Cape Cod Canal Striped Bass Poachers Busted

Cape Cod Canal-poachers

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 17, 2018, Massachusetts Environmental Police Dispatch received a call from a concerned fisherman regarding individuals along the Cape Cod Canal that appeared to be harvesting striped bass over the daily recreational legal limit of one fish per person, a minimum of 28-inches in length. Information provided by the informant indicated the individuals were shuttling fish back to their vehicle, then continuing to harvest additional fish.

Based upon the descriptions provided by the caller, officers were able to locate the individuals and observe the area from a distance. During this period, officers observed one of the individuals return to his vehicle. The Officers subsequently initiated a compliance check and determined that the three individuals possessed double the legal daily catch limit of striped bass.

The three individuals were charged and issued notices to appear in court. The catch and the fishing gear were seized; the catch was donated to the Plymouth Area Coalition in Kingston.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police appreciate the stewardship exhibited by the citizen who saw something – and said something. Conservation of the environment is everyone’s responsibility, your eyes and ears can be some of our most valuable tools.

86 on “Cape Cod Canal Striped Bass Poachers Busted

  1. BrianP

    why no names ?? if you stole a stripped bass from a store would your name be in the paper? Stole a stripped bass, funny

  2. john

    if you give the state $320 you can put 15 in your cooler over 34″ ever day the season is open for the year. bottom line is its all about money.

    1. Doug K

      No it’s not every day … there are only two days per week, Monday and Thursday and it’s only until the quota is reached.

    2. Joe gray

      It’s Only twice a week and 34 is not always a shoe in on the two day a week that you get to fish there’s a lot of days especially this year we haven’t got any keepers, so don’t talk about a subject you know nothing about, keep up the good work guys

    3. Al

      Says the jaggoff who has clearly never procured a commercial license, MA state sellers card, and filled the requisite trip forms for every day of the year. JAGGOFF

    4. DCQ

      It’s not about money. If the fish disappear, the money also disappears. The money helps to fund the conservation effort, and pay for those who monitor and enforce the rules. Look at it as a renewable resource, that needs to be managed to stay healthy.
      If you like to fish, you should like for people to enforce the rules, or you won’t have any fish left for fishing.

  3. Fill

    The state of our fisheries is awful mostly due to poaching, a big pat on the back to the EPO’S who are understaffed and geographically stretched to the limit, and somebody buy that caller a shot n a beer!

  4. Dan

    Nice job fisherman and environmental police. I see poaching happening once and a while on the canal and have called to. Stay vigilant!

  5. MSL

    Good work reporting to law enforcement, and good work by law enforcement. I like how fishing gear is confiscated in Massachusetts. I also wish commercial licenses did not exist for striped bass.

  6. Rod Man

    Nice to hear the fishing tackle was taken.
    I hope it was nice gear and cost them $$$$$$$
    Hopefully the courts will do the same and
    won’t just give them a slap.

  7. Bruce

    Great work to law enforcement on a very tough week along the south shore

  8. Roman Dudus

    Thank you to the concerned citizen who called the tip in. Thank you to the Massachusetts Environmental Police for catching them. When is the judicial system finally going to send a message. Put their names out there, take their equipment, and prevent them from ever being able to get a fishing license. We read about this many times a month. It shows that nothing is being done to prevent this from happening. It’s a joke. Set an example of these guys and see what happens down the road. I am tired of reading about this. Follow the story and tell us what the final punishment is.

  9. Saulo Stewart

    It would be great if these people would lose their licenses for a while. They can work and pay fines, but one year without fishing, now that I can paying a right price.

    1. Paul Rosati

      Poaching of any sort; you should loose your license for life, after a huge fine and confiscation of equipment and vehicle.

    2. Adam

      They’re already breaking the law by poaching. Do you really think they care if they have a fishing license? For all we know, they didn’t have a fishing license in the first place.

  10. Knot Local

    I hope it was one of those a$$hat$ with the GIBBS shirts on that think rules and etiquette don’t apply to them or was it Mr lights out himself at it again ?? keep on supporting those so called, self proclaimed LEGENDS ????

    1. Mondo

      Lots of Stan Gibbs guys lot of them are Stand Up Guys but there’s always a bad apple or two

  11. Ron

    Shore “commercial guys” can harvest 5 . Monday and Thursday. Any other day their just a rec guy, 1 per person. You need a boat and a ” commercial license” for that boat to harvest 15 per day over 34″ on mondays and Thursdays

    1. Bass Turd

      5? Where do you get that info? 2 Fish from shore 15 with a Boat license..

