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Probably going to start another firestorm, but:

First, let me say that I believe in good C/R techniques. However, this video (with biologists onboard) shows that rockfish are not the sensitive creatures that many on this board profess. Remember, these are egg laden females caught in late Dec. and early January. They are catching those fish trolling. I can't tell you the number of times I'm told that "dragging" those fish behind the boat causes them to release eggs, or worse, places so much stress on them, that they die.

The next thing you notice is that they net these fish, and it's not a rubber net!!! Oh the horror. Watch closely, you might even see a hand slipped under the gill plate and lifted !!

Finally, watch how they release them.

As I said, I try to practice good C/R. I get the fish quickly to the boat buy using gear that will do the job. Once boat side, I usually lip, or Boga Grip, the fish. Then, I take a quick picture and back over the side (gently) she goes.

This video which was made to show how they are tagging the fish in order to preserve the species, proves that these fish are not the "dainty" specimen professed by many. Also, the fact that Maryland is considering another slot limit, proves that the statement made by the MCBA (All the slot fish died) is a fallacy.

I can't wait for the ice to melt so I can get out and pull my PSCR spread:)
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Video proves the often repeated claim that C & R of stripers is the major cause of striper mortality, or maybe not.
 

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Video proves the often repeated claim that C & R of stripers is the major cause of striper mortality, or maybe not.
What this proves to me is that the guys who profess to fish up and down the coast are right that all the big fish are gone, they have been fished into near extinction, and the population has been decimated.......or maybe not
 

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Lots of theories when it comes to rockfish, but most of us trust our direct experience more than theories.

What I can say is that from the year 2000 to 2011 my buds and I fished in three different 23' CC's--Parker, SeaCraft and Regulator. These open boats are not boats you want to regularly go 15 to 25 miles offshore during winter, even if legal to do so. At least I do not. Since I live a long way from the water, we tried to get 2-4 good days to make it worthwhile. Some of those winters were very mild and we were able to do multi day trips a number of times.

We launched from Ocean City, Chincoteague, Wachapreague, Kiptopeake, VA Beach and Oregon Inlet. The fish typically moved south as the water cooled up north, but sometimes they would double back north following the bait. A network of both charter captains and other recs was necessary to make these trips work. Some days it took from daybreak to afternoon to locate the fish, but once you did, it was game on. One day we left VA Beach and wound up 70 miles south before finding them. That was not good because the fishing time was cut short to get back by dark, but it was better than not catching.

I only remember one day we did not find them at all. Some days we logged well over 100 miles. Winter was definitely my favorite time to catch big fish and lots of them. During those 12 years all fish were returned to the water. If you missed that fishing you missed something special.

Captain Rodgers in the vid admitted that the winter fishing inside the fence has been very poor in recent years. Other VA fishermen would say it has been non existent. Captain Rodgers had a theory that those fish offshore could have always been there. I think that is correct. He also said the fish that charters used to catch near shore could just be gone. He puts faith in the 2011 YOY for filling the void. That is a lot to expect but hope he is right.
 

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Lots of theories when it comes to rockfish, but most of us trust our direct experience more than theories.
Sadly management only turns a deaf ear to this. MRIP is irreparably broken, and our experiences only serve as confirmation. We need to update the "science" allegedly used in regulation. Random phone calls ("rec surveys") and outdated studies (bycatch and release mortality) using poor methodology are going to be the bane of many fisheries, not just striped bass.
 

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Lots of theories when it comes to rockfish, but most of us trust our direct experience more than theories.

What I can say is that from the year 2000 to 2011 my buds and I fished in three different 23' CC's--Parker, SeaCraft and Regulator. These open boats are not boats you want to regularly go 15 to 25 miles offshore during winter, even if legal to do so. At least I do not. Since I live a long way from the water, we tried to get 2-4 good days to make it worthwhile. Some of those winters were very mild and we were able to do multi day trips a number of times.

We launched from Ocean City, Chincoteague, Wachapreague, Kiptopeake, VA Beach and Oregon Inlet. The fish typically moved south as the water cooled up north, but sometimes they would double back north following the bait. A network of both charter captains and other recs was necessary to make these trips work. Some days it took from daybreak to afternoon to locate the fish, but once you did, it was game on. One day we left VA Beach and wound up 70 miles south before finding them. That was not good because the fishing time was cut short to get back by dark, but it was better than not catching.

I only remember one day we did not find them at all. Some days we logged well over 100 miles. Winter was definitely my favorite time to catch big fish and lots of them. During those 12 years all fish were returned to the water. If you missed that fishing you missed something special.

