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Bass - How "BIG" do They Grow

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I found this attachment mixed in with some of my old fishing journal files I was cleaning up.  Thought it might be interesting to post as a reference.  If anybody is interested in keeping a copy for themselves you should be able to right-click and save-image to your computer to print out.  I'm sure lots of guy's here already have something like this, but for those that don't....here ya go.

 

I remember when I first got it years ago I would cross reference the numbers shown with the fish I caught (ie...why it was mixed in with my journals), they were relatively accurate taking into consideration the "Min, Avg, Max" .  You can't see it on this attachment, but its laminated and I would carry it in my jeep at times.

 

 

1000

post #2 of 19
The biggest on record (not considered a 'world record' since it was netted) is a 125lb specimen caught many years ago (I forget where)...But I've always contended given the largest fish of any species on record was captured alive, odds are that is was going to grow larger at least to some degree beyond the capture rate...(probably not very much since the growth curve is much slower on such large fish - probably can only get 'fatter' like us humans as we age...but since we humans generally view the size of fish soley by the weight, we only look at 'fatter' fish as 'bigger' fish)
post #3 of 19
That chart there is a little outdated.

Ever since the crash back in the 70's and 80's, due to the PCB's and DDT's, The curve line for striped bass is a little different.

Except for certian circumstance's, given that on any average there is outlier's, it takes a bit more time for striped bass to reach the poundage per length ratio that is seen on that chart.

Going by that length chart and looking at my catch log of last year of length and weight, every fish over 40" that I measured and weighed would fall short on that list. Now given that in any study of average there is bound to be outliers, it is safe to assume that all of the fish (15) that I have a length and weight for would be outliers would be almost impossible.

The premise that the fish will just get fatter is true at a certian point. As a reference, Sperm Whales can live to be up to 100yo, and for 80 of those years they are believed to grow. Now after those 80 years do they stop growing...yes and no. Yes they may not grow in length, but no in that given a diet they will get fatter and increase their mass, so the answer is not so cut and dry.

Back to stripers, there is a rough "max" length that they grow, and that may have changed as well but it is documented that the length to weight ratio has changed up to a point, a seen by trawler catches of fish well over 90lbs, much greater than the current world record. So it stands to be believed that stripers can grow larger in weight but will eventually stop growing in length at some point.

This also lends itself as to why at a certian point stripers weight growth will inhibit their ability to survive, as the fish grows larger in weight it stands to reason that it will become slower and an easier target for other predetory fish. So to see fish larger than 90lbs is very rare.

Back to the chart, on average I have caughten more stripers of 40" over the past 5 years that were under 26lbs and almost half of those were under 22lbs, but none less than 17lbs, the average weight of those stripers looking at my logs would be around 22lbs, the min weight on the chart.

In summation, stripers still have the ability to reach unfathomble levels over 90lb, but given the amount of years and diet and the number of other predetors to feed on them, the chances to see them are slim and very rare, and to catch one would to be the equivalent of winning $400 million dollars by only buying one lotto ticket.
post #4 of 19
In my experience the fish I have caught the last 5 years or so weigh less on average for a given length than the ones on the chart. I think this is due more to shifting bait availability than the stripers themselves.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Admittedly, the chart is old, I would guess 15 years or so, I can not state when the figures were actually printed.  Since that time the fishery has changed drastically, as we all know, with many many anomalies to take into consideration, none of which should not be taken into consideration.  Some of which are implied within your reply, which should also include what time of year it is and how well fed a fish is at that time and in-line with the availability of bait (as noted by Crabcakes).  For instance, the same fish coming off the spawn in the early spring is quite a different fish in the fall after feeding all season.

 

When I used the chart it was quite accurate and is still a guide for reference.....not exactness, and not with-standing your log, I still believe its quite close as a guide even with considerations given to include "outliers".  As I originally posted, ".....they were relatively accurate taking into consideration the "Min, Avg, Max"

 

You can see closely in the small print = "To help judge the weight of a striped bass in the field - for reference only".  Even back then "they" are noting a disclaimer with an understanding there is exception.  Even with your reference to the fish in your log hovering 40 inches still meet within the "min" range accordingly as you note.

 

With all due respect and not being adversarial at all I tend to disagree with your statement, in-part "....it takes a bit more time for striped bass to reach the poundage per length ratio that is seen on that chart."   I disagree mainly because since conservation efforts have successfully alleviated the issue's of DDT's, PCB's and phosphates from land run off due to poor drainage and raw sewage dumped directly in water ways....bait populations have exploded.  Fish are much better fed on a more consistent basis adding to their growth factor.  And I would also say the fish I've caught (always with some exception) all still seem to hit or come close to the Avg. weight as printed.  

