DNREC Announces New Fishing Rules for Striped Bass - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNREC Announces New Fishing Rules for Striped Bass

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. -- DNREC's Division of Fish & Wildlife announced the new recreational striped bass regulation will be effective on May 11, 2015. 

The regulation change brings Delaware into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Striped Bass Fisheries Management Plan, which has been amended to require a 25-percent reduction in both the recreational and commercial striped bass harvests in 2015. 

The new regulation reduces recreational harvest through changes in size limits, but maintains Delaware's current seasons and possession limits.

“This regulation maximizes opportunities for all of Delaware's recreational anglers to catch striped bass, the favorite fish of many of our anglers, while also achieving the mandated reduction in Delaware's recreational harvest,” said Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis.

Under the new regulation, a recreational angler is allowed possession of two striped bass (in any combination) from 28 to 37 inches or 44 inches or greater, with the season open year-round for all state waters except those covered by the slot season or spawning closures. The regulation retains the popular summer slot striped bass season of July 1 through Aug. 31 in Delaware Bay, Delaware River and their tidal tributaries, but with a reduced slot season size limit of 20 to 25 inches. The slot season possession limit remains at two fish.

Long time fisherman Bill Baker, Jr. says the new rules could create problems for commercial and recreational fishers, especially for those who use expensive charter boats.

"They're not cheap. They can run a couple $100 per charter for six people going on a boat," said Baker. "Now they have to throw those fish back and some of the charter captains aren't happy about it."

But one charter captain, Brian Wazlavak, says he's not worried about the size change.

"I don't think it'll have too much of an effect. DNREC did a good job as liberal, as liberal as they could for the season," the charter captain said.

The spawning season closure remains in effect from April 1 through May 31, with no striped bass to be kept from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries north of and including the south jetty of the C&D Canal, or the C&D Canal and its tributaries. Striped bass caught in these areas during spawning season must be immediately released back into the waters.

Some fishing experts say the types of hooks anglers use can also help protect the fish.

"A circle hook automatically sets and hooks in the corner of the mouth," said C.J. Jarrell, who's a veteran fisherman and host of an online fishing show called Deep Blue Mayhem. "It's designed that way where it doesn't gut hook and it's for conservation."

Jarrell says gut hooks, as opposed to the circle hook, can be harmful to fish that need to be released once caught because the fish can die by swallowing the hook.

The commercial striped bass weight quota for 2015 has automatically been reduced by the required 25 percent in accordance with established regulation procedure.

As for striped bass regulations Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources says Chesapeake Bay anglers can catch one fish between 28 and 36 inches, or anything larger than 40 inches. This rule goes into effect April 18 until May 15.

After that period, anglers can catch two fish larger than 20 inches but only one of those fish can be bigger than 28 inches. That rule is in effect between May 16 and December 20 in Maryland.

For more information on striped bass regulations, call the Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914 or visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Fisheries.

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