Massachusetts Enacts Striped Bass Conservation Regulations

Circle Hooks Required for Private Anglers in 2020

migrating striper

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has implemented two new striped bass conservation regulations aimed at reducing release mortality:

• Effective immediately, it is unlawful for any fisherman to gaff or attempt to gaff striped bass measuring less than 28 inches total length, and for a commercial fisherman fishing on an open commercial striped bass fishing day to gaff striped bass measuring less than 34 inches total length.

• Effective next year (2020), recreational anglers not fishing aboard for-hire vessels will be required to use inline circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with whole or cut natural baits. This will include fishing with whole or cut natural baits while in possession of striped bass as well. This circle hook mandate will not apply to natural baits attached to an artificial lure to be trolled, jigged, or casted and retrieved (e.g., tube and worm). A hook is considered to be an in-line circle hook only if it is manufactured so the barb of the hook is in-line with the shank and bend of the hook and is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a circular or oval shape (see image below).

The most recent striped bass stock assessment found the species was overfished with overfishing occurring. In addition, it demonstrated that release mortality from the recreational fishery is the single largest source of fishing mortality (48%). Accordingly, these actions have been taken to reduce release mortality in our fisheries. The prohibition on gaffing undersized striped bass (as opposed to all striped bass) takes into consideration safety concerns associated with expediently removing large striped bass from the water. In-line circle hooks are proven to substantially reduce striped bass release mortality compared to other hooks (e.g., j-hooks or offset circle hooks) by being far more likely to hook the fish in the lip or the mouth and not the gut or the gills. The circle hook mandate is targeted at private recreational anglers because this segment of the fishery is primarily hook-and-release and accounts for the vast majority of recreational striped bass catch in Massachusetts. We expect the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will also take action this year to implement coastwide conservation measures for 2020 aimed at reducing overall fishing mortality.

For more information regarding the management of striped bass in Massachusetts, please visit our website (www.mass.gov/marinefisheries) or call DMF at 617-626-1520.

Circle Hooks for Stripers DMF

113 on “Massachusetts Enacts Striped Bass Conservation Regulations

  1. James Jewkes

    Would like to know why for hire can use offset hooks and why not make everyone use inline circle hooks

    1. Kevin Blinkoff

      Note that this also only will apply only to private recreational anglers, not commercial (hook and line) fishermen targeting striped bass.

    2. Marion Cobretti

      Because the offset circles increase mortality in RELEASED fish. For-hire fisherman are keeping the fish anyway. The law is to reduce mortality rates in the fish caught and released.

  2. Mike Hawk

    Wasn’t gaffing undersized fish already illegal? Real big steps being taken…….

    1. Kevin Blinkoff

      Technically, you could have gaffed undersized fish in a “non-lethal way,” such as by lip-gaffing, and then released them.

      1. Jeff

        Like what? We already have some of the tighter bass laws… Crack down on idiots who don’t know how to land and then release shorts. And illegal fishing . We are very lucky here we have it good

    2. Jeremy Furtado

      What gets me is the fact that right now bass stretch from nj to maine . Thats not a stock in decline. Also there are breeding populations in the Hudson river ,Charles river and mystic river. None of these fish were included in the stock assessment. Also Maryland and Virginia are still gillneting “rockfish” 100 fish per day 5 days a week .

  3. Paul Beaulieu

    How will this effect fly fishing, with fly’s not being “whole or cut natural bait

    1. Jeffrey Hermanski

      Same way the article states that it does not affect artificial lures

    2. Adam

      Not effected. If you’re not using whole or cut natural bait you can fish with whatever you want. The circle hook restriction only applies to bait fishing excluding artificial lures with a bait teaser and snag and drop.

  4. Jim Augenti

    Have fun reaching over for you keeper off the back beaches with the white sharks around….chomp, chomp….?

  5. Jerome

    So what no lures at all next year? Kinda stupid how they are regulating the common fisherman more than they are the commercial guys that are actually diminishing the number of fish

  6. Glenn Brown

    That’s Bullshit ! If Massachusetts is so damn concerned about Striped Bass then eliminate the commercial fishery and charter should be using circle hooks to ! Total Bullshit!

