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Record Catch and Release Striped Bass – Does it really count?

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Alex Foster holding his potential world record catch and release striped bass, Thanks to Chris’ Bait and Tackle.

Catch and Release World Record

The striped bass season ended at midnight on December 31 in the State of Virginia, but a West Virginia angler managed to catch and release a potential world record striped bass. With the likelihood of the minimum size of bass now being limited to 35-inches, these “Catch and Release World Records” will become more common, maybe too common in this day of social media and attention-grabbing.

Alex Foster has caught and released what is likely to be an International Game Fish Association’s Catch and Release World Record for a striped bass he caught and released off Cape Charles. Foster was fishing with Sho-Nuff Sportsfishing. Charters. The fish measured 48.03 inches long, five centimeters longer than the current record and good enough to win him a release award from the Virginia Salt Water Fishing tournament.
Call me a pessimist . . .
but as a person that ran The Triple Crown of Fishing, from Rhode Island to New Jersey for 5 years in a row, I can say with authority that sadly, anglers cheat. A year didn’t go by without some type of controversy centered around cheating. It was profitable for us and the industry as excitement and participation increased. But the constant BS forced me to say screw it, and we shut them down.

Now I’m not calling him a cheater by any means, and I know the guy that he beat out by 5 centimeters. Let’s face it folk’s, being recognized by the IGFA for any kind of world record will entice the few cheats out there to figure a way to beat the system. I somberly predict that these Catch and Release IGFA records will be broken annually – forever!

First of all, it’s a 48-inch fish that registered 58 pounds on a boga. Now that is a big bass, bigger than anything I’ve caught. But the lure of recognition in fishing means too much to some.
Here are a few examples of to what extent anglers will go to win.
Terry Long was indicted in Texas for cheating. But the worst one of all is in the video below showing the World Famous "Big Bass King" Mike Long – no relation I think? – being about as low as you can go. Watching this guy snag 10-pound plus spawners and then take selfies literally turns my stomach. Here’s a guy that won over $150K cheating while fishing the bass circuit. He was found to be snagging big bass on beds. All the while he was taking credit and basking in the glory as the Big Bass King. There’s a great article on it at www.sdfish.com.

So I ask does an IGFA Catch and Release World Record actually mean anything when we have cheating anglers among us?

Hello Anglers! I started in the sportfishing business, with Nor'east Saltwater, a free weekly magazine, with the hottest fishing report found anywher...

Capt13

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What choice do we have these days ..... You need to buy an official igfa measuring board to make it official.
 
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Roccus7

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With the likelihood of the minimum MAXIMUM size of KEEPER bass now being limited to 35-inches, these “Catch and Release World Records” will become more common, maybe too common in this day of social media and attention-grabbing.

So I ask does an IGFA Catch and Release World Record actually mean anything when we have cheating anglers among us?
First George, I had to correct your typo, pardon my editing...

Second, no matter what criteria are used, if there's money involved, there will be cheating, doesn't matter if it's a fishing or a bocce tournament. Before tackle manufacturers offered large cash rewards for IGFA record fish, there were few, if any scandals involved with records, it was all a matter of personal pride and accomplishment.

Will tournament's decide that without dead fish to weigh & measure, there's no way to limit the cheating and just forget it? I hope so, who needs them? Unfortunately they're a homage to the past, "kill 'em all" mentality and need to become more respective of the resource.

At this point, pictures of fishers with Cheshire cat smiles holding a prize fish will be the lasting trophy that most of us will treasure. I'm pretty sure that Alex Foster is still tickled pink about his catch.
 

george

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First George, I had to correct your typo, pardon my editing...

Second, no matter what criteria are used, if there's money involved, there will be cheating, doesn't matter if it's a fishing or a bocce tournament. Before tackle manufacturers offered large cash rewards for IGFA record fish, there were few, if any scandals involved with records, it was all a matter of personal pride and accomplishment.

Will tournament's decide that without dead fish to weigh & measure, there's no way to limit the cheating and just forget it? I hope so, who needs them? Unfortunately they're a homage to the past, "kill 'em all" mentality and need to become more respective of the resource.

At this point, pictures of fishers with Cheshire cat smiles holding a prize fish will be the lasting trophy that most of us will treasure. I'm pretty sure that Alex Foster is still tickled pink about his catch.
Thanks for the edit (y). Tournaments contribute a lot to the local economy and I believe that Major League Fishing catch and release type tourneys should be applied to saltwater fisheries. That is until there are apps that can confirm the size and weight of a fish. Which actually isn't that far away.
 

Roccus7

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Thanks for the edit (y). Tournaments contribute a lot to the local economy and I believe that Major League Fishing catch and release type tourneys should be applied to saltwater fisheries. That is until there are apps that can confirm the size and weight of a fish. Which actually isn't that far away.
Agree on catch release salt water tourneys, which is a great idea if you must have a tournament. As you can tell, I've never been a fan of tournaments. I'm just not a fan of fishing being a media event; nothing runs the solitude and tranquility of fishing like an army of weekend warriors running about trying to catch the big one. There's a scene in "Jaws" which far better proves my point than any words I can muster.

However, your original question asked about "cheating" on length claims, and as long as it's a very easy cheat, there will always be a cloud of uncertainty involved. If you think running a weigh-in tournament was difficult, measure and release tournaments will make your early concerns pale in comparison.

