Being an Angler
Striper Tournament Angler Education
The Tournament Committee emphasizes the importance of responsible fishing and compliance with the prohibition against fishing for stripers in Federal Waters. NOAA continues to implement the ban on fishing in these waters – the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – an area beginning 3 miles offshore and continuing to the 200-mile limit.
Considered one of the most important fin-fish along the Atlantic coast, striped bass stocks have greatly fluctuated, and, correspondingly regulated, since the early European’s settlement of North America. While recent assessments calculate the species at sufficiently supporting numbers, the popularity of sport fishing, and the elevated mortality rates, in combination with factors such as poor water conditions sparks significant concern for stronger attempts at conservation.
Use that Hook
Switching to Circle Hooks is without a doubt the most effective tool for recreational fishermen to support Striped Bass Conservation
Annually 1.3 million Stripers die following their release back into the water. Whether caught with bait, lure or fly, the majority of these fish perish as a consequence of injuries sustained by deep hooking.
One of the easiest ways to reduce post release mortality requires only a switch to the less invasive circle hook. The design of the circle hook has the points turned inward. With the sharp parts less exposed than the traditional j-hook, the hook is not as likely to catch on anything but the lip or jaw of the fish.
NH Fish and Game suggest rotating the circle hook point onto the bait. For hook removal, simply unhook from the fish with a counter clockwise action. Breaking long time habits may prove a bit more frustrating for jerking the rod tip to set the traditional hook will only serve to pop the circle hook out of the fish’s mouth. With the circle hook, allow the fish to take the bait before reeling in the line for the hook-up.
Releasing your catch promptly and properly will also reduce post release mortality
Catch and release mortality is most commonly caused by internal bleeding and organ damage sustained from deeply lodged hook points, as well as excessive handling and protracted fight time.
There are a number of important techniques and practices to adopt in order to increase the chances of survival for your released fish:
- When removing a hook grasp the lure by the shank and gently remove the hook from the mouth of the fish.
- Avoid using nets and excessive handling-keeping fingers away from the gills.
- With a deeply swallowed hook or when the hook is not easily removed, cut the leader and leave the hook in the fish. Hooks will eventually rust or free, as long as you don’t use stainless or gold plated.
- Avoid the prolonged fight that stresses the fish to the point of exhaustion and ultimately death. You can resuscitate a fish that appears exhausted by holding the fish in the water and gently moving the fish forward and back allowing the water to circulate over the gills.
Photograph your Fish AND Keep it Healthy
When removing your fish from the water for measurement and photo, make sure you support the weight of the fish with one hand under its belly, while using the other to subdue the fish by holding its lower jaw.
Fish don’t breathe out of the water, so don’t keep your fish out of the water any longer than absolutely necessary. Have your tape and camera ready for the photo then release your fish quickly and gently back into the water.
Other Important Information
NEW SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE REQUIREMENT
All persons age 16 and older recreationally fishing in coastal and estuarine waters of the state must purchase a N.H. Saltwater Recreational Fishing License. This includes anglers, spearfishers and persons using other gear types who wish to take, possess, or transport marine finfish for personal use and which are not sold.
For more information please visit – http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/marine/saltwater_license_FAQs.html
Striped Bass Tournament Participants to become members of the CCANH
All Tournament participants will automatically become members of the Coastal Conservation Association of New Hampshire. The CCANH has advised and educated the public on the conservation of marine animal and plant life, and other coastal resources both on shore and off shore. The objective is to promote, protect and enhance the present and future availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. Visit www.ccanh.org.