    2. JC

      Shore commercial guys can keep 2 not 5 and the must be 34″ and its only Mondays and Thursdays until the quota is reached. Other than that they still have to abide by the 1 a day 28″ limit like everyboday else.

  12. Knot Local

    I hope it was one of those a$$hat$ with the GIBBS shirts on that think rules and etiquette don’t apply to them or was it Mr lights out himself at it again ?? keep on supporting those so called, self proclaimed LEGENDS ????

    1. Mondo

      I’ve met a lot of guys from the stand Gibbs Club I believe there’s over 200 members a lot of them a really nice fisherman who just want to catch their limit and have fun some of them not so nice but this is the way the wheel turns

    2. Danny Sullivan

      If you don’t like the Gibbs Club and the members in it than don’t fish the Canal. The club does more for the Canal and community than you do. As for Lights Out Lures. Everybody is not perfect everybody makes mistakes. He is a stand up guy and works hard everyday as a single parent. I stand by the club and Lights Out Lures!! If you don’t like it just don’t fish there. People like you are the reason the Canal is the way it is now.

  13. todd corayer

    Good Job. I love seeing the bad guys get busted so we can keep the population strong and healthy. I hope the courts punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

  14. Eric

    They should community work on shore so they can know impact of poaching fish

  15. john

    Great job unfortunately we live in Massachusetts and they will probably just get a small fine (under $50.00) and be back on the canal by the following weekend. This is to liberal
    a state to do anything to poachers.

  16. Joseph Correia

    Really is a shame that some people just can’t just go to the canal with the premise of just having fun catching and releasing striper. I mean if it’s legitimately going to be kept for food for one’s family, then yea no big deal one decent sized fish provides enough meat. But, I mean don’t tell me your going to eat striper every day, that bull crap. These fish should be respected by all anglers because there species is vulnerable. They take a while to reach sexual maturity and as it is, nature provides enough challenges for these fish to overcome.

  17. Bill Biswanger

    I fished the canal over the w/e nice to see the EPO there now it’s nice to see them bust those with to many and take all their gear.

  18. Jay palmatier

    The poachers I’ve been seeing lately are pretty organized, coordinated groups fishing together to raise the number of fish they can leave with. Most are being sold

  19. Onthefly

    I’m a fisherman and a bit of an activist. Unfortunately it’s not about protecting the stock, it’s another revenue stream for the state. I’ll bet that more stripers are killed from poor handling by fisherman than the few who are taking over the legal limit.
    Take the funds from the penalties and invest them into education young fisherman on proper handling and the value of catch and release.

  20. C.C

    Its seems every week there is a article about someone getting busted. That’s great that they are getting reported and getting caught!! Makes me smile. But what is troubling is even with all the arrests you still have jackasses the continue to break the laws… I hope all states beef up fines and make those who break the laws pay!!!

  21. mariano

    In a perfect world commercial fisheries wouldn’t exist. I have a childish fantasy in which everyone must hunt fish If they want dinner and still have to abide by the rules

  22. Ripper

    Well done, officers!! Anglers, please continue to report the dirtbags!

  23. ?guy

    Plum island jetty

    I’m Asian – I don’t steal

    But I see non-azns filet the undersized fish they catch at the end of the jetty every time

    And I see azns steal schoolies at ferry lots lane

    I’m blowing the whistle
    Eff poachers

    But as azn- I keep getting profiled
    It sucks

  24. Dale Hicks

    Worked on a safety boat
    under the Bourne 2 years
    ago.You canal rats are
    a unique group to say the least! Couldn’t fish of the boat.Pure torture.
    Nice job calling them out!

  25. Jeff D

    For everyone of those dirtbags caught there are 10 more behind them. Need to stay vigelent and catch them all. When will they learn that it’s not worth risking your gear or license over a freakin fish!!!! Nice work everyone!!! Keep it up. ?

  26. Capt_Seaweed

    Good! I’m glad and I support the Environmental Police. I’m tired of people who don’t respect Mother Nature and the Law!

  27. Paul Cuzzupe

    We all know what striped bass look like, how bout some pics of these greedy scum bags.some public humiliation goes a long way.

