbq, take home some chain pickerel (seriously, they are quite tasty and have very white flesh).
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#3 Scott

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 08:42 PM

I think the tag idea would work in favor of the fish for sure,however you will still get people that break the rules.
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#4 fisherdan1

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:05 PM

It does seem like there are a lot of keepers being taken this year and with the popularity exploding it's likely to get worse...especially if people are keeping undersized fish.
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#5 wanderer

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 10:26 PM

I have a concern on the number of keepers that are being kept! Sounds kind of stupid to call a striper a keeper and then let it go but thats what I do and it gives the wrong impression to other anglers who when catch a keeper, keep it. There is no science to support any allowable harvest of stripers. Thats not to say there there couldn't or shouldnt be a harvest just to say there is no way DFO can claim to manage this resource without some rational science based decisions.
How many anglers fish stripers? How many are caught? How many are retained? How many anglers are keeping undersized stripers? Whats the stripers population. How is the population of the forage fish that make up its diet? What is the by-catch by commercial fishermen? At the present time there is no way any of these questions can be answered by DFO with any creditability. There is no science to support current regulations? It's best quess management based on the hope that we as anglers will do no harm with the statis quo.
My fear is they are guessing wrong and the striper population is in trouble now and in the immediate future. If you share this fear lets let the keepers go and stop referring to them as keepers. I hope I am wrong.



Your not wrong at all.
How much sense does it make that the "keeper" sized fish are also the most valuable breeders? How much sense does it make that people are allowed to fish in the only spawning river left in the BOF?
Even with C&R, there is a mortality rate..... and that adds up with the more fish that are caught.
Thats a great term for it, guess management. What could possibly go wrong?

As far as accepting that a small % of people will always break the rules.... You're right..... But IMHO if they were liable to lose their vehicle and get a big fine ( like deer jacking ) they might think twice.
I don't know many people that jack deer anymore, but I've seen lots of undersize fish kept.
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#6 YAMAMOTO

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:25 AM

I don't think people who are retaining legal fish as being a problem....People who keep undersized fish is a BIG problem. I have only fished stripers for a couple years and I have had yet to get a keeper....I have thrown back a ton of small fish....I can't see this being much of a problem.....I know if I get a keeper this year that is exactly what I will be doing ,keeping it. ;)
I do agree with a slot size.
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#7 Shimanoman

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:26 AM

I'm with Perry on this one. One of my concerns is because, with the increase in success of the "Keeper" catch rate, there is now a jump in recruitment of anglers who have never targetted these tasty fish before. The fact that the most favoured area to fish (Shubenacadie/Stewiacke River) is within an easy drive of the largest population concentration in Atlantic Canada is also a concern. The additional pressure on the large,"breeding females" especially during the pre spawn & spawning season when they are concentrated, and easiest to catch, could end in disaster unless some sort of control is implemented by the people who are responsible for the guardianship of our resource. Time to step up to the plate, DFO and do your job. A two tag system would be fine by me until there was at least one more breeding site confirmed in the Bay Of Fundy catchment area. I would far rather that there be some pro active action taken now, and be wrong, rather than dither, study, and do nothing and find out later that our dithering and studying has cost us our resource. (much like the cod??) I suspect that the additional pressure is being looked at seriously by the folks at SARA who have the power to shut down this fishery completely. Just MHO. Regards.......................
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#8 YAMAMOTO

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:54 AM

One would almost think that a tag system would be in effect and I think there should be. 2 tags a year would be reasonable.

Being that people don't need a fishing license to fish stripers in tidal waters isn't helping either, let's call it a "FREE FOR ALL"

I myself buy a fishing license each and every year because I LOVE TO FISH and if the money is going to a good cause, then so be it.

A slot size might be good....lets some of the bigger spawners have a chance to do just that.

I dunno, it's a touchy subject.

I myself love to see everyone out enjoying themselfs waiting for that "tap""tap" WHAM then "HOLY S%*T" makes me lol everytime.

like I said b4 I have had yet to be lucky enough to hook into a keeper and i'm hopeing this will be the year, but anyway...