    1. aAL

      You realize recreational fishing accounts for significantly more striped bass mortality than commercial fishing, right?

    2. Bruce Peters

      from the article…..”In addition, it demonstrated that release mortality from the recreational fishery is the single largest source of fishing mortality (48%). Accordingly, these actions have been taken to reduce release mortality in our fisheries. “

  7. Tim Barber

    Paul – from the article. ” This circle hook mandate will not apply to natural baits attached to an artificial lure to be trolled, jigged, or casted and retrieved (e.g., tube and worm).”

    1. Son#1

      Your friendly neighborhood fish and game enforcement officer will be more than happy to issue a citation to remind you.

      1. Jon

        Unlikely. They are too busy doing split shift overtime at public pools!!! They don’t enforce hardly anything.

      2. Paul

        Ha!! Thats the funniest thing I’ve heard, i can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen them when fishing anywhere in the cape except for the parking lots sitting in there vehicles!

  8. Steve polenski

    So this reminds me of the 2nd amendment. Take the guns away from law abiding citizens and slap the non abiding on the hand. So that being said these ahole poachers get a slap on the wrist while the rest of us suffer the consequences of the fish being depleted. Take there boat,car ,and anything else they are carrying,and fine the hell out of them.

  9. Steve

    Fine the heck out of these poachers. take their boat take their car and anything else they have on them. They are the ones that take the shorts way too many and use any means of getting them.we all have to pay for there greed. I know the environmental officers are doing all they can.

  10. Art

    Circle hooks are good but if they want to save stripers crack down on people keeping undersized fish, more fish than the bag limit allows and all this while not having purchased their salt water permit, this will save a hell of a lot of stripers !!!

  11. Vinny Robinson

    Bravo! It’s about time. Circle hooks work. They’ve worked for me since my live eel n chunked bait shore fishing days. They are equally effective from the boat. Nothing worse than swallowed hooks in immature fish.
    The more you fish the more you learn

    1. Stevie “Skunk” Harunk

      I am the worst fisherman ever, will not make a difference what the hook looks like, will just get it stuck in my ear in a circular fashion…

  12. Andrew

    These rules are totally unenforceable so it won’t make any difference.

    1. Eugene

      If you’re in possession of a bass you need to have circle hooks.

    2. Bryan

      If you are fishing with the “possibility” you can catch a striper even if you are targeting a different species you should be using a circle hook.

  13. Chuck Adams

    Seem the greatest mortality occurs from the commercial stripper fisheries. If commercial fishing is allowed why bother the recreational fisherman. Simply cut the quota for commercial fishing and problem solved…

    1. Brian k

      There are more fish taken and killed on a daily basis by recreational fisherman in the canal alone, than all the true and responsible commercial guys on their two allowable days per week. Truly entertaining to read all these comments from people with no statistical research to back up their hot tempered opinions.

    2. Bruce Peters

      from the article…”In addition, it demonstrated that release mortality from the recreational fishery is the single largest source of fishing mortality (48%). Accordingly, these actions have been taken to reduce release mortality in our fisheries. ” but go ahead and blame someone other than what the data says…..

    3. Robert Moss

      Bruce Peters nailed it keep you mouth shut if you don’t know the data or facts

  14. Jason Palmatier

    The thought is great, unfortunately it’s not the true sport fisherman who are doing the damage. It’s the poachers and morons who aren’t going to follow any new regulations anyway. What to do???

    1. Costa

      If you see something, say something!!!! That’s the only way since we don’t have enough people to cover all the fishing grounds.

  15. Dan

    These regs sound good on paper to the mass fish and game, but how can anyone enforce “gaffing” rules? Just put a slot limit in or shut it down for a bit. Maybe have more wardens on the canal during the hot tides!!! How many hundreds/ thousands of breeder stripers are taken in the canal during the May / June moon tides !

  16. Anthony Muollo

    It dosen’t apply to lures or flies read the whole article bro
    ..

