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19 hours ago, l.i.fish.in.vt said:

i am sure CWitek,could point us in the direction of what thenumbers are currently,but i would have to say the total number of bass is not that far off that of ten years ago.it might not be as high as the peak but even if LI isn't seeing it there are as many if not more small fish than i have ever seen and i have been fishing all my almost 64 years. granted the number of larger fish isn't a shadow of what it was 10 years ago but i am talking total numbers of fish from 16 inches on up.i know on the Cape where i fish these days the differance of a 150 to 200 yards  off the shore can mean the differance between a boatload and a skunk

We're not sure where the numbers are now; we should find out within the next couple of months after the benchmark stock assessment is released.  For what it's worth, there was some vague talk around the table at the ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board meeting last week that suggested that the assessment suggest that numbers are down.  However, there was nothing definite, and we should wait for the final document before drawing firm conclusions.

 

The last information we have comes from a 2016 stock assessment update, which provided a snapshot of the state of the stock at the end of 2015.  What it tells us is this:

 

Peak abundance, in numbers, was about 297 million fish (age 1+) in 1997.  It has fallen since.  The most recent peak was in 2012, when the big 2011 year class pushed the Age 1+ up to 192 million fish.  The nonexistent 2012 year class resulted in that dropping, but the big 2015 year class resulted in another increase, so at the end of that year, the population was estimated at 180 million fish.  Since then, we have had year classes that ranged from below average to marginally above average (14.8 this year in MD, vs an average of 11.8), so the stock size in numbers of fish would have declined since then.

 

As you noted, big fish are also declining, with Age 8+ peaking at 11.3 million in 2004, and dropping to 7.6 million in 2010.  After that, the update didn't give hard numbers, but noted that fluctuations occurred, with numbers increasing in 2012 as the 2003s entered the 8+ range, then declined again, with further declines expected in 2016.  However, the 2011s should expand 8+ numbers again as they age into that class.

 

Bottom line is that there are fish around, but we ought to be careful how we treat them because there is no guarantee how many there will be in a few years.

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16 hours ago, jps1010 said:

We throw hunks of metal, and the scientists take a net and drag it along the beach.  This is how they determine the YOY index.  They take a sampling since they cannot count every Striped Bass in the ocean, nor do they have to.  We, as fishermen, are doing the same exact thing as the scientists except we use our rods and reels.  That's telling me and many others how many fish are around.

 

Not exactly true.

 

The difference between scientific samples and fishermen's samples is that scientists try to do their sampling in a random manner, in an effort to minimize sampling bias, and so often sample areas where fish are not present.

 

Fishermen, on the other hand, engage in very biased sampling because, in an effort to catch fish, they sample in areas where they expect the most fish to be.

 

Thus, even at times when fish are scarce, fishermen will catch more fish than the scientists with  their random sampling, will.  Thus, if the fishermen aren't seeing fish, it's a pretty good sign that things are headed downhill.

buddha162 and Fishy Fisher like this

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42 mins ago, CWitek said:

Not exactly true.

 

The difference between scientific samples and fishermen's samples is that scientists try to do their sampling in a random manner, in an effort to minimize sampling bias, and so often sample areas where fish are not present.

 

Fishermen, on the other hand, engage in very biased sampling because, in an effort to catch fish, they sample in areas where they expect the most fish to be.

 

Thus, even at times when fish are scarce, fishermen will catch more fish than the scientists with  their random sampling, will.  Thus, if the fishermen aren't seeing fish, it's a pretty good sign that things are headed downhill.

Thanks for the clarification.  So its even worse than I thought.  Wonderful.

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9 mins ago, jps1010 said:

Thanks for the clarification.  So its even worse than I thought.  Wonderful.

Yes; and management will likely fail, unless many people demand action; as managers can’t manage the fishery otherwise. 

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4 hours ago, CWitek said:

Not exactly true.

 

The difference between scientific samples and fishermen's samples is that scientists try to do their sampling in a random manner, in an effort to minimize sampling bias, and so often sample areas where fish are not present.

 

Fishermen, on the other hand, engage in very biased sampling because, in an effort to catch fish, they sample in areas where they expect the most fish to be.

 

Thus, even at times when fish are scarce, fishermen will catch more fish than the scientists with  their random sampling, will.  Thus, if the fishermen aren't seeing fish, it's a pretty good sign that things are headed downhill.

 

On other sites, this concept of random vs biased sampling is used as a cudgel against these studies...they treat it as a bug instead of a feature. Thank you for the explanation!

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15 hours ago, IslandSurf said:

.....Even in the surf tournaments the biggest blue was 6lbs that won the Montauk Classic

6Lbs????

WOW

That was a monster

 

 

Yesterday that was called snapper; today it is a tournament winning fish,

in Montauk.!!!!!

That should make us scratch our heads, not azzes.

What is next?

6oz porgies?

or even better

quarter pound bunker. will become tournament winning fish.

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Popasilov said:

6Lbs????

WOW

That was a monster

 

 

Yesterday that was called snapper; today it is a tournament winning fish,

in Montauk.!!!!!

That should make us scratch our heads, not azzes.

What is next?

6oz porgies?

or even better

quarter pound bunker. will become tournament winning fish.

 

 

 

 

So i made it out there on my boat today...There was a coast guard set up at the 3 mile mark watching all the boats.Anyway long story short had 30 sand sharks not a single bass.Didnt see any one catching.Fished from 1pm to 4pm.Epic fishing..This is why i dont fish with the boat crowds.Figured limted time out there let me go over there and see whats happening.And to top it off some idiot drove over my line while I was trolling my Mojo rig and almost broke my rod.Bad couple of hours for me out there today.

Edited by IslandSurf

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On 11/7/2018 at 7:16 AM, l.i.fish.in.vt said:

well i guess you guys are right fishing sucks,i hope everyone stays home.

I think Mr Witek in this very thread said something to the effect of fishermen are myopic and that serves as bias reinforcement. Elite sharpies catching regularly may not even be aware of the problem. I'm certainly not a sharpie, much less an elite one, and I can say without hesitation in my (myopic) experience this year is worse than the last which was worse than the year before. But I'm not alone in that assessment. It seems to be the majority opinion. Only a few are saying there is no problem. 

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I started few years ago.  Agree with Mr. Fischer. 2016 was definitely the best year for large bass. And this year has definitely been the worst. 

 

Whats confusing is where the small fish went? My area which is out front WSS, had a healthy small bass 20-30” bite from mid sep to mid oct on mullet and then sand eels. When the larger fish showed (for some not me) the sand eels remained but there’s been nothing but a very small # of rats on them.

 

Large fish have occasionally been in reach but it’s been right place right time   . right beach right jetty tip right cast...

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5 hours ago, t0phtrt said:

I started few years ago.  Agree with Mr. Fischer. 2016 was definitely the best year for large bass. And this year has definitely been the worst. 

 

Whats confusing is where the small fish went? My area which is out front WSS, had a healthy small bass 20-30” bite from mid sep to mid oct on mullet and then sand eels. When the larger fish showed (for some not me) the sand eels remained but there’s been nothing but a very small # of rats on them.

 

Large fish have occasionally been in reach but it’s been right place right time   . right beach right jetty tip right cast...

The Montauk Rips disagree with this comment,No matter what happens there always seems to be thousands of fish over 50lbs caught in the rips every year.

Edited by IslandSurf

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