But I totally agree with everyone who says "maintain what we have now and make it even better" "then try and get it back after it already went to S%^T


I have been in many heated discussions about the smallmouth fishing aswell...but that's for a different forum! ;)
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#9 J. B.

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 09:09 AM

Perry, and others, you make some excellent points.

I largely agree with those points; but, I might be able to add something to this discussion. I have had some direct experience working on Striped Bass biology some years ago (with the Mid-Atlantic states populations). My work was on basic biology (population genetics actually), so I was not at all involved in any of the management processes.

1. Management experience: From the perspective of Atlantic Seaboard populations, the Striped Bass is considered one of the big success stories in fisheries conservation. This view is justified, as many of the major migratory stocks that originate in the mid-Atlantic were severely depleted, and they have rebounded substantially since that time. My point here is that the decision-makers have a successful model for managing those populations (its up to them to learn form it).

2. Natural variation in stocks: Striped Bass are naturally a "boom-bust" species. They go through natural cycles of abundance and decline. The problem comes when management decisions are made during peaks in population abundance and then carried through periods when there are several years of decline. Obviously the fishery will be over-fished during that time. Combine that with substantial degradation of their spawning environments, as was the case in the Hudson River and other significant systems, and you get all the ingredients for a population crash. So, the biologists/managers know that both the populations and the environment must be monitored (i.e, a somewhat dynamic and responsive management system). I don't have any knowledge of DFO strategies, so I cant comment on their management practices.

3. Reproductive variance: Striped bass do not all contribute equally, via reproduction, to the next generation. Again, this is well studied in the major systems that contribute to the migratory Mid-Atlantic stocks, but I am guessing that we can extrapolate to the N.S. populations. Contribution to future generations is biased towards larger and older females. The largest and oldest females produce the highest numbers of eggs. Spawning (again, where it has been studied) is characterized by just a few large females and many many smaller males shedding their eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. Interestingly, this often happens at the surface, so it can actually be observed. Anyway, the significance of this is that the future of a population (numbers as well as genetic diversity) depends on a small fraction of key individuals in the population: the largest females. We also know that a very large amount of reproductive effort fails (for natural reasons). This means you really should not harvest fish, particularly the big ones, while they are spawning (OK, that last bit is a subjective opinion and it should go in the section below).

4. A personal opinion: My personal opinion (which is NOT an expert fisheries management position) is that if you really think there is a decline coming (natural or man-made) you need to leave the fish alone (no fishing) while they are spawning (this would not make me, or any manager a very popular person). On the other hand (again, just a personal opinion), a catch and release fishery within their spawning river systems can likely be maintained for more-or-less healthy populations. Fisheries outside of the spawning regions are likely (my opinion only) best served by a slot limit that protects the largest fish (i.e., the super-spawners).

4 points, each worth 1 cent... My 4 cent opinion.

J. B.
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#10 pmorris

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:19 AM

The problem comes when management decisions are made during peaks in population abundance and then carried through periods when there are several years of decline. Obviously the fishery will be over-fished during that time.


Brilliant observation, J.B, and great thread everybody. Government regulation in general tends to be pro-cyclical rather than counter-cyclical. Financial regulation was relaxed (e.g., NINJA loans) when times were good, when it should have been tightened. Environmental oversight (e.g., the BP oil spill) was relaxed when it should have been tightened. I continue to be frustrated by the fact that governments can't see more than one move ahead or the potential for unintended consequences of their decisions.