  28. Angler

    As of late and including last years debacles poaching of fish by some who feel they are special has increased along the big river to imagined numbers. With out question as has been mentioned it is among a organized group that feel they are entitled to do what ever they want. That includes forcing you from your fishing location , while they continue to poach the fish to be sold the next day or when the next selling day is available. Some do not even bother to ice them down . Can you imagine what the quality of the fish is like. They leave them off ice until they decide to take them to the market and then put a little ice on them to give the appearance that they were iced down .
    The old practice if Yo Yoing has made its ugly head again by some commercial folks who know from past practices how to put fish of size in the box, using this method of placing a weight inside a pogie , some will tell you that have used this method , but the weight is placed on the outside of the fish. Those I observed were not doing that, They have been reported to the EPO including the type of boat and where. We have let the genie out of the bottle and now we will continue to have large kills as a result of poachers catching fish of illegal size and numbers to satisfy a financial gain / We need to obtain more law enforcement, obtain stiffer penalties and give some educational classes on the ethics of fishing to those who feel they are entitled to this continued disrespect to our natural resource and these crimes should be adjudicated as crimes against the environment .

  29. Paul j. Carr

    Should have taken the truck too. It’s part of the fishing gear.

  30. Angler

    I would like to address the above comment made by Knot Local . You have made an astute observation in the matter you posted . It should be noted that some so called legends, never followed good ethical practices and other then having made plugs , this legend sold every fish he ever caught to the highest market and was a very selfish person when it came to where he fished and how., he also thought that he owned the canal. I could relate other similar actions, displayed in your post as well. Unlike Bob Pond who was the true champion and ledgent of the striped bass resource.and put his profits from making plugs back into the resource to preserve the fish for the future generations like you to enjoy.

    1. Knot Local

      Yes I agree, I’ve read a lot of post made by Bob on SOL, and he seems like a stand up guy. The guys down the canal especially the ones that throw on a Gibbs t-shirt and feel they have a sense of entitlement, not all but the ones I’ve encountered seem to think that you have to follow common courtesy and etiquette while they should have a pass!! On more then a few occasions I’ve seen them do what Mr Lights out’s lures himself/poach all day everyday and act like it’s ok because their part of the elite clique. Bunch of losers that think they own the place. We all are entitled to fish there and we’re responsible for what goes on there as sportsman. The past few years it’s been to much foolery going on there by people that have no respect for the place. Ok rant over ?

  31. Knotty girl

    Actually it’s only twice a week and it’s not and it’s not always a giving that your gonna catch on the day allowed there’s been plenty of days this season where all we have caught is shorts 33’s and no keepers while rec guys keep multiple 28’s which really 28 is tiny just like last year seeing all the illegally filleted fish on the rocks at the canal is sickining after game wardens came through so yeah keep up the good work guys

  32. angler

    Knotty Girl it goes with out saying that both users [recreational and commercial] have some direct responsibility in the ongoing disrespectful unethical practices every one is seeing along the canal . No one is free from sin

  33. Fish4dayz

    I was there this past weekend they were all fishing in the blocked off area end of herring run catching herring talking all kinds of short strippers fish
    It horrible they don’t follow laws
    We all know who they are!’

    1. Marc

      Call the Environmental Police and report these thieves. Make sure to make a note of the pole numbers on the utility poles. 800 632 8075

  34. Charles Devlin

    Nice job to the officers,keep up the great work. Fishermen that don’t follow the Massachusetts laws regarding fishing our beautiful water ways should have everything seized. Their catch, fishing equipment and coolers and if in a boat that should be seized on the second violation. Truly! their is a lot of poaching going on around the Cape and these laws have to be enforced. ?‍♂️

  35. Jason Godusky

    Drain the “canal”; of the RATS!
    It’s great they took away their fishing gear, but if you were to exceed the limit on any sport animal you hunt, you lose your license for a minimum of 1 yr! Even self reported sportsman that make a true mistake often lose the license for at least 1 Year! Why not a Fisherman?????

  36. Don C

    I would like to see the Environmental Police do a more visible and frequent job of checking who has a license(permit).
    When some see the truck driving around, they duck into the woods.
    You know they don’t have a permit.

