It's no secret striped bass fishing has slipped somewhat in recent years. Although, linesiders are not officially classified as "overfished" the decline in their total overall harvest since 2008 has been documented at about 19 percent.
As a result, state regulators are considering a range of options to reduce the striper harvest starting as soon as next spring. Among some of the proposals are reducing the bag limit to one bass per day for all anglers; allowing anglers to keep two fish each but raising the size limit; and instituting a slot limit of 28 to 34 inches. One proposal would stretch the reduction in mortality across three years instead of one -- a route some recreational striper fans believe could be a mistake.
The Atlantic coastal states and jurisdictions have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on these proposals, which are contained in the Draft Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. You can see the proposals at www.asmfc.org.
If you want a say in the decisions concerning the striper fishery, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, then show up at the public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at Stony Brook University's Wang Center, room 201.
Fluke, sea bass tricky
With fluke season ending in less than a month (Sept. 21,) don't wait to squeeze in a few extra trips. September traditionally gives up a few hefty doormats and good action with keepers. This year seems set to follow the pattern.
"We've had very good summer flounder catches over the past few days," said Capt. Kenny Higgins of the open boat Captree Pride. "The best of scores have come at the mouth of Fire Island Inlet and pool winners are consistently topping five pounds."
Keepers have also been plentiful on the Cholera Banks, at the edge of Ambrose Channel, and in 50-foot depths south of Montauk Point.
On the North Shore, sea bass action continues to shine with the Eatons Neck Triangle, deep structure around Smithtown Bay, and 60- to 90-foot depths east of Mattituck all giving up sea biscuits to four pounds. Anglers sailing aboard the Peconic Star out of Greenport, and the Prime Time 3 out of Orient, have seen a ton of porgies mixed with the knob heads.
More dates for calendar
Back-to-school season is also peak snapper season. For the next few weeks, the small blues should be especially active. With that in mind, you might want to check out the Molnar's Landing Junior Snapper Derby in Hampton Bays at 1 p.m. on Sunday. There's no entry fee, free bait and tackle, a raffle, plus a barbecue (parents please contribute a dish.) Call 631-728-1860 for details.
Those looking for bigger game -- and bigger prizes -- might want to enter the Jones Inlet Invitational Tuna Tournament scheduled for Sept. 12-14. You can fish on any day of the contest (or all three days) but all boats must leave from and weigh their catch at Jones Inlet Marina. Contact 516-379-2628 for more information.
The Montauk Surf Fishing Classic is slated for Sept. 26-28. Cash and tackle prizes go to anglers catching the three largest striped bass and three biggest bluefish, plus the three largest stripers released. Call 631-321-3510.