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#11 striperhunter

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:51 AM

I too agree that too many "keepers" are being retained. A lot of people who target stripers are not even what I would consider fisherman, they are meat hunters and only fish to get a keeper. You can spot this type of person a mile away, and what was really noticeable to me this year is when the catch and release regs went into effect on the stewiacke these types were gone. What is also scary are the number of people who have started fishing only to catch a keeper, they are not in it for the sport or enjoyment of fishing. Even though there seem to be a lot of fish around, I don't believe the current management plan is sustainable and we are headed to a major over harvest situation.
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#12 Perry

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 12:08 PM

Excellent post JB!! Thanks for the info. Just off the top of my head and I am not a biologist, not even close, but have lots of questions. 25 years ago was at a Trade show in the States and came upon a display by Stripers Unlimited. There was an effort to rebuild the stocks that had been decimated by environmental issues. The display showed the first steps and that was egg collection and hatching in controlled environment. I looked at the display and was surprized to see boats seineing eggs in the Shubi. My observations were correct and that is where the eggs for the rebuilding of stocks in the Eastern Seaboard came from. So the genes in the Chesapeake could be Shubi genes.
I took part in a tagging program 20 years ago and the fish we tagged in NS were recaptured in South Carolina so these fish know no international boundaries and the fish I angle in NS could be from spawning in other rivers in the States. Management should be universal one would think.
We in NS have regulations that makes the fishing of stripers during spawning illegal. This is in a river that has no spawning stripers left. Then we allow the fishing of spawning stripers on the only river that does! Duh!
I cannot think of an easier species to manage for DFO. A boom or bust fish! So if you mismanage the species you can just say it is a natural cycle and has nothing to do with regs in place.
I have asked about the rational behind the regs that say under 27 ins have to be released and over that can be retained. I was told that it was a matter of number of eggs. The population of small fish is larger than the population of large spawners so much so that if we kill the big spawners and let the little ones spawn once the number of eggs would be larger than killing the little ones and letting the big spawners go. I have also been told that the big spawners don't spawn every year as well. I have wondered why this rational only seems to apply to stripers. If this management technique is successful with stripers why not trout? It's the same textbook pyramid. Is it that the big spawners dont always spawn?
As I said just of the top of my head and I appreciate your post in this thread and will give it a more careful read tonite.
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#13 NBmudman

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 02:46 PM

Many good points made in the above posts.I was talking to a Rep. from DFO in N.B., concerning a tracking device I found in a Bass I caught.During the conversation, he mentioned that DFO doesn't even confirm the Shubi-Stewi, as spawning rivers?He did say they do confirm the Saint John River as a spawning site, which answers an above post about other spawning rivers in the Fundy system.Now for "MY" 2 cents!#1 No fishing at all in the Stewi-Shubi., or Saint John rivers prespawn-or spawn -many fish even when released die later, especially smaller fish that are caught using smaller hooks on artificial lures.#2 We need to get a government with a set of balls to stop the "out of control" fishing of Aboriginals.It's not the 1800's anymore.#3 There is still a Commericial fishery for Striped Bass in the states.Many of their fish are our fish and viceversa.It's not a huge help to protect Bass here, then let them swim into the American nets.The Government needs to have a serious talk with the States over this issue.I see no need for a tag system.There is no enforcement from DFO anyway, so what good would it do?A Maritime saltwater license would be a better idea.The Americans are die-hard Striper anglers, and they require a saltwater license in many states.This brings A LOT of revenue to that particular state.The same can be done here, then the government may actually have the funds needed to conduct needed studies on the Bass.You have to watch what you wish for when discussing changing laws, as once they pass it thats it.Any angler with a brain is not goin keep short Bass, or every"keeper" they catch.The problem is that fishing seems to attract a lot of people with small, or no brains.These people are gonna break laws, and keep want they want no matter what you try to enforce, they thrive on it.There's no need to bring in a tag system for the honest guy who wanst to keep a few Bass.One last point I would like to make is usin small hooks.Small hooks, that catch short Bass may do more damage, than anything else mentioned.Circle hooks should be mandatory.I always hear stories of people catchin "X" amount of schoolies.When thrown back, how many do you think survive?I use "BIG" gear, and have never caught a Bass under 25 inches the last few years I've been doing so.Circle hooks Catch the fish 99% of the time in the corner of the mouth, making for a strong hold, and easy release of an unharmed fish.There's lots of room for discussion on this topic!
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#14 The Salmon Slinger

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 04:29 PM

Has anyone seen the pictures and some stats of the stripers that are kept down in the states!? i have seen pictures of over 100 15-20" ones on the beach! And for a tag system that would be a great idea but how would it be inforced? Alot of people have started to fish for stripers in the past few years.
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#15 J. B.