 

As any book is re-released as a different edition.....so to I am sure the chart has been modified.....do you have an example of a similar and more resent chart to do a comparison to see what-if any changes were made ?  I think that would really be helpful and informative to share with all.  Thanks.  icon14.gif

post #6 of 19
What's the weight of the current world record - that's about as big as they get.... As far as the mythical 125lb'er that always gets mentioned, keep dreaming.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew C. View Post

What's the weight of the current world record - that's about as big as they get.... As far as the mythical 125lb'er that always gets mentioned, keep dreaming.


125lbs is the largest striped bass on record...the 'world record' striped bass (of whatever that new record was last year, 80lbs???) is only that because the record books only recognize fish caught on rod and reel - i.e they only recognize the same records as put forth by the IFGA and a netted fish will never be listed - do you think that 2664lbs is the largest great white ever caught - period??? It's listed as the largest fish ever caught by man...but only because it was caught on rod and reel. However, there have been other greatwhites that have either been found dead or captured by other means that were larger and in fact, the gw isn't even the largest fish ever subdue or found by man by any method (including simply stumbling across a dead one)...that title would go to the whale shark...there are a lot of examples where the IFGA recognized records aren't even close to being the largest specimen of a given species - why is it so hard to believe a 125lb striper was netted at some point in the modern era of fishing?
post #8 of 19
Here's a snippet taken from a NOAA site:

http://chesapeakebay.noaa.gov/fish-facts/striped-bass

Food: During different stages in their life cycle, striped bass feed on zooplankton, fish larvae, insects, worms, amphipods, Bay anchovy, spot, menhaden, herring, shad, white perch, and yellow perch. The breadth of what they eat highlights their importance in the Chesapeake’s food web.

Growth Rate: Growth rates are variable, depending on a combination of season, location, age, sex, and competition. Growth is more rapid during the second and third years of life, before striped bass reach sexual maturity, than during later years. After age four, growth may be 2.5 to 3 inches a year until age eight. Starting at age four, females grow faster than males. Growth occurs between April and October.

Maximum Size: Striped bass generally grow to lengths of up to 59 inches and weights of 55 to 77 pounds. The largest striped bass on record is a 125-pound female caught off North Carolina in 1891. In the Chesapeake Bay, the largest striped bass is just under 68 pounds.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by albacized View Post

Here's a snippet taken from a NOAA site:

Maximum Size: Striped bass generally grow to lengths of up to 59 inches and weights of 55 to 77 pounds. The largest striped bass on record is a 125-pound female caught off North Carolina in 1891. In the Chesapeake Bay, the largest striped bass is just under 68 pounds.

Oh, then it has to be true. My bad...
post #10 of 19
Do stripers have a tagging program like red drum do here in NC,SC, and Va?? That would put some clarity on how many years old the fish are vs their size.. jmo

They had tagging programs going on when you could keep a big red drum,and they are still going today.. They give plenty of info on what lengths they grow,and the extent of migration paterns.. They have even injected a solution into the fishes (forget the name of it,called "drumstone" rolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif ) inside of its head.. The solution would give scientist data on the ages of the drum.. One was found to be 63yr old.. Many of the regs today were based on this info..
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Drumdum........check out these 2 threads:

 

 

Bass - How Far do They Travel ??

 

Tagged stripers

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by albacized View Post

125lbs is the largest striped bass on record...the 'world record' striped bass (of whatever that new record was last year, 80lbs???) is only that because the record books only recognize fish caught on rod and reel - i.e they only recognize the same records as put forth by the IFGA and a netted fish will never be listed - do you think that 2664lbs is the largest great white ever caught - period??? It's listed as the largest fish ever caught by man...but only because it was caught on rod and reel. However, there have been other greatwhites that have either been found dead or captured by other means that were larger and in fact, the gw isn't even the largest fish ever subdue or found by man by any method (including simply stumbling across a dead one)...that title would go to the whale shark...there are a lot of examples where the IFGA recognized records aren't even close to being the largest specimen of a given species - why is it so hard to believe a 125lb striper was netted at some point in the modern era of fishing?

In regards to great whites (and many other fish) there have been many legitimate accounts of fish much larger than the record - whether it be on video, pics, etc. I have never seen on bit of evidence of the so-called 125lb bass from the 1800's, nothing, no pics, no first hand account in any book, etc. Yet people still talk about this mythical fish. In all the time since then, there hasn't been a single, legitimate, verified catch or sighting of a bass anywhere near that size. Think about that, 120 years and there's nothing. All the bass caught on rod and reel, all the bass that were caught commercially. Where are the other 100lb+ fish? Surely there must be more, no?

I put the 125lb bass in the same class as the 50lb blues off the azores, the easter bunny, santa, unicorns and the tooth fairy. When I see a pic of one I might consider believing it....
post #13 of 19
Taken into consideration the time of year and the amount of forage species there are to be had, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that these could be factors to a given weight to length ratio. But then again the food population isn't as good as it was and it has been noted before in other threads that one main staple, Menhaden, is still no where near where it needs to be, and that populations of biomass is still down.