  17. Bill

    They need to puts some reg in place down south of Connecticut. Rec fishing under 28 allowed. Commercial net fishing allowed. Overfishing isn’t going on in NE waters.

  18. Lou

    Would have like to see all use of gaffs removed. And if you are going to make a circle hook law, the law should pertain to everyone. Seems like the group who made these laws are just putting their toes in the water, and not fully committing. But it’s a step I suppose.

  19. Bob G.

    Love you circle hook critics (sarcasm). Does anyone deny the fact that many gut hooked fish are released? Fish swallow bait ……fact. How many anglers wait and “let him take bait” before setting hook? Good first step.

  20. Bob Giampaolo

    Love you guys that criticize circle hook law (sarcasm). Does anyone doubt that fish are being gut hooked and released? Fish swallow bait….fact. How many bait fishermen say “let him take the bait” before setting hook? What do you think that results in? Law is a good first step.

    1. Paul

      Thank you, Bob. Everyone wants to point a finger at someone else. This isn’t that hard and it’s a step in the right direction

  21. JoePete

    I’m AS concerned by how long we keep the fish out of water as we unhook and parade them around for pictures. Or hold em in our hands while we talk to the camera. REMEMBER people, when the fish are out of water they are NOT BREATHING. Try holding YOUR breath while you’re unhooking the fish! Talk less, work fast and gently and keep our fish alive for another day.
    Tight lines, jp

  22. Derrick Dunstable

    Best conservation measure: Forget circle hooks, gaffing, netting, etc…gamefish status, no commercial season, with catch and release only for everyone (at least for the foreseeable future). There, problem solved.

    Seriously folks, I know that stripers are the big thing up here in the northeast, but stop eating these PCB and dioxin factories; I sea strong warnings about eating these fish from various credible sources. And the best way to protect s species is to just catch it and let it go. I’m not against the enforcement of circle hooks, but it’s only a baby step in the right direction.

  23. ken

    after fishing the big ditch for more then sixty years here are some of the changes I think need to be done. commercial fee sixtyfive dollars to fish two days a week. MON AND WED weather and wind and luck permitting. Plus being on the right side of the ditch. rec. fishing permit ten dollars you can fish seven days aweek even a lake permit is thirty dollars. go up to fifty buck rec permit hundred commercial still keep Mon and Wed commercial days. REC days TUES THUR FRI ; no weekends.

  24. Derek

    This is BS we can take only 1 but commercial can take I think 15 also we have to use circle hooks if we are using bait and they dont

  25. Zach Traficanti

    How about auctioning off some seal tags? 10K a hide for 100 tags (100 tags = <0.5% of population) would be a pretty quick way to control fish populations and raise actual money for conservation.

  26. Andy P

    1.5 million pounds of female breeders wiped out every summer. Is it really that hard to figure out why the fishery is in trouble? A bunch of sports in pontoon boats masquerading as commercial fisherman. Give me a break! It’s time to end the commercial bass season!

    1. Paul Iemma

      1. Comm season will never be removed in MA or RI. Too much money changing hands.

      2. Compared to the carnage done at the Canal the last two years by idiot rec fishermen, who just found out the bio-mass has taken up residence, the commercial sector is a drop in the bucket.

      3. The answer to this entire dilemma is to close the season completely (moratorium) and make Stripers a gamefish like Florida did with Snook and Tarpon. Re-open when the stocks recover and have a slot limit during certain periods of the year.

  27. Paul

    Ha!! Thats the funniest thing I’ve heard, i can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen them when fishing anywhere in the cape except for the parking lots sitting in there vehicles!

  28. Robb Rodriguez

    Let’s take a year off striper fishing and take up seal hunting. Problem solved.

  29. peter okeefe

    Just how far will we allow this to go?? so now our hooks will be inspected? suppose standing on one foot shows the bass like it better? when will we be fined and denied due process(you know that little thing in the constitution) and then cuffed and jailed when we demand public servants respect our rights?? We lose millions of striper to foreign drag nets BUT we are the problem?? one guy with a pole??

