HighEndHooker

Circle hook regulations

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I haven’t seen this posted anywhere here yet, circle hooks only for any natural bait (including artificial baits topped with natural baits, which even includes buck tails tipped with strips)
 

“On October 21, 2020, the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board (Board) of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) met electronically as part of the 79th Annual Meeting to review the specifications for implementing the new circle hook requirement along the Atlantic coast.

Approved in October 2019, the change to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) implemented coastwide harvest reductions put in place in 2020, while also requiring the mandatory use of circle hooks when fishing with bait to reduce release mortality in recreational striped bass fisheries.  As per the FMP, states are required to implement circle hook requirements by January 1, 2021.

At the October 21 meeting, each state provided its implementation plan complete with any requested exemptions for review and approval. While the proposed regulatory language varied slightly from state to state, at its core the meaning and intent was consistent across all proposals.  The only states that submitted exemption requests were Maine, Massachusetts and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (though the Potomac River Fisheries Commission subsequently withdrew its exemption request and modified its proposal for year-round circle hook requirement).

Maine asked that rubber or latex tube rigs be exempt from the circle hook restriction as long as they conform with the following: the lure must consist of a minimum of 8 inches of latex rubber tubing with a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached. Use of treble hooks is not allowed with these rigs.

Massachusetts sought a circle hook exemption for anglers fishing onboard for-hire vessels; furthermore, Massachusetts asked that the circle hook requirement for shore-bound and private shall not apply to any artificial lure designed to be trolled, cast and retrieved, or vertically jigged with natural bait attached.

Prior to withdrawing their exemption request, the Potomac River Fisheries Commission sought to have the circle requirement not be required prior to May 1 during catch and release season (barbless hooks required).

A motion was made by Tom Fote (NJ) and seconded by Dennis Abbot (NH) to approve the implementation plans but to prohibit any states from gear or user exemptions. A motion to substitute was then made by Megan Ware (ME) to approve the implementation plans and exemptions with the exception of the Massachusetts for-hire exemption; it was seconded by Justin Davis (CT). After lengthy discussion, the motion failed by a count of five in favor (RI, ME, MA, DE, NC), eight opposed (DC, PA, NJ, VA, NH, NY, MD, VA, NC PRFC), one null (CT), and two abstains (USFWS, NMFS).

The original motion was then called and it passed with a vote of 15 in favor (ME, NH, MA, RI, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, PRFC, VA, NC, NMFS, USFWS) and one opposed (CT) thereby approving and requiring the use of circle hooks by all recreational anglers when targeting striped bass with any kind of live or dead natural bait effective January 1, 2021. No exemptions were made for gear type or user groups and therefore this regulation includes shore-bound, private boat and anglers onboard for-hire vessels.

With no gear type exemptions allowed, the new circle hook requirement in place for 2021 includes but is not limited to such angling techniques as a tube and worm; eelskin rig; rigged eel; the addition of pork rind, squid, etc. to a bucktail jig; and any and all other scenarios where a natural bait is added to an artificial lure when targeting striped bass.”

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Lotta complaints on the New England forums about the effects on the tube and worm fishery which is widely practiced up here. 

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12 hours ago, bdowning said:

Lotta complaints on the New England forums about the effects on the tube and worm fishery which is widely practiced up here. 

Tube and worm, eelskin plugs, and buck tails with strips all gone. I’m not sure what it means for snag and drop, but I’d guess that it’s off limits now too. Can’t really fish eels from the surf at all anymore, lotta east enders are gonna throw a fit 

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I’m in favor of anything to help the fishery. The new rule doesn’t really apply to me since I already use circles except for the occasional snag n drop which I’ll gladly part with
 

My main question is how will they actually enforce this? What’s the protocol for “accidental” catches of stripers? If someone is using a BT tipped with a strip who’s to say they’re not targeting weakfish, fluke, or other species? Same applies to throwing bunker chunks for blues, worms for weakfish, clams for drum, and so on. That’s really the only loophole I see with it. I think the vast majority of anglers will abide but there’s always that percentage of people who play dumb or are legit unaware and if they challenge a summons I think it’s going to be hard to prove that they were targeting stripers since many baits carryover to other species. Hopefully that’s minimal though. 

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