  37. Rozziebo

    How about dedicating 1 or 2 EPOs to patrolling the Canal during the fishing season. If these turds realize they are under constant surveillance maybe, just maybe they’ll take their act elsewhere. And, if they do get caught arrest them and take everything they have including their transportation. Post their pictures in all the sporting and local NEWS media and along the canal so legit fisherman can help in preventing their return.

  38. Pat Symon

    What happens to confiscated fishing gear? Is it auctioned off? Hope it’s not like South Carolina, where the game wardens have the best of the best. And lots of it. Don’t agree with the poachers, but don’t think that the authorities should benefit from these nit wits.

  39. Scott

    If the bass that are dragged up by the commercial boats counted towards the commercial quoted the quota would be filled by July. Real comm fisherman should be allowed a certain poundage as by catch and be counted towards the quota and the fish sold rather than wasted.

  40. Saint John

    I think this would be a great documentary. The title would be, “Convenient Sainthood”. Okay laws are broken daily by, ‘everyone’. Laws are enforceable moral suggestions which have consequences. Money is at the root of dishonesty, BOTTEM LINE.
    I’m sure money could also be the solution. Higher $$$$$ penalties tend to resolve most problems. Perhaps judgment is really not a human skill and should be left to something higher?

  41. SBfish

    Someone asked ^ for the number, I just recently saved it to my phone too.

    Mass Environmental Police

    This number is recorded but I have called just to ask questions on compliance etc.

  42. Bigfish

    The MEP should post big boards on both sides of the canal road – at each mile along the canal. Fishing regulations and other pertinent information could be posted for John Q/Fishermen.

    Each board would also have a section called “Poachers Beware” Pictures and names of poachers caught would be posted along with a rolling list of dates caught, first and last names, description of the offense, a list of seized equipment and the fines and penalties paid. Best part is that under the picture of each poacher would be a set of hooks prominently displaying their balls! Keep up the good work!

  43. R.J.

    Not a fan of Commercial Fishing for Bass but and it’s a BIG BUT, Poachers are the Problem for both Recreational and Commercial Fisherman. Just like the people who trash the place from boats or shore. Raise one for Law Enforcement and the Civic minded citizen.

  44. Legion

    Nice job guys keep up the good work ! AM Patrol might get you a lot of poachers !
    I was there two weekends ago and their was around five guys doing the same thing in the AM hour soon as the sun begin to rise they packed up and left. I couldn’t do anything but tell them there under sized as they reeled in yelling keepers.
    I released all the fish I was catching that night even the keepers ! I would’ve had GoPro footage of the angler’s but my GoPro had locked up on me and left my phone in the car.

  45. BMW

    That same day I caught 2 at 34” and released both of them,I hope they didn’t get those.

  46. Earl T Cross

    If people really wanted the stripped bass to come back strong they should be pushing slot limits. I saw first hand how the snook population in Florida went from the brink of collapse to a thriving fishery in seven short years. We need to give up a little now to get alot back in the future!

    1. Usaettg5

      I agree with the slot limit. I fish in southern ME and there was a slot limit for years keepers were 20- 26 inches Which is a size that does not reproduce yet and a great eating size. there was also a trophy size of 40 inches. Everything in between needed to be put back. That was all the highly reproductive fish. Unfortunately they went the way of the rest of the coast recently and now have a minimum 28 inch limit. It has been 1 a day here in ME for the 25 years I have been fishing. The entire coast needs the same rules, but it should be a slot.

  47. Mondo

    I’ve been fishing the canal for about 6 years now I’ve seen my share of poaching I especially love hearing people complain about foreign people catching more fish than they should take but I see more commercial guys breaking the rules then I do actual foreigners breaking the rules I have nothing against you taking your one fish a day or you taking your to fish every commercial day more power to you but please stop taking more than you need

  48. Mondo

    Keep your head up and don’t be afraid to say something this has to stop

  49. jose

    its people not following the law that ruin it for all of us. good job for reporting it to the police,

  50. JB

    Why should anyone have to call? Go to the canal any day and you’ll see poaching. This is easily the biggest spot for offending. There’s plenty of legit guys but there’s also a bunch of scumbags that do whatever they want. They clearly don’t work. Most are probably from Wareham living in a hotel on the dole. You’ll know them when you see them. They can’t even dream about affording a boat so the canal is the game. They’ll blatantly ride down the bike path alone with 3 or 4 big breeders hanging out of the baskets, dead for hours. The Enviros should be at the canal every day and night on both sides, cracking down on it, confiscating gear, licenses, bikes, cars, trucks, and coolers. Then major fines should be issued. Then you might see a little change. Right now it’s a slap on the wrist, which is easily worth the risk to these scumbags!

