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Aug 31, 2017
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Headed out to the mouth of the Magothy River on the Chesapeake Bay last night with a fishing buddy (admittedly on his fiberglass center console, although one intrepid soul was fishing the Chesapeake from a ~1236 Jon boat) for some night fishing.

We’d been out once before and totally struck out. This time we caught three keepers in the 20”-23” range using cut Alewife on hi/lo bottom rigs and 5/0 hooks. Sadly, I mis-measured one by going for fork-length instead of total length, so we only kept the larger two, but we still got some nice fillets.

Including the keepers, we boated 8 striped bass and one white perch. We also caught some undersized stripers and the perch on a large Rapala and a 1oz gold Kastmaster.

We got back to my house around midnight, and couldn’t resist frying up some fillets and staying up until 2:30 drinking bourbon and eating fish. My morning meeting this AM was a challenge. But priorities, right?



That’s an enormous Lodge skillet.

My buddy works night-shift, so he’s a bad influence when it comes to bed time.

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Sounds like a lot of fun. Haven't eaten any Striper/Rockfish yet.

The guide that I used last year won't let anyone kill a Striper. I don't blame him, as he targets big fish (20 to 45 lbs) and there just isn't an excess of those where he fishes (TVA rivers, mostly).
I can understand that as long as he limits his clients’ tactics to those most appropriate for catch and release (e.g. inline circle hooks and tackle sufficiently heavy to land a fish without exhausting it).

I confess that my initial reaction to your post was pretty heated irritation, which was unfair.

Here on the Chesapeake we have a big cadre of really self righteous “catch and release” fishermen who do stuff like live line spot with treble hooks, haul a trophy striped bass out of the water bleeding from the gills, keep it out of the water for a few dozen pictures, and then release it back into the water to die slowly while villainizing the hook it and cook it group. I have pretty strong feelings about which group is more wasteful.

I wasn’t actually going to reply until I realized that your comment probably packed exactly zero of that baggage.

The first of the two fish we kept was on a large Rapala, with the first hook hooked perfectly in the corner of the mouth. By unfortunate circumstance, the trailing treble lined up perfectly and it got foul hooked in the gills as well. We were really relieved when it turned out to be keeper sized. The fish we released went back in the water swimming strongly and not bleeding.

One thing I have to give the trout fly fishermen credit for is that when they say catch and release, that includes practices like barbless hooks, special landing nets, and an intense focus on releasing healthy fish.

Sorry for the semi-rant.

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Well, to each his own.

I may be crazy, but I won't take a redfish to eat but I have no compunction about taking a flounder or a speckled trout. Go figure???? We all have our idiosyncrasies.

This Tennessee guide does use HUGE live Skipkjack for bait. One large circle hook in the jaw and a big treble at the anus is the standard rigging. Of the ten or so 20 to 40 lb. fish I've either caught or had the pleasure of watching being caught, all were hooked in the jaw, usually with the treble. Large, heavy-weight rods brought the fish in fairly quickly. Picture taking is limited to a couple of quick shots and back she goes!

Personally, I'd like to catch and eat some of the 5 to 15 lb fish here in Texas. Stripers/Rockfish are present below one of our dams and it is my intention to get up there and take a shot at them in the next month or so.


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I fish for freshwater stripers in the tributaries of Buggs Island lake (aka Kerr Lake) in Virginia. I think we have the only landlocked freshwater stripers that naturally do a spawn run. Great fish to catch. Eat really good.

Tip for removing the red meat from the filet
Thanks Rich - I realize your post wasn’t judge-y, that’s just a sore spot for me. I apologize if I came off a little brusque. You have sound C&R practices. I wish all did. Livelining spot with treble hooks, the traditional local method, results in a lot of gut-hooked fish. The fish in the picture is a whopper!

RBO, thanks for the tips. We definitely encountered the red meat.

Rockfish/stripers definitely make good eating!

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