    1. john

      You are 1 guy with a “pole”. now multiply that X 1000’s of fisherman. Now multiply that number by lets say 150 fishing days. So basically if there are 10,000 fisherman taking 1 per day over 150 days that number =1.5 million fish in 1 year from 1 state. So your 1 guy with 1 pole logic basically proves that rec overfishing IS actually a problem. Comm fishing is only allowed roughly 800,000 POUNDS per season. So try again to convince me why these new regs are a bad thing.

  30. Keith Salisbury

    Virginia commercial fishing just finished their spring gillnet season in March, average gillnet hall 15 to 20 thousand pounds per net. Pre spawn fish!!!!

  31. Brian

    new rules: Part 1, Part 2
    Every JImbo in this thread : reads part 1, proceeds to complain about unasnwered questions clarified in part 2.
    ..the MCAS must have been brutal for you guys

  32. Justin

    Release the breeding stock size fish. This is a proven method around the word.
    Circle hooks are not going to make a difference if one can’t release fish properly. Recreational fisherman will not deplete a species.

  33. Larry

    To Jeff. Let’s not call the folks idiots who are releasing the shorts incorrectly. Instead let’s educate.them the proper release techniques.

  34. Evan

    So instead of everyone getting all fired up about it lets see who can still fish well with these new regs… and dont blame commerical guys because I see what and how ppl hand fish down at the cape..thats where you’ll see alot of dead fish floating dude to no resesatation. Stay bent and save fishing before its ruined for everyone.

  35. Jose

    How making the same laws that are applied up north for the south?

  36. Gary

    Next should be a size limit on the hook ,No less than a #5 . The problem with small hooks is they swallow them to deep and people wont cut the line and would rather rip the hook out and through the fish back to Die . I know there will be fish killed but it would cut the toll on them WAY down

  37. Dick Nicholson

    For all those who want tougher rules: remove all but tail hook on plugs & spoons and either replace tail hook with a ‘J” hook or treble and crimp down all the barbs. And if fishing for bluefish do the same. Bluefish stocks are also under pressure. Make it a little fairer for the fish, have more fun and kill fewer fish. You do not need the state to tell you how to fish more humanely.

  38. J T White

    When are we really going to get serious about striper conservation and stop killing fish over 45 inches. Most of these are females. Science has shown that these fish deliver significantly more eggs that produce stronger hatchlings than the smaller females. When Florida and Louisiana got serious about redfish, they instituted a slot limit that protected the larger fish and it has been successful.

  39. Brian Kirby

    Lipstick on a pig. How about closing the canal to all possession?

    1. Brain k

      Hahahahaha would love to see that and watch everyone cry…. then they would have to actually become true surfcasters and hit the beaches and not shoot fish in a barrel at the canal and talk smack about how elite they are

  40. Evan

    Right? And they say that private fisherman are the single biggest contributor to fish mortality? Are you f’ing kidding me? Private fisherman are not even close to as damaging as commercial this is a joke.

  41. Osamas Pajamas

    Screw the Democrats with broken beer bottles. I eat what I catch — all the time.

  42. Timmy

    Everyone here complains about commercial, most not all commercial guys feed their families on this, ya we are allowed a 15 fish limit but we dont hit that on the 2 days a week we are allowed with fish 34”+ i can tell you 30-50 fish a day were being boated between 30-33” fish its a healthy stock just not of commercial size, guys in the canal were pulling out more fish than the commercial guys that were of size, theres so many things that go into it, dont point fingers but weigh it all out, seals, great whites, poachers you name it, i was fishing canal while boat was being repaired and there was “runners” just walking back n fourth carrying fish to cars taking way over the limit from out of state people, yes i called but not much was done, we all want the fishery to grow but theres so many different issues causing it, everyone needs to do their part

  43. Joshua

    It’s not that bad. It’s only really for chunking bait, anything artificial is excluded even when using trailers.

    Problem I see is the 48% figure of fishing mortality rates. How is that figure derived? Are illegal poaching figures included from commercial and recreational catches, or is that only 48% of the recreational category to begin with, along with so many other considerations.

