thill

25" versus 45" striper...

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I live and fish in the Chesapeake Bay area of MD/VA.   Here, we can catch big fish for a very short time in the spring, then they migrate north.  Then, we get a shot at them in the fall, if they show up.

All summer long, the vast majority of the fish are 12-24" long, as this is where they live until they start migrating at around 28". 

 

Because of this, the size limit in the summer is 19", 2 per person, only one of them over 28" allowed.  So you get one big fish and one small one, or two small ones, if no big fish are caught.

 

I went out yesterday, and we were catching a nice mix of fish between 16 and 29".   Good fishing!  One fish after another grabbed our jigs, and it was a beautiful, cool overcast day.   

 

Then, I felt a super-solid hit, and I knew it was a big fish.   I struck hard, and my rod doubled and stopped cold, like I was hung on the bottom.  ...Oh yes, this was big.    

 

I kept tight and held still, waiting.  After what felt like a minute, the big fish shook it's head.   My rod lifted and dropped violently.  Oh, this was DEFINITELY a big fish!   The big fish now realized that it had been hooked, and the battle began..  First the fish ran straight at me, trying to get slack so it could shake the hook.   But I reeled like crazy and kept tight.   Then it took off on a long run, screaming drag.  I held on.   It raced toward me again, but I kept pace, and finally it dove deep, turning to use the current to it's advantage.  At one point, I felt my line hitting the rocks, and that was very concerning, but the line held.

 

After about 10 minutes of back and forth in the current, the fish finally appeared, huge head, wide body, broom-like tail, a massive fish for the relatively short length of 45".    It's funny how some fish can be so big or small for their relative length.  My friend grabbed the fish's jaw, and  realizing that he wasn't going to lift it one handed, he grunted as he used both hands to drag the fish up.   The fish was big, but it was all spawned out, it's belly flaccid.   I usually release fish this size, but I was here to get fish for family, so I kept it.    Kind of sad, but it is what it is.

 

Was looking at the two fish I kept, a 25" and the 45", and it struck me HOW MUCH bigger some fish are from others.   I had been happy to catch 25" fish, then came the 45" fish.   

25 vs.45 sounds like it should be twice as big, right?   But in reality, it's probably 8 to 10 times as big.  

 

The attached picture says it all.  The 25 incher looks like it's 12" long!

 

Perspective is a funny thing.

 

-TH

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That is a fat fish...nice job. As far as the regs, I live up in MA where the size limit is 28". However, my dad lives in VA Beach and the size limits there are even that much more confusing...inside an imaginary line that runs across the mouth of the Ches. Bay (VA Beach over to eastern shore), the limit is as you stated. But outside of that (open ocean), the regs are more in line with the states up here...If they matched the boundary with the Ches Bay/Bridge Tunnel, boaters would probably have no problem guessing to whether they are fishing under Ches Bay regs or out in the open ocean...but given that the boundary is outside, beyond the bridge/tunnel, I'm not sure how you would know for sure...but on the flip side, it's probably no different than trying to guess your inside or outside the 3 mile EEZ zone

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Hey, Ben, long time!   I hope all is well.  I haven't fished much for the last few years, so I've stayed away from fishing sites, as they are just frustrating when you can't go.

I hope to get out more this year.  Already off to a good start, but we will have to see how things go.

 

Albacized,

Yes, the regs here are pretty tight, and you had better read and re-read the regulations and boundaries!  In the VA bay, you can only fish for about a month in the spring, and then you aren't allowed to keep any striper from the July 1 through the end of November, and then only until Dec 31.    In MD, in the spring, the upper Chesapeake portion of the Bay and all rivers are protected so the fish can spawn.  After that comes "trophy season" where you are allowed ONE fish over 36" until most of the spawners are gone.  Then (usually around May 15) they open it up to the 2 fish limit, with only 1 over 28".  

 

We don't get much time to catch the bigger fish, but it's nice to get a couple a year.

 

-TH

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53 mins ago, Danny1199 said:

I would be curious what you thought the taste quality is between the big and little fish.  

that's what i was wondering as my "target keeper" if keeping any is usually as close to the minimum as possible (where i fish open season its 1 at 28").  not that often i'm in a situation to be comparing known same got that much apart.

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After reading that great narrative I wish I could see the pics. Not sure if it’s my phone or not, but congrats on your monster. From the description it sounds like you have a great catch there man. 

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3 hours ago, Danny1199 said:

I would be curious what you thought the taste quality is between the big and little fish.  

Yes, there is a difference in taste, based on size, as their diet changes. 

 

The smaller fish mostly eat silversides, and their flavor is more neutral - many describe them as, "sweeter." 

 

The bigger fish eat bunker, an oily, smelly baitfish, and their flesh is definitely more oily.  Some describe the bigger fish as having a more "meaty" taste, whereas others say the bigger fish taste "stronger" which is not a compliment.

 

Very often, regardless of what kind of fillet I give people, I get the comment that it "was the best fish they have ever eaten."   This has included snapper bluefish fillets, which many supposedly do not like.  In fact, several people told me I was wrong, when I told them it was bluefish, "because they HATE the taste of bluefish!"

 

That being said there is a trick to getting the best out of your fish.   First, you must cut the fish's throat while still alive, and allow it to bleed out, then immediately get the fish iced down, and finally clean and package it the same day.   The bleeding part is VERY important with "oily" fish, such as bluefish and mackerel.  And it definitely improves the flavor of larger stripers.  Makes the meat noticeably whiter when your fillet them, and most report a "cleaner" flavor, after trying this method.

 

Are the bigger fish for everyone?  Definitely not.  Usually, I release fish over 40", as I would rather keep fish in the 28-30" range.  But when I don't get to go often, I keep a couple, and let the rest go.

 

-TH

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Strange, but the pics I uploaded disappeared.  Not sure why...  Maybe it will come back later.  

 

Here is a youtube video of that fish being landed. Not sure if this is the right way to post it, but I'll try

https://youtu.be/sbZdHi4YlLs

 

-TH

 

Edited by thill

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Weird, I can't see your pics or watch the video? But I barely know how to check my email, much less figure out issues like this! Congrats.

Edited by Skkeeter

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