Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) - Wiki
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[Photo] Illustration of a group of Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis). Creator: Knepp, Timothy.
The striped bass Morone saxatilis is a member of the temperate bass family native to North America but widely introduced elsewhere. Among the other names used for this species are striper, striped sea-bass, rock, and rockfish. The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland and the state freshwater fish of New York.
Morphology and lifespan
The striped bass is a typical member of the Moronidae family in shape, having a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. Maximum size is 200 cm (6.6 ft) and maximum scientifically recorded weight 57 kg (125 US pounds). Striped bass are believed to live for up to 30 years.
Striped bass are found along the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Spawning takes place in freshwater. They have been introduced to a number of other waters outside their natural range, including Ecuador, Iran, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey primarily for use as gamefish and in aquaculture.
In many of the large reservoir impoundments across the United States, striped bass have been introduced by state game and fish commissions for the purposes of recreational fishing and predator control of Gizzard Shad.
The town of Kingston, Oklahoma near Lake Texoma styles itself the "Striper Capital of the World" and holds an annual Striper Festival.
The spawning success of striped bass has been studied in the San Francisco Bay-Delta water system, with a finding that high total dissolved solids (TDS) reduce spawning. At levels as low as 200 mg/L TDS there is an observable diminution of spawning productivity.
Striped bass breed in freshwater and spend their adult lives in saltwater (i.e., it is anadromous). They can also live exclusively in freshwater and currently flourish in inland water bodies such as Lake Murray, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, Lake Texoma and Lake Mead. For saltwater striped bass, four important bodies of water with breeding stocks of striped bass are: Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts Bay/Cape Cod, Hudson River and Delaware River. There are many smaller breeding areas that contribute to the overall striped bass population such as the Takanasse Lake. It is believed that many of the rivers and tributaries that emptied into the Atlantic, had at one time, breeding stock of striped bass. One of the largest breeding areas is the Chesapeake Bay, where populations from Chesapeake and Delaware bays have intermingled.
Hybrids with other bass
Striped bass have also been hybridized with white bass to produce sunshine bass, palmetto bass, or wiper; white perch to produce Virginia bass or Maryland bass; and yellow bass to produce paradise bass. These hybrids have been stocked in many freshwater areas across the U.S.
Fishing for striped bass
This fish is found all along the Atlantic coast, from Florida to Nova Scotia, and are caught as far north as Hudson Bay. An anadromous fish, it inhabits rivers, bays, inlets, estuaries, and creeks. It is quite abundant in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. There, it frequently grows over four feet in length and weighs over 22 kg (50 lb). The largest striped bass ever caught by angling was a 35.6 kg (78.5 lb) specimen taken in Atlantic City, NJ on September 21, 1972. The striped bass will swim up rivers a hundred miles or more, and in Maine they are quite plentiful in the Penobscot River and Kennebec River. Further south in Connecticut some very large ones are taken both offshore and in the Connecticut River, and the waters surrounding New York City have proven a fertile fishing ground with good sized specimens being caught during spring and summer months.
East Coast striped bass are typically found from the Carolinas to Nova Scotia. The Chesapeake Bay is the major producer area for striped bass, with the Hudson river being a secondary producer. Spawning migration begins in March when the migratory component of the stock returns to their natal rivers to spawn. It is believed that females migrate after age five.these fish are believed to remain in the ocean during the spawning run. males as young as two years old have been encountered in the spawning areas of the cheasapeake bay. The migratory range of the northern(hudson stock) extends from the Carolinas to New York's Hudson River in the winter time and from New Jersey through Maine in summertime with the greatest concentration between Long Island, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.The migration of the northern stock to the south often begins in September from areas in Maine.
On the West Coast, stripers are found throughout the San Francisco Bay and surrounding coastline. They are also found in the California Aqueduct canal system, and many California lakes. The record striped bass catch at Pyramid Lake in The Grapevine was 19 kg (42 lb). Frequent "boils" or swarms of these fish may be observed in these lakes, representing an excellent fishing opportunity, especially with Pencil Poppers or other similar trout-looking surface lures.
