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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm trying to obtain knowledge, not be a smart arse...

1. 28" to 35" are not breeders yet?
2. 41"+ are past "prime" breeders?
3. 35-41" are our "prime breeders"?
4. Are all the "Big'uns" females? How big do the males git?

I'm trying to figger out the regs, not being political. I am tryin' to learn Rock-science, I guess. I am not a tree hugger.

I will not allow a Rock with eggs to be landed on my boat. Not because of tree-huggin', but for the future.

Y'all say them dang big 'uns 40"+ don't taste worth a dang anyway. I'd rather a buncha 28"er's. My largest Rock to date on my boat is 24". Largest yet was with 27 Sailfish on 12-15-06 at 37". I will keep a "trophy" if I best one of these unless it has eggs,

I appreciate the info, as this is the 1st "trophy" season for me. I didn't really fish until mid-Sept. 06.

Thanks,
Jim
 

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jim
the idea is that females are larger than males,so this is an attempt to reduce the amount of large breeder females taken. mid 30" females produce the most eggs and spawn every year. larger, they spawn every 2-3 years. almost all the males are under 30" so most of the legal fish will be female. since too many migratory fish were taken last year, they needed to reduce the number this year in MD. basically all males over 16" and females over 20-22" are breeders.
 

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We have caught 40'' males-most are smaller.The idea of the slot is too reduce how many rock get killed (taken).The strong year classes of1993/1996 are in the 36-41'' range.That's the size fish that we will C/R alot of trying to get the smaller ones.Va. has a 28-34'' no kill slot-go figure.There are alot of fish out there-we (everyone) just need to be careful and release the slot fish.Look for better regs. in the next few years.No matter when the fish is killed-it no longer spawns-whether at 18'' or 40''. Skip
 

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Rockfish taste better the bigger they get. I'll take a 42" fish over a 24" fish any day of the week.

MD rockfish regulations are an interesting product of fisheries politics. Not meant to be logical...

Not easy to tell whether or not a fish has viable eggs without cutting it open to inspect (not recommended if you intend to release it when you find the telltale green egg sacks). Rockfish girths vary greatly depending on what they've got in there - could be anything from bunker to crabs to rocks to eggs.
 

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Rockfish taste better the bigger they get. I'll take a 42" fish over a 24" fish any day of the week.
WHAT!!!!!! I've had Rockfish of many sizes and I don't think I will keep more than one or two bigguns this year. I'll take a 22" fish over a large fish any day of the week.

Somebody post a poll- Tastiness of bigguns vs. littleuns

-JB
 

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Some of what I've learned about rockfish by reading books and magazines, listening to lectures and actually being on the water include the following:

Big females produce more and healthier eggs and are proven spawners.

It's not that hard to tell whether a striper is a male or female in the Spring - (check the vent for stress and give it a gentle squeeze) I did this on a 37 incher last year before I released it and white milt came out. Beleive me, there are plenty BIG males out there.

The smaller stripers (20- 28") taste better than the larger ones. (This is true of most fish) In fact, the larger ones are more apt to have contaminants in them such as mercury for the mere fact that they're older.

41 inch plus stripers are DEFINATELY NOT past prime spawning. Rockfish can get much bigger.
 

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JB - don't know how to post a poll, but I vote for the 18-24 inch for taste.
 

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The size limit had nothing to do with science or trying to protect the fish. It was all political and economic.

Maryland had a quota a 45,000 fish 2 years ago and 60,000 last year. The Atlantic States Fisheries Management Commission is a body that is made up of representatives from all up and down the Atlantic coast and they are the people who set the quota and okay our limits to get us within that quota. They also are the ones who say how many fish we caught and they say we exceeded our quota 2 years in a row and we had to be punished. Had nothing to do with whether the rockfish numbers are declining, Maryland just had to pay for catching too many fish.

This year Maryland went into this trying to get out from under the quota and be put in with the rest of the states, but we got voted down 7-6 at the meeting. The DNR did get the word quota changed to target for this season.

Our target is 30,000 fish this year. In order to get to this number our DNR decided to keep the full length of the season and figure a way of getting under the number. The economic reason for this is the charter boats make most of their money during the trophy season and with the season already a week short because of the calender they wanted to keep that season as long as possible. Since we alledgedly caught over 70,000 fish last year, and most were between 35 & 42 and that size fish is made up of a dominate year class they put them off limits to keep.

They are hoping that gets us under the number 30,000. No science was involved just statistics of what we caught and what they hope we will catch this year.

A biomass survey will be done this year to tell us if the numbers of Stripers are falling off. If they are, every state will pay next year in shorter seasons and larger limits, but this year had nothing to do with that, just punish Maryland for catching too many fish the last two years.
 

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I think "punish" might not be the right word. Forgive me if I am naive, but I do believe that the slot regulation is in order to protect the prime spawners. Female rockfish may not reach sexual maturity until eight years (some do faster of course). The slot regualtion will protect these fish. We occupy a special place in the proliferation of the rockfish species. The Chesapeake bay is home to 70% - 90% of the Atlantic population. It stands to reason that Maryland should have different regualtions than the rest of the east coast. I don't know much about Virginia, so I don't want to talk about what they should or shouldn't do. But the Chesapeake is a very different thing in Virginia. Look at the fish species. Personally, I would be willing to accept a complete moratorium if the species were still in danger. I wish that there was more information available to fisherman and conservationalist.
 

