From the STS Vault (1967): Pacific Stripers - by Larry Green

From the STS Vault (1967): Pacific Stripers - by Larry Green

Back in the year 1879, a group of ad­venturous men decided to experiment in the transporting of the striped bass from the East to the West Coast.

 This is a walloping 45-pounder taken on bait from the surf last year.


After selecting areas where water conditions and spawning areas were similar, 132 small native striped bass were taken from the Navesink River in New Jersey. They were then shipped in a tank car by rail across the United States to be finally released into the Sacramento River near Martinez, California. Three years later, in 1882, these same men loaded 300 more young stripers into a rail car and headed them West. These bass were released in the lower Suisun Bay area in California. This was one adventure that soon proved to be something that Westerners would be grateful for until the end of time. 





These first young transplanted bass found their new Western home so suit­able that by 1889, just 10 short years from the first plant, striped bass were so numerous throughout the San Fran­cisco Bay and Delta areas that they were being caught by the tons and sold commercially in California markets.


Pounding the surf for the bull bass.


Today they can no longer be caught commercially; however, they have increased in population to the point where licensed California sport fishermen catch nearly 1,000,000 annually. Need­less to say, striped bass is today the most sought-after game fish in the state. Anglers come from near and far to fish rivers, sloughs, bays and the Pa­cific Ocean in search of this captivat­ing game fish. The striper's meat is delicate to the taste but he is more respected for his cunningness and ability to fight. The striped bass has infiltrated into every river, slough and bay that eventually descends to the Pacific Ocean. The limit on striped bass in California, set by the Department of Fish & Game, ls presently three fish per person per day, none of which can be under 16 inches in size. Though there ls no closed sea­son, there are some restrictions to night fishing in certain areas, one of which Is San Francisco Bay.





What makes the striped bass such a captivating game fish Is his unpredict­able nature. Strlpers will feed on just about anything that wiggles, walks or squawks. Plugs, spinners, spoons, flies, poppers, jigs and live bait are but a few of the varieties of garb that strip­ers seem to take on with an uncontrol­able vengeance. Yet, on the other hand, this linesided "vacuum cleaner" is often just as satisfied to cruise the bottom to feed and pick up grass shrimp, clams, crabs, worms and other fish as well. His type of disposition reaches the mood of just about every type of angler. Be­cause this Is so, fly, spin, plug, surf and bait fishermen find the linesides offer a continual challenge.


 Fly-rodding for bass.


To cover all the areas, the striped bass exist on the West Coast, and to explore all the means and methods of attacks, as well as Introduce equipment to catch this creature, would require a book as thick as Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. But, in brief, there are a few things to keep in mind when pursu­ing striped bass along the West Coast.





One is to remember that the striped bass is a salt water game fish that uses the Pacific Ocean as his base camp. He grows the healthiest and the fastest here because of the abundance of food. However, come the first rains, and, like most migratory game fish, the striper makes his way into the fresh water rivers, sloughs and streams to spawn. The primary spawning ground on the Pacific Coast ls the vast Delta Area of inland California. Here the complex maze of waterways serve as the stripers' spawning area. After spawning, the bass return to the ocean. But in order to get from the Paclflc Ocean to the Delta Area, the bass must pass through San Francisco Bay. It ls here in the brackish waters of the bay that the bass become acclimatized to the change from salt to fresh water. And so this presents three very differ­ent areas to fish for striped bass, each of which has its suitable techniques that prove most effective for fishermen in the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay and the Delta spawning area. To find what techniques work the best on strip­ers, you need only to study the bass' feed.


The shrimp fly - discovered by the author to be a killer for bass.


In the ocean, the stripers feed pri­marily on anchovies, smelt, herring and other fish. Anglers using heavy tackle pound the surf during the summer months with 3- to 4-oz. lures that rep­resent bait fish. Also, the live bait boats from San Francisco take a heavy toll of these summer-run beach bass. As the bass move into the into the bay, the fishing techniques change consider­ably. It is here in San Francisco Bay, because of its many inlets, coves and flats, that the stripers are pursued the most. Here the fly rodder, plug caster, spin jigger, troller and bait anglers con­nect with the linesides as they school up to flood the bay. Just about any plug, shiny or dull, retrieved fast or slow, will take bass when they are schooled. There are exceptions, of course, but the fish are usually extremely co­operative. From here, the fish migrate into the maze of sloughs throughout the Delta Area. Though few are caught on lures at this time, bait is the most effective source. Be it live bullheads, cut sardines, grass shrimp, pile worms, clams or stink bait, the stripers seem to love them all. During the spawning months, the bait fishermen of the Delta score well.

Be you a fly rodder, spin caster, plug­ger, troller or bait slinger, you'll be able to find the striped bass just about anywhere along the Pacific Coast from the Umpqua River south. Once you do, you'll never be able to get him out of your system.





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No paper, no subscription. Like regular magazine over digital. Sorry

Ron Morro

Go salt water fishing in a boat and catch ur fresh fish Stripper Bass. Great day to eat what u caught and take nothing home

William Metterhauser

I’ve specialized on Stripped Bass salt water only because it’s sushi eating at its best due fresh just caught is old hat since I’m 74 and making sushi 39 years after finding it in China , went to wholesaler. Now it’s gotten harder to find and Wegmans supply the best quality.

William Metterhauser

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