    In my eyes offset should still be okay. Most rec guys aren’t tournament anglers and offsets are still effective and don’t sacrifice lost fish as much as true in-lines. The hooks still face in and point down.

    Either way though, WTF is the state creating regulations and telling me what hooks I can use when the fines for illegal fishing aren’t heavy enough to create incentive not to do it anyways. If you were caught with an illegal fish where there was reasonable cause to believe it was done deliberately, and if you lost everything in your possession for doing so at that time (truck, boat, gear, etc. For commercial or rec). I think many would think again before doing so.

    Education is first and foremost. I’ve got hundreds of bass with J hooks and maybe gut hooked 5. I mean c’mon now.

    What about all the fish that’s caught and sliced up and put into freezer bags to never even be eaten? (Again recs and commercial) I wonder if that was figured in somewhere at all…

    Maybe it’s time to put on some tin-foil hats and throw some Alex Jones on speaker and conjur up some corner-the-market hook manufacturer conspiracy!

    1. Jim M

      I fish the canal at least twice a week i am 81 yrs old i catch at least 8 to 12 fish every time i go to the pier very seldom do i gut hook a fish with octopus hooks because i hold my rod all the time and set hook immediately on the first tap .catch a lot of shorts but there not gut hooked..i have never used a circle hook but if i have to thats the law i will just be curious of the results by setting on the first tap will let you no at the end of next year yours in the sport Jim Murphy Natick MA.

  44. Mike

    Great idea to help out the fish, however the recreational angler still is not the biggest issue at play here commercial fishing is destroying the population look at the quota set by just Massachusetts alone year after year and tell me whats destroying the numbers..

  45. Mike

    If they worried about the numbers bring the limit back up to 36″ 1 a day for rec. The same people who decided 2 schoolies at 28″ was a good idea now want to show concern???

  46. Mass Fisheries

    We know were are Jokers, so why not another joke around the real issues of declining Striper stock by creating some more dumb rules that don’t apply to all the users of this resource and are not and will not be enforced.

  47. Jon B Andrews

    Not enough. Striper fishing was unreal when the minimum size was 36 inches and you could only keep one fish. It should never have change. I lost interest and sold my boat because the fishing went downhill each year. Also, the public needs to be educated about handling fish. Most fisherman have no idea how to handle a fish set to be released. Nets can do more damage than gaffs. Grab it by the bottom jaw, remove the hook, and set it on its way.

  48. Donny

    Catch and release stripers on whole east coast for 5 years and heavily reduce commercial limit , takes 6 years for a fish to get 28 inches, need drastic change

  49. Brian Narragansett

    I’ll gaff whatever fish I feel like. This is how I make money. These fish put money in my bank account. If a gaff is needed I will use it. End of story.

      1. Brian Narragansett

        Well if you have a problem with it maybe I’ll Gaff you. Scumbag

  50. matty c

    I fish in Maine and we already have the circle hook law in effect when fishing with bait. I have never seen this law enforced.
    It drives me crazy when I see people land fish w bait off the beach and they just DRAG the fish onto the beach. That happens all the time. People need to be educated on how to properly release fish, especially little schoolies.

  51. RK

    Pitting commercial guys against recreational guys is exactly what officious subsidized scientists and government agencies want. They divide and conquer us when we should all be on the same page and make a great living and pension off of us fighting each other. Good for them, lousy for fishermen. We shouldn’t fall into that trap.

    We should work together.

    Rec guys need to get informed and own up to the fact that rec fishing kills many, many more fish than commercial fishing does – and if you persist in believing otherwise, you are poorly informed, lying to advance your own cause, or both. The reason you aren’t catching big fish isn’t because the commercial guys are “getting them all”, 99% of the time it’s because you are fishing in places where bigger fish don’t go, or because you are using techniques that aren’t suited to catching big fish – or perhaps you’re just not as skilled as you think you are.

    Commercial guys need to stop telling themselves that they “own” all the fish in the ocean and stop gaslighting everyone else about “feeding their families”. Nobody wants your kids to starve and you sound like a dunce when you say they do. They also need agree to have similar rules to those that rec guys have in terms of size limits (this is much worse for fluke but that’s another topic). You won’t go out of business if you do. You’ll just have to adjust.