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:36 PM

... Just off the top of my head and I am not a biologist, not even close, but have lots of questions. 25 years ago was at a Trade show in the States and came upon a display by Stripers Unlimited. There was an effort to rebuild the stocks that had been decimated by environmental issues. The display showed the first steps and that was egg collection and hatching in controlled environment. I looked at the display and was surprized to see boats seineing eggs in the Shubi. My observations were correct and that is where the eggs for the rebuilding of stocks in the Eastern Seaboard came from. So the genes in the Chesapeake could be Shubi genes.


Hmm... Interesting. There were indeed a hatchery programs. This is the first time I have heard that egg collection was used to initiate a hatchery program program. I don't know the details, but I could try to dig some up. As I recall, adults were captured and the females were evaluated for reproductive stage (close to ovulation). If they were deemed acceptable then egg production was induced within the hatchery. For the Hudson Riverr hatchery, they used haul seines to collect fish from the river at a time close to spawning so that there was a good chance of success.


I took part in a tagging program 20 years ago and the fish we tagged in NS were recaptured in South Carolina so these fish know no international boundaries and the fish I angle in NS could be from spawning in other rivers in the States. Management should be universal one would think.
We in NS have regulations that makes the fishing of stripers during spawning illegal. This is in a river that has no spawning stripers left. Then we allow the fishing of spawning stripers on the only river that does! Duh!


Yep. The sad thing is how much politics impacts the management process; directly and indirectly. The biggest hurdles to effective management are often the political ones; i.e., managing the blowback from influential user groups. But, this is true of everything. Depressing.


I cannot think of an easier species to manage for DFO. A boom or bust fish! So if you mismanage the species you can just say it is a natural cycle and has nothing to do with regs in place.


We are very lucky that stripers are a boom-bust fish in that we were able to achieve a recovery. Other species, with different life-history characteristics, will be far less likely to recover following a crash such as had with the stripers in the 70's.

Nonetheless, with each crash there is a loss of genetic variation that is permanent. Hatchery programs can use brood stock from other drainage to inject some genetic variation, but this is NOT a solution, b/c there is (presumably) local variation that is unique, and adapted to, the spawning environment. Once that is gone it is gone forever.

An aside: Very recent work on cod is showing this to be the case (regionally significant genetic variation) and this is somewhat troubling because it seems that without such location-associated variation the cod do not do well.


I have asked about the rational behind the regs that say under 27 ins have to be released and over that can be retained. I was told that it was a matter of number of eggs. The population of small fish is larger than the population of large spawners so much so that if we kill the big spawners and let the little ones spawn once the number of eggs would be larger than killing the little ones and letting the big spawners go.


If that is the DFO position, then in my opinion is its partly correct and partly misguided.

The part I agree with is that we need a minimum size. This would be the lower bound on the slot limit. This is set above the minimum reproductive age so that every individual in the population gets at least one (or more) seasons to reproduction. This is just good sense, and this the the part the the DFO has got right.

I disagree, in that I think we need an upper bound too. Fish that make it to very large size have two valuable resources. (1) They have presumably good genes. They survived commercial and recreational fishing, disease (this is important one in my opinion), environmental impacts, etc. You want to ensure that these individuals will contribute to the next generation. (2) Large females produce more eggs than smaller females. If you allow them to spawn you get more output per individual. This is important in striped bass (at least in the mid-Atlantic drainage systems) because spawning is sex-biased; many males fewer females. Males mature around 2 years, females between 4-8 years (sometimes longer). This means that successful recruitment hinges on the less numerous sex. You want as many big females spawning per year as possible if your are trying to achieve a recovery.

I will grant that if the population is large and healthy, then you could argue for a relaxation of the upper bound (if we had one in N.S.). I think you might agree, that we should see *evidence* of a healthy and self-sustaining population before we consider that an upper bound is not needed as a good insurance measure for long term population health and management.