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It's not that hard to tell whether a striper is a male or female in the Spring - (check the vent for stress and give it a gentle squeeze) I did this on a 37 incher last year before I released it and white milt came out. Beleive me, there are plenty BIG males out there.
Pervert........:D :D
How's it goin Tim Ol' boy.....:thumbup:
 

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I heard the reasoning I stated from a member of the Maryland DNR at the Essex MSSA monthly meeting in Febuary and he did say it had little to do with protecting the fish.

He also said that from the time the moritorium started until about 5 years ago the population was growing exponetially. About 5 years ago it leveled off. At that time they were doing biomass studies yearly, but with budget cuts it is now being done every other year.

A study on the biomass will be done this year to see if Maryland's 60-70,000 fish during the trophy season or the much larger amount of fish caught in the wintering locations like the CBBT have the populations in decline now. If it has seaons will probably be restricted everywhere, if there is still a healthy population things will continue as is with Maryland possibly coming out from under the Target
 

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Sorry, I just don't get? Yes, MD anglers are rumored to have exceeded out limit last year. Not sure who all these folks are I did not have one DNR stop me anytime last year. Knowing the slaughter that took place this past winter down at the CBBT and the fact the Atlantic Fisheries appear to have looked the other way. I guess these fish are not breeders when in Virgina waters? MD punishment is a joke.
 

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I would have been happy if they just made the regs 28-35, this would have made things simpler. I thinks there going to be a lot of confusion with the interp of the regs . Hope everyone has a good method for measuring, 35-41 isn't going to be easy to eyeball by most weekend warrior thus putting stress on the fish.

I prefer the taste of the 18-24 females !
 

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The largest amount of fish, that the scientists say will be in the bay, will be between 35" and 41".

The ASMFC technical committee (made up of scientists) is the final say as to sizes.

In their estimation, if you take that slot out of the equation, Maryland will harvest less fish.
 

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I think "punish" might not be the right word. Forgive me if I am naive, but I do believe that the slot regulation is in order to protect the prime spawners. Female rockfish may not reach sexual maturity until eight years (some do faster of course). The slot regualtion will protect these fish. We occupy a special place in the proliferation of the rockfish species. The Chesapeake bay is home to 70% - 90% of the Atlantic population. It stands to reason that Maryland should have different regualtions than the rest of the east coast. I don't know much about Virginia, so I don't want to talk about what they should or shouldn't do. But the Chesapeake is a very different thing in Virginia. Look at the fish species. Personally, I would be willing to accept a complete moratorium if the species were still in danger. I wish that there was more information available to fisherman and conservationalist.
Punish is the correct word in my opinion. What good it does to punish one state is beyond me. We are not getting a fair number of fish regardless. As far as conservation goes... I all for it... but for it to work it HAS TO INCLUDE ALL COASTAL STATES!!! Punishing MD is a bunch of ****. In reality all that will happen is that a good ol boy from md will release his prized catch because of a stupid slot limit, then the fish will swim out of the chesapeake bay and get hung up in some gill net elsewhere on the coast. Now add in the number of fish 35-41" that will be killed trying to get the stinger out of the gills. I just get in a really really pissy mood when i think about this topic especially when the motive driving the stupid slot limit is NOT CONSERVATION it is TO PUNISH MARYLAND. DONT YOU LOVE POLITICS.

I have a question that no one has been able to answer that i have asked. What/went in a rockfishs life determines if/when they will become a coastal migratory fish or stay resident to the chesapeake bay.

I really feel that there are two completly different types of rockfish which should be managed completely different. We do catch 40" fish in august around here and i am quite certain they are not coastal migrating fish.
 

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Hey Jim- That 24"er will look like a mullet compared to the biggun you will catch this spring:bigfish:
 

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Phil is correct. The slot has nothing to do with spawning fish. It is all about Maryland being PUNISHED for going over the quota. It's so political it stinks.
 

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rock.jpg

i found this on my laptop. it is data from a few years back from rockfish taken from spawning rivers in the chesapeake. the age was determined by sectioning the otoliths. as you can see, only one of the females are under 28" while the majority of males are smaller. 100% of the fish (in this study) under 26" are male. since one male can mate with several females in a spawning season, makes sense that the regs allow you to take the smaller fish. note that the majority of the fish in the rivers are male. similar studies taking fish from the bay mainstem show majority female, but similar size/gender patterns
 

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I have a question that no one has been able to answer that i have asked. What/went in a rockfishs life determines if/when they will become a coastal migratory fish or stay resident to the chesapeake bay.
again if you look at the otoliths of the fish, you can tell if they were in salt or fresh water based on the isotopes of the atoms that make the otolith rings (an inner ear bone, these grow like tree rings) Almost all fish over 24" are shown to enter saltwater after spawning season. those fish that are above this size in the bay in the summer are probably re-entering the bay, but are very likely to have joined the migratory ocean population.

there is a glut of bay fish between 10-18" i hope someone is looking into wheter these fish are growth stunted by competition for food
 
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