    A good compromise is when neither party is 100% happy but both parties get most of what we want. If everyone stopped pretending that the resource should go 100% to only their little corner of fishing, this could be worked out like grownups would. We’s all be winners. It’s not a Texas cage match.

  52. LOU

    WITH ALL OF THIS SAID HERE, IM GOING OUT AND GET ME A 40 ONCER OF MILLER HIGH LIFE AND A PINT OF 100 PROOF CAPTAIN MORGAN AND THINK ABOUT IT. MAYBE A BLUNT IF I GOT ENOUGH MONEY LEFT.

  53. Pete

    Circle hooks are a joke….. the old saying is “long liners have been using them for years” is a joke . They use them because once caught these fish will never be able to “shake “ the hook. They will just die and wait to be hauled in the next day. The real problem is the Commercial guys!!!!!!! They are taking hundreds of tons of fish and bait out of our ecosystems at a rate Mother Nature can not replenish. They give the same lame excuse “this is how i feed my family and make a living”. Remember that line when you want to go Cod fishing……. teach people how to take a hook out of a fish without killing it, and STOP commercial overfishig!!!!!! Circle hooks are NOT the answer!

  54. Pk

    Seals are the truest problem presented to schoolie stripers. Catch and release everything for 6 years min. Move international fishing to 40 miles off shore. Other countries are ruining our fishing.

  55. Joe Smith

    Brian Narragansett pick a new profession, Striped Bass belong to all

  56. Jeremy Sousa

    Well i just want to say I think they have it all wrong. I have been fishing for forty years have landed a 49 lb bass. Off shore chunk bait 10.0 hook 12 foot rod. I found 2 spots that change the way I fish for STRIPED BASS. The first spot I go every year christmas day 24 degrees outside me and my friend go only i tell nobody about my friend tells nobody. Last Christmas i caught 7 keepers.60 small ones. My friend caught 8 keepers.
    50 small ones. Catch and Release all fish. But i can not belive this place we catch them anytime we want up until the ice freezes this place is amazing. Never plug in my life until 10 years age when i found this place. Now the second place is in Newport,Ri. But u have to go with boat the place is like a fish tank u can pick whigh bass u want to hook 2:00 am in morning. Change my way of how STRIPED BASS think and migrate.THANK YOU

  57. Common Sense

    End up having to help a lot of newbies or folks that don’t know how to properly catch and release a fish especially taking a hook out. When surf fishing from the shore many leave the rod in the sand spike and when using any kind of hook the fish might swallow the hook deep. Of the deeply hooked fish the circle hook with the barb in place is the most dangerous of all and almost impossible to take out without injuring the fish. I use barbed J hooks that require setting the hook and almost always hook the fish in the lip and when landing the fish requires minimum effort to take out the hook or most of the time the barbed J hook will actually fall out of the mouth of a properly hooked fish just by loosening the tension on the line. Also people who take big fish out of the water and hold them up even though the think they are supporting the guts are killing fish. Just because a fish swims off doesn’t mean its innards are not damaged and the fish will soon die. The worst part about surf fishing is watching people mistreat the fish by taking pictures of them having them die soon after the picture is taken or actually mistreating the fish because they are angry that the fish wasn’t a keeper. Do you really need that look at me I caught a fish picture, really… c’mon nobody really cares but you and its not worth risking killing the fish over it. Also to the pro who says he is catching stripers out 6 -8 miles out he should know about George W Bush’s Executive Order 13449 which is a federal law prohibiting striped bass fishing beyond 3 miles, and he brags about fishing outside of what the law permits… unbelievable!

  58. Common Sense

    “The most recent striped bass stock assessment found the species was overfished with overfishing occurring. In addition, it demonstrated that release mortality from the recreational fishery is the single largest source of fishing mortality (48%).” That sounds more realistic to what I see! Close to half of the catch and release die! Release mortality from the recreational fishery is the single largest source of fishing mortality (48%).