I have also been told that the big spawners don't spawn every year as well. I have wondered why this rational only seems to apply to stripers. If this management technique is successful with stripers why not trout? It's the same textbook pyramid. Is it that the big spawners don't always spawn?


This is true, but does the DFO check in local waters and know that the largest striped bass do not make a significant contribution to both numbers of young-of-year and genetics? To pick out just the fact that there is such variability among big fish, and to use this as an argument to allow harvesting of all big fish seems misguided on the part of the DFO. Moreover, just because some big females don't spawn in a given year in NOT the same thing as none of the big females spawn in a given year.

The state of Maine has an interesting regulation. They have a narrow slot limit of 20-26 inches (1 fish per day) OR 1 fish over 40 inches. This completely protects the big females between 26 and 40 inches and allows anglers to keep the real trophies (>40 inches), which are caught less frequently. Fishing there is catch and release only in rivers during the spawning season. Maryland has a slot limit of 18-26 inches. (But, other states have only a lower bound.)

I suppose it depends (in part) on how you perceive the stocks. If you perceive them as large, healthy, and sustainably fished, then you probably don't see the need for an upper bound. If you are concerned about their future, or just want to be conservative, you likely have a slot limit in place. Sadly, politics likely plays too big a role in this.

Ok, rant over.
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#16 Shimanoman

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 07:02 PM

These fish are truely international fish. 6 of the 14 seabord states have banned the commercial fishery . Mass. is currently deciding whether they will follow suit. If you google "stripers forever" you can find a wealth of information on how that fight is going. I don't believe we need regulation changes after the fish in our waters has been studied to death over a period of years. I believe the regulation changes if enacted "now" for their protection would allow the luxury of time in which they can be studied at length while under regulatory protection. Regulations can then be changed to better reflect the knowledge gained by our investigation and/or reflection. Without the protection included in the equation, everything becomes moot at best, with a crashed stock, and nothing left to study, at worst.
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#17 Perry

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:37 PM

Not a rant at all J.B.! Good info and an informed opinion that makes me think and as Martha would say"Thats a good thing!" The eggs from the Shubi I was told was traded for Rainbow trout eggs from a hatchery in the States as the rainbow brood stock in NS had started to spawn different times of the year and caused a problem in NS hatcheries. Understand this is comeing from a person who cant remember where he placed his reading glasses ten minutes ago.
Is it possible they were trying to add some bio-diverisity to their stocks?
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#18 wanderer

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 12:11 AM

I too agree that too many "keepers" are being retained. A lot of people who target stripers are not even what I would consider fisherman, they are meat hunters and only fish to get a keeper. You can spot this type of person a mile away, and what was really noticeable to me this year is when the catch and release regs went into effect on the stewiacke these types were gone. What is also scary are the number of people who have started fishing only to catch a keeper, they are not in it for the sport or enjoyment of fishing. Even though there seem to be a lot of fish around, I don't believe the current management plan is sustainable and we are headed to a major over harvest situation.


I totally agree.... Part of the appeal of striper fishing is that people can sit down, drink a beer and not half to do any work at all.
And then they feel entitled to keep anything they catch, and leave all their crap behind.
For what it's worth, not trying to start any kind of argument, but the Fisherie's & Oceans website says the Shubie is the only river left with a spawning population. Maybe they don't even care enough to update their website? Its listed as a species at risk, theres actually a lot of good info on there.
http://www.dfo-mpo.g...barraye-eng.htm
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#19 archie

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 06:30 AM

I think a tag system would be good, I personaly don't keep many fish, this year I haven't kept any and I have a fair bit of keepers caught this year, pictures are good for me, and nothing gives me a kick more than throwing a big fish back and listen and see the reactions of other anglers on the shore!
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#20 XBONESX

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Posted 11 June 2010 - 10:55 AM

I agree there should be something done either tags or slot limit. We have hooked lots of fish over the 27 inch range. I do keep the odd fish but would rather keep something smaller 16-20 range. I believe the commercial nets do more damage than most guys on the banks. I changed to barbless circle hooks this year they are awesome!
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