What will you do:
  • Put "official" measurers along the beaches and every boat?

  • Limit the area fished so you don't need to have an army of referees?

  • Go with anglers' measurements, but insist on a photo with an "official" marker so the size can be verified? Great idea, but anyone with even basic Photoshop skills can "fix" this very quickly.

  • Plead with ASFMC to allow fish to be "landed" in live wells so you can have a good 'ole boy official weigh in with Bubba, Billy Bob and Ray Bob like them Bass Master Tournaments?
The list could go on and on. I'm thinking smart men like you will run like hell this coming year when you're asked to run a measure and release tournament...
 

george

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Agree on catch release salt water tourneys, which is a great idea if you must have a tournament. As you can tell, I've never been a fan of tournaments. I'm just not a fan of fishing being a media event; nothing runs the solitude and tranquility of fishing like an army of weekend warriors running about trying to catch the big one. There's a scene in "Jaws" which far better proves my point than any words I can muster.

However, your original question asked about "cheating" on length claims, and as long as it's a very easy cheat, there will always be a cloud of uncertainty involved. If you think running a weigh-in tournament was difficult, measure and release tournaments will make your early concerns pale in comparison.

What will you do:
  • Put "official" measurers along the beaches and every boat?

  • Limit the area fished so you don't need to have an army of referees?

  • Go with anglers' measurements, but insist on a photo with an "official" marker so the size can be verified? Great idea, but anyone with even basic Photoshop skills can "fix" this very quickly.

  • Plead with ASFMC to allow fish to be "landed" in live wells so you can have a good 'ole boy official weigh in with Bubba, Billy Bob and Ray Bob like them Bass Master Tournaments?
The list could go on and on. I'm thinking smart men like you will run like hell this coming year when you're asked to run a measure and release tournament...
I'm not a big believer in those live well/striper tubes. I equate those to a Livewell on a bassboat. I have seen a few of those Bassmaster tournament weigh-ins and when they leave there are more dead fish than you can imagine. Floating largemouth and smallmouth everywhere. The MLF tourneys catch weigh and release at the boat tourney has much higher survival weight and it's exciting to have up to date standings.

I can envision an app, that's attached to a certified scale that will weigh, confirm the weight, send the location and time of the fish caught, that is then safely released. Those weights would then be available live to other anglers in real-time avoiding the need to weigh all of the fish as they will see the weight they're trying to beat.

We all know that the last thing we want to hear on the run back is - Did you even catch one today? I never hear that ;)
 

Roccus7

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And the cancellations begin: From Today's Vineyard Gazette!


Martha’s Vineyard Derby Will Remove Striped Bass From Competition
The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby will eliminate striped bass from the competition this year, derby leaders announced Monday.

The committee voted unanimously at a meeting Jan. 30 to eliminate stripers from the upcoming 75th annual tournament in September and October, a press release said.

“It’s no secret the bass are struggling,” said Joe El-Deiry, chairman of the derby committee, speaking to the Gazette by phone Monday. “Striped bass are probably the most important fish that swim in these waters. It was the responsible thing to do.”

The decision caps months of internal debate within the 36-member derby committee and comes amid wide-ranging concern about declining stocks. New slot regulations adopted this year by federal regulators will restrict the size of stripers that can be taken, effectively prohibiting the taking of large fish.

The derby, which is widely recognized up and down the East Coast as a premiere saltwater fishing competition, offers prizes for the largest fish caught in four species categories: striped bass, bluefish, false albacore and bonito.
But Mr. El-Deiry said the decision to remove stripers from the derby did not stem directly from the new regulations.
“It’s not about that,” he said. “It’s about being leaders in encouraging a healthy stock for the future. We have always prided ourselves in our conservation efforts.”

This marks the second time in history that the derby has eliminated striped bass from the competition. The last time was from 1985 to 1993, when striped bass stocks had hit a historic low. The decision was controversial at the outset, but what was seen at first as a symbolic gesture was followed by a statewide moratorium on the taking of stripers. In 1990 stocks rebounded.

Today the stripers are in trouble again, and a swell of scientific, regulatory and conservationist efforts are aimed at restoring the dwindling population — which last year was found to have dropped well below the threshold considered sustainable by federal regulators.

The new slot limits adopted last October by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will require the release of any striped bass measuring less than 28 inches or more than 35 inches.

Mr. El-Deiry said in the end the decision came down to the simplest terms. “If the stripers are in trouble, we should be removing them,” he said. “We shouldn’t be figuring out the best ways to keep them in our tournament. It’s about being leaders in encouraging a healthy stock for the future. We have always prided ourselves in our conservation efforts.”

In the press release Monday, the committee explained its decision. “Because of the obvious significance of striped bass — to the recreational fishing community and to the derby — we strongly believe that the responsible decision is to completely remove it as an eligible species in the 2020 derby, including any catch-and-release component,” it said in part. “The derby committee will continue to partner with fisheries scientists and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries in an effort to thoughtfully and responsibly consider the role of striped bass in the derby . . . we encourage anglers and derby participants to continue to think about striped bass, even if not fishing for them.” It concludes:

“While it is disappointing to not include striped bass in the 2020 derby, we recognize it as a necessary decision, just as the committee did in 1985. We hope it again will be part of a larger effort that is successful in realizing the recovery of striped bass.”