In winter they keep to their haunts, and do not go into deep water like other fish of similar habits. In the spring of the year the striped bass runs up the rivers and into other fresh water places to spawn - and then again late in the fall to shelter. The fall run is the best. They can be caught however nearly all the year round, and of all sizes.
Striped bass can be caught using a number of baits including: clams, eels, anchovies, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, chicken livers, menhaden, herring, shad, and sandworms. At times, striped bass can be very choosy about the baits they take. Because of the wide variety of baits that are known to work and their finicky nature, they are considered among fishermen as being an opportunistic or "lazy" feeder. However, it is estimated that 90% of their diet is fish.
Fishing from the shore is a popular method of striped bass fishing among anglers who may not have access to a boat or simply prefer to stay on shore. Shore fishing can include fishing the shores of inland waterways, saltwater ponds, rivers, and bays. Various methods of light tackle to heavy gear can be used. More challenging shore fishing along the immediate ocean coastline is often referred to as surfcasting. Surfcasters typically gear up a little differently than inland shore anglers as the conditions tend to be more severe, featuring high winds and heavy surf. In addition to rod, reel, and tackle, the surfcaster’s typical equipment list should include items for safety and for comfort such as waders secured by a tight wader belt to prevent filling with water, dry top, line clippers, pliers, hook cutters, and knife as well as a neck light or headlight for use at night. Additional items for safety may include steel-studded soles attached to the wader boots to improve traction, and an inflatable life vest to prevent drowning accidents in more severe conditions, as several surfcasting fatalities occur annually. More extreme surfcasting may entail climbing on rocks far from shore to gain an advantaged position or in some cases; anglers may don wetsuits to swim to rocks in water unreachable by wading. Surfcasting gear usually includes spinning or conventional reels on rods in the 2.4-3.6 m (8-12 foot) range using lines of 7-9 kg (15-30 lb) test monofilament or equivalent diameters of braid. Some surf-fisherman don't like to use braids because it will cut easily on rocks but recent advancements in braid are making it more acceptable in the fishing community. High vis line is best in blitz situations when it is important to see your line. Plastic lures such as bombers, redfins, yozuris all work. When choosing a lure, the profile of the fish you are trying to mimic and the movements of the lure are more important than the color - striped bass do not have the same rods and cones as a human eye. Other lure choices are wooden lures, lead jigs, and soft plastics. Live bait is very effective such as herring and eels. Cut bait like chunks of herring and mackerel work well when live bait can't be fished. In the Atlantic, Striped Bass heavily pursue schools of Atlantic menhaden or more commonly known as Mossbunker. When cut up into chunks, this can be one of the most effective baits. Some other important bait choices include clams, worms, and crabs. Often a sand spike is used when fishing the surf to hold a rod fished with bait. Lead weight can be used to keep the bait to the ocean floor,
Trolling for bass is excellent sport, and is practiced a good deal by amateurs. The tackle employed is a strong hand line, and artificial bait is used with good success. This consists of silver plated spoons, bucktales with plastic trailers, and surgical tubes (representing eels). Squid and eel are also an excellent bait for trolling. In order to fasten a squid to a hook, the squid's "spine" should be pulled out and the line threaded through the 'hoods' cavity with a needle. Freshwater stripers can be caught using alewives and other shads, threadfins, crayfish, and trout. The striped bass will readily eat anything that moves, including smaller individuals of its own species.
It is a temperature-specific fish, with an optimal water temperature of 17°C (63°F). In searching for prime striper fishing grounds, focus on optimal water temperature rather than the structure of the environment. The bigger fish are more affected by water temperature than the smaller ones. The bigger fish are often large and lazy, and can be caught on cutbait since they sometimes wait for scraps missed by the smaller, faster fish, instead of using their energy to chase down their meals. Another good way to catch rockfish while trolling is try to use a 20-30 cm (8-12 in) white worm with a twirl tail depending on the size of rockfish you are going for
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