Captain Rodgers in the vid admitted that the winter fishing inside the fence has been very poor in recent years. Other VA fishermen would say it has been non existent. Captain Rodgers had a theory that those fish offshore could have always been there. I think that is correct. He also said the fish that charters used to catch near shore could just be gone. He puts faith in the 2011 YOY for filling the void. That is a lot to expect but hope he is right.
Bill; I hope I'm interpreting your posts correctly. Sticking ONLY to the question of these fish ability to survive C/R handling, I assume you are also saying that you agree with me. Correct?
I know that when you take your trips to New England, you hope to catch many fish during the day and return them in the best shape possible to continue to thrive.

C/R, and especially C/R in colder water, is not the "demon" many make it out to be.
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C/R, and especially C/R in colder water, is not the "demon" many make it out to be.
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It's really one of the only scapegoats that's left to explain a declining population and justify draconian regulations. Never mind the abundance of thriving fisheries employing open C&R on fish far less hardy than striped bass.
 

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Bill; I hope I'm interpreting your posts correctly. Sticking ONLY to the question of these fish ability to survive C/R handling, I assume you are also saying that you agree with me. Correct?
I know that when you take your trips to New England, you hope to catch many fish during the day and return them in the best shape possible to continue to thrive.

C/R, and especially C/R in colder water, is not the "demon" many make it out to be.
5th
I agree totally with you Marty. I take much more care in landing fish quickly and releasing them also quickly than was shown by the biologists in the vid. This is not a criticism of them. I only do C & R and think in cool water stripers are very durable.

When we fished in the ocean in winter we cast 30# braid on Calcutta TE 401's with 40# leader on MH rods. Also used single hook leadheads with 9" shad. These large baits did not go down the fish's gullet. Nets were not used and most fish never left the water. I think that winter fishing was some of the "cleanest" fishing done.
 

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drmiller- Thanks for the link. I think the NC Fisheries video shows biologists just trying to do their job catching, measuring etc and getting the fish back as quickly as possible. Trolling yeah its efficient, and working their samples very efficiently maybe a little hard but it is 35-40 degres. This is critical data collection for the Winter biomass assessment. The comm Capt recognized the approved reduction in coastal catch limits and seemed good with it and that was positive. He also recognized the significance of the spawn classes and has hope for those for the future (eg 2011). WB- you are way more familiar than me as I really only see the fish when they get up here in Cecil (I dont don't chase them and they have not really shown up here in 5 yrs)...No inshore winter fishery around CBBT (usually 30-35 in fish back when they did), all other fish are 15 miles out in the winter...will the slot limit help? I think it is a great idea. Might take a couple yrs but it is a start.... short of moratorium.
 

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Great Comments ......

drmiller- Thanks for the link. I think the NC Fisheries video shows biologists just trying to do their job catching, measuring etc and getting the fish back as quickly as possible. Trolling yeah its efficient, and working their samples very efficiently maybe a little hard but it is 35-40 degres. This is critical data collection for the Winter biomass assessment. The comm Capt recognized the approved reduction in coastal catch limits and seemed good with it and that was positive. He also recognized the significance of the spawn classes and has hope for those for the future (eg 2011). WB- you are way more familiar than me as I really only see the fish when they get up here in Cecil (I dont don't chase them and they have not really shown up here in 5 yrs)...No inshore winter fishery around CBBT (usually 30-35 in fish back when they did), all other fish are 15 miles out in the winter...will the slot limit help? I think it is a great idea. Might take a couple yrs but it is a start.... short of moratorium.
I have been fishing for 50+ years, maybe 20 for Rockfish. One thing that impressed me about the biologists tagging these fish was that they truly seem to love what they do. They take their job seriously and aim for the lowest mortality possible. They devote a major part of their careers to improving the striped bass stocks. I for one am glad to have them in our corner. Dave
 

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Caring about the resources is the big difference with guys that are thinking about the future of the resources. Takes a special kind of person to acknowledge that doing the right thing goes a long way. Hoping the rockfish rebound somehow and future fisherman get to enjoy them. I don't fish often, but when I do, it's nice to catch at least a couple of keepers. Being on the water is great and fishing is something that coincidences with owning a boat. Same with crabbing.
 

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ummm, that's not biologists tagging those fish in that video, that's a charter, the charter captain said he sometimes has biologists on his boat to help.. just a little FYI
 

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I think I'm going to keep a bunch of those green twist ties for produce bags onboard. Catch a ton of fish, keep them in the live well, and wave the tags at DNR when they come over to investigate:clapping2:
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Good luck Marty. Just to let you know I'll be there for you brother to bail you out and I'll even buy that judge when it goes up for auction. As you know with your electronics, only honest hard working people go to jail. Sorry for bringing up a sore subject!
 
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