It should also be noted that the main spawning grounds of stripers in the Cheasapeake are still facing dire straights from runoff causing nutrient enrichment in the waters and leading to large alge blooms, that are not being held in check due the lack of large numbers of Mehaden.

But there is also something that needs to be taken into consideration here, the loacations. I fish mainly in MA and RI, so the fact that you fish farther south could lead to the fact that the weights are different. One could assume that if all data from all regions was presented to a average the numbers would be different from where they are.

As we can see there is definately a regional persective here that one needs to look at in order to get a accurate depiction of what a "True" average might be.

But given the research of some scientists the length to weight ratio has changed, I have a chart somewhere that had stripers listed by length with the average weigh put to it, and the length needed to be extended on the stripers in order to reach the proposed average weight.

The things like DDT's and PCB's had a profound impact on the striper breeding, it was discovered that in the 80's when these chemicals were prevalent, a strong concentration could be found in the oils in the egg sac of stripers. These oils that contained the PCB's and DDT's were in fact killing off most of the young. Somehow over the course of a few years it was discovered that the stripers who laid eggs no longer included the oil in the egg sac, and thus far fewer chemicals made it into the young and more survived, though it came at a cost, it had a detrimental affect on the number that would hatch and survive the first year, it was shown that the survival rate of eggs was still low, but dramatically higher than the eggs that contained the oil.

From that it was proposed that the groth rate of stripers would change, because initial nutrients that were originally held in the oils were not there anymore, so it changed the fish slightly, and that effect would be that the stripers would still grow long, but the weight would take significant time to match its growth in length. This was his belief and research seemed to bck it up, but his retirement ended before a definitive conclusion could be made. But it stands to reason that given what has transpired over the last thirty or so years of striped bass that this could be the case.

It isn't without precedent that a species could adapt in a short period of time to a threat to the species and thus this adaptation could affect the body type. So to me I tend to believe that the length to weight ratio in the chart above might be a little off. even given that it was produced some 15 years ago, because of that were to be the case, and that it was taken from recent records and not those over the course of history, we would have been only about 10-15 years into the adaptive cycle that was discovered. and since the YOY numbers exploded in the 90's those fish would be about 12-17 years old today, and thus a new set of data would need to be made to see if indeed this theory is correct, as there would be more of a record of fish into the later stages of life.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

The 1st 4 paragraphs as written I couldn't agree with you more.  Especially when noting the availability of bait & location.  Simple put without getting into a diatribe (and I am sure there will be those that disagree as there always is),  I fish the south shore of Long Island, predominantly from Jones beach Inlet to Fire Island Inlet, Moriches....etc., starting in spring there is no lacking of bunker (Menhaden) starting from the West, large pods creep up the Jersey Shore into the NY Bite which includes North NJ, and in the Long Island Sound Little Neck Bay, Hempstead Harbor, etc....either South or North shore and move east accordingly.  So as per location....here we have plenty of bait and the BIG fish follow the bait pods (as well as the fishermen) feeding "at will" as the migration spreads east.  As the water temps become warmer with the season so too the variety of bait.  With pollution control, in my 25 years as a dedicated surf fisherman I have seen nothing less than a continued growth of bait population on Long Island.  In some years recently past I have witnessed "ACRES"  of "peanut" bunker.  I cannot attest to other geographical locations such as your area nor in the Chesapeake, however, I do keep myself educated in what does happen in the fishery, especially in the south as there is a direct effect to Long Island. However, because we are an island we have our own unique aquatic bio-sphere & we do maintain in-part our own autonomy related to fisheries as a whole because of the back-water systems that are spawning grounds for numerous fish species and crustaceans all being a food source.  Obviously, time of year and water temps play a significant role.

 

I do also agree with the remainder of what you wrote.....but more so as common knowledge & sense, generally the pollution types as noted had an effect on "EVERYTHING" not just Striper egg health, all of which had negative accountability up the entire food chain.  In addition, I agree if a wider eastern seaboard sampling was taken and averaged accordingly, averages per a "chart" would be better weighted.  In summary, I maintain the accuracy of the chart as noted, but will concede that there are factors that could skew the numbers such as location and taking into consideration other factors because of location.  However, for my area or better suited through my experience, they are accurate.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew C. View Post

I put the 125lb bass in the same class as the 50lb blues off the azores, the easter bunny, santa, unicorns and the tooth fairy. When I see a pic of one I might consider believing it....

I question the 125# bass, and I know for a fact that the giant 40 or 50 pound bluefish off Africa stuff is totally false. However, Maryland DNR shocked and netted a 92 pounder a while back, and I have to believe this fish, which wasn't weighed before being released, has got to be pushing close to 100, so a 125 pound fish, in an era of little fishing pressure, minimal pollution, and incredible forage availability....not so far-fetched that I'd compare it to santa.

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