  51. ES

    Poaching is stealing, from everyone, plain and simple. The penalty should be stiff. Lets see if the judicial system works in MA.

  52. peter okeefe

    So property was taken without due process and I see alot of people cheering it on..all the men who suffered and died for our constitution are turning in there graves…and if you think the money goes to helping keep the fish then you know nothing about the laws…90% goes to fund the pensions of over paid do nothing govt employees. Does anyone really believe the ATLANTIC ocean can be depleted by men with fishing poles?? foreign dragnets are another matter

    1. ARG

      You’d have to a special type of moron to believe that recreational fishing has little impact on fish stocks. Howbout read some fisheries studies instead of relying on your ass backwards political views. Even with regulation and enforcement, we do an awful job of conserving the Earth’s natural resources, I couldn’t even imagine how it would be if there were no regulations.

  53. Fishwish

    Great job by the EPO force and the fisherman who made the call.
    Having commercial fished for 40 years for many species I also think
    The striped bass commercial fishery should be shut down not just in Mass. but nationwide.No one makes a living catching bass more money
    Is spent by rec. fisherman than the commercial fishery generates. We
    Have raped the ocean for 200 years it’s time to stop look at what unregulated fishing has done to the codfish. Leave the striped bass
    Alone so our kids and grandkids have a chance to enjoy the sport of fishing.

  54. SS

    I live in Miami, Fl and have been spending a lot of time on the cape for the past 15 years as my family has a home here. I have always loved fishing whether fresh or saltwater and have been obsessed with Stripers ever since my first visit here 15 years ago and firs trip to Monomoy. I started fishing the canal 2 years ago and the poaching and excessive killing of breeder sized striped bass is very disheartening. I think the best analogy we have in Florida is with the Snook, as has been mentioned in this comment string. An enforced slot limit to keep a single smaller fish (best eating quality) per day per licensed fisherman would go a long way to protecting the species and improving the fishing for everyone for years and generations to come. If you actually care about fishing as a sport and love Striped bass you will support this, and if you don’t (like many) then too freakin bad as we will eventually get this done. In order to enforce the current, or hopefully improved, stricter, regulations, more environmental police presence is needed (especially at the canal!) this could easily be paid for by the many fines that would be generated by such a patrol. Also, as someone mentioned, there should be very clear and specific rules and regs posted at all marinas, boat ramps, and along the canal along with a 24/ 7 hotline to report violations. Incentives must be given to people reporting a violation that leads to a fine/ arrest etc. The whistle blower can be given a percentage of the fine, equipment confiscated etc, but some incentive is needed to promote reporting of these violations for the benefit of the species and this tremendous environmental resource. If we leave it up to “ethics and education” we are all in trouble as there are too many who simply do not care and are just selfish, greedy, pigs looking to “get theirs and screw everyone else” Tight lines to all and let’s make this a fishery our kids can enjoy as much as we have.

  55. Sean S Rogan

    Glad someone turned them in. Their names and addresses should be published just like anyone else. The again we can all put an MO on these people if we were to guess. There have been numerous times I’ve seen clips of such raping of the canal fishery even on YouTube.

  56. Marc

    Perhaps someone, “On The Water” perhaps, should start a fund where we can all donate for the cost of additional Environmental Police to patrol the canal? I would donate to a cause like that…

  57. dan

    We can not legislate morality the only answer to sin is repentance that is for the known sinner and the self-righteous who think they are good enough. Jesus said no one is good enough except my father who is in Heaven. Mark 10:18

  58. Tom Manion

    I feel for you guys up there ,we have the same problem down here in Jersey on the Raritan Bay when the Bass come thru here .All walks of life come here and rape the bay of everything. and to top it all off they liter the beaches and jetties ,it’s disgusting . Also like up there our game wardens are stretched pretty thin but almost always they seem to appear when called upon,my hats off to our guys as well.

  59. keaton

    I am from Maryland and we have the same problems with our bay the Chesapeake people on the beaches and piers rape over our striper and crab population and our police are spread way too thin it is really sad for a fishery for us small catch and release fisherman it is really sad to see this happening to our fisheries.

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