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Is it water quality, malnutrition or something else? I used to think it was malnutrition until this year with so much bait in the water it can't be. So what do you think? Has this been answered and I just missed it. This is a 22" rock from yesterday.
 

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It is believed that a combination of malnutrition ,(lack of a diet of oily fish like menhaden), pollution, and warm water are what's causing myco. in Striped Bass. It is a wasting disease of the organs. Atleast 60% of Striped Bass in the Chesapeake Bay have myco. Once lesions appear, it then becomes obvious.Many are infected with the disease and have no signs yet.The Bass that have obvious signs are returned to the water by fishermen. The ones that don't yet have noticable lesiions are harvested and consumed .Who knows how many are filleted and sold to unsuspecting consumers? Supposedly, they are safe to eat. Unfortunately, there's no way to cure the fish. They can not just dump large quanitys of an antidote in the Chesapeake Bay, even if they had one. Sad but true. Bon Appetite
 

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Personally I stopped eating all stripers caught in the bay due to this disease. Fun to catch on light tackle or fly fishing, but other than that, not something I'm going to consume.
 

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Most of what you are seeing is myco. In general mycobacteria grow slowly and pathologic species in humans tend to cause indolent types of diseases which tend to progress slowly but which can eventually prove fatal to the host- tuberculosis, leprosy, and swimming pool granuloma (also know as fish tank granuloma) are examples of human mycobacteria infections.
Mycobacterium shottsii seems to grow best at 73° to 86°. M. pseudoshottsii, and M. chesapeaki are also responsible for some striped bass infections, and a 2005 report from VIMS found granulomas which had spleen samples which tested positive for myobacterium species in 52% of the wild fish caught in the Chesapeake Bay for this study. Using various testing techniques and sampling different sites of the 181 fish in the study, infection rates test positive in up to 79% of the sample. At least 10 species of mycobacterium have been cultured form Chesapeake Bay wild rockfish.
I believe that most striped bass infected with Myco do not die from it, at least not right away. I strongly suspect that many of the infected fish are able to recover significantly when the water temperature drops into the mid-60's or below, and their disease becomes more evident when water temps rise into the 70's when the myco organism begins to thrive once again. Thus you see "clean" fish in the spring season, few lesions until late June, and by late August there are quite a few fish on the end of your line that you don't even want to touch. As water temps drop, the fish's immune systems help the fish to recover and the sores on the skin regress; likely the granulomas on the internal organs also regress.
I was a guest on a trip 2 days ago and most of the fish we caught had a small lesion or two which would be easily missed if one didn't look closely, several more had multiple small lesions, but there were a few with one to three really nasty, large, grody skin lesions. I expect to see more of these in the coming weeks.
 

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Flycatcher is 100 % correct in what he posted. However, remember that some fish get scrapped on pilings or crab traps and will also exhibit some marks.

Cooking the meat kills any Myco. present. I don't eat many during the summer months.
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