  59. Adam

    It’s the commercial fishing down south that does the most damage to the population. I have nothing against our commercial striper fishing up this way. Theres no question that the lazy rec. fisherman who dont release schoolies properly, and who just yank a hook out of a gut hooked fished, instead of taking the 2 minutes it takes to just cut it off and retire and at least give the fish a chance. I am not a circle hook fan, simply because I like to set a hook, but if that’s what I gotta do then that’s what I will use

  60. Carl

    Yep everyone just believe the data because it’s in the article. It has to be true! More laws on commercial fisherman, less on recreational!

  61. Buck

    Having fished commercial rod and reel on cape cod for 40 years
    There is no reason to gaff any striped bass just bend over and grab
    The fish. Circle hooks work well it is all I have used the last five years
    and we lose very few fish. The biggest problem in this fishery is the
    Huge number of seals if something is not done there will be no baitfish
    And no striped bass

  62. James Golden

    A step in the right direction… a small step. It still should’ve been 1 @ 36″ min.

  63. Gomer

    Sigh……. the private recreational anglers get discriminated against once again. If DMF wasn’t in bed with the charter fleet industry and truly was concerned with the status of the striped bass and they would enact and enforce equal conservation measures across the entire recreational community and not one segment. A few decades working the fleet I can tell you the for hire guys kill lots of bass which should have lived. The majority of boats also cannot catch anything without using treble hooks. Watch out Scup, your next after the Bass are gone. Just look at the status of the bottom fish these days. Roller Coaster stock management at it’s finest. SMH

  64. Sully

    Until they make people learn how to handle fish the right way the recreational mortality is going to be the same due too
    1) Boga grips and fish grips
    2) Failure to not learn how to handle a fish with your hands!!!
    3)You fish for it but your afraid to touch it!!! Any time you hang a good bass from the lower lip using the methods is makes the lower jaw protrude and separates connective tissue to the rakers. Henceforth more dead bass all because nobody teaches fish handling skills and a grip is the thee worst thing you could ever do as catch and release. If your afraid to touch it, don’t fish for it!!

  65. James

    Slot limits on striper, 3 fish limit on bluefish gear restrictions, what hooks to use ect ect. Seems pretty obvious to me these yuppies at ma fisheries are clearly clueless. The information they publish is based on what? A study that they have conducted? Please what a joke. Plain and simple you ma fisheries people need to wake up and actually enforce the current rules and regulations. Never mind the paper pushing bs of creating studies and new absurd rules and regulations to justify your jobs. See what happens when you start charging people for a saltwater fishing license?? The departments end up more and more political, and less and less functional. I’ll be buying my saltwater license in a different state from now on. Seriously you people really need to wake up and do your jobs.

  66. James

    Wow. Slot limits on striper, 3 fish limit on bluefish gear restrictions, what hooks to use ect ect. Seems pretty obvious to me these yuppies at ma fisheries are clearly clueless. The information they publish is based on what? A study that they have conducted? Please what a joke. Plain and simple you ma fisheries people need to wake up and actually enforce the current rules and regulations. Never mind the paper pushing bs of creating studies and new absurd rules and regulations to justify your jobs. See what happens when you start charging people for a saltwater fishing license?? The departments end up more and more political, and less and less functional. I’ll be buying my saltwater license in a different state from now on. Seriously you people really need to wake up and do your jobs.

  67. pat

    Can i suggest posting and UPDATE to this article. It is still the 2nd link from google when you enter Mass Fishing Regs. The part about snag and drop being allowed is not accurate anymore in my understanding of the mass.gov sites FAQ >>> #12. “Can I still snag menhaden for bait?
    Yes, but once you’ve snagged a menhaden (generally using a treble hook), you’ll need to transfer it to a circle hook to be used as bait to target striped bass. Once on a circle hook, you can fish the menhaden by live-lining it or as chunk bait. The technique known as “snag and drop” when you snag a menhaden then immediately live line it on the treble hook is now prohibited.”

    Thanks guys. Awesome work and rag! Keep it going

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