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Sea Bass – a Debacle

By Kastking | 22 January 2018 | 0 Comments

Heated arguments have arisen about the Sea Bass size and the catch limits – here’s the opinion of an experienced  Long Island , NY charter captain.


Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata – commonly referred to as sea bass) are feisty bottom fish that are very popular with anglers because they are easy to catch, fight hard, and offer a delicious meal at the dinner table. In Northeast waters, the sea bass population now appears to be exploding.  This is evident because over the last few seasons’ sea bass are being caught in great numbers from many waterways that never had reliable sea bass fishing in the past.  As anglers, we all should be happy about this. However, in the world of fishing regulations, often a good thing is not really a good thing.



The National Marine Fisheries service (NMFS), aka NOAA acknowledges that sea bass are a rebuilt fishery and no over fishing is occurring.  However, with the voodoo science the NMFS uses to calculate angler catches, it has been decided that sea bass need a harvest reduction of about 30% by recreational fisherman in 2015.  Again…we have a rebuilt fishery, no over fishing is occurring, the fish are expanding to new waters quickly…and we are getting a 30% harvest reduction in 2015.  WTF…what the frig!!!!



sea bass, black sea bass, long island, www.eposeidon.com

Black sea bass from eastern Long Island waters. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Tom Mikoleski)


In New York, where I fish, this reduction is coming down to two choices for area anglers: Option 1- Season July 15 to October 31, 8-fish per person 14” or larger, and then November 1 to December 31, 10-fish per person 14-inches or larger.  Option 2- June 12 to August 31, 2-fish per person 14-inches or larger, then September 1 to October 31, 5-fish per person, then November 1 to December 31, 10-fish per person.



This is setting up a classic battle between East End and West End Long Island fishing interests.  I fish the East End, so I’m partial to the first option, and here’s why; last season we had basically the same season (minus the bump to 10 fish in November,) and all we are doing is raising the size limit 1” to 14-inches in 2015. I personally have no problem throwing fish back until July 15th as long as for most of the summer season we can keep 8- fish per person.  The West End for hire boats prefer the second option so they can pick away, or have a “by catch” on seas bass for more of the summer season.  They feel that their customers will not be happy throwing back nice sized sea bass they will encounter while fishing for fluke and porgies from May 17 until July 15.



The following is my opinion.  Sea bass should not be relegated to “by catch status.”   Especially when sea bass, once again, are not being over fished, nor is over fishing occurring. The West End for hire boats want an earlier opener because the last few years many for hires brought into a program called Research Set Aside (RSA.)



In a nutshell, this allowed the purchase of fish from the government, so the boats could take out paying anglers earlier in the spring and summer when the season was closed to all other for hire boats not in the RSA program.  The RSA was wrong because it shut out great segments of the fishing public.  In addition, the rules of the RSA were a recipe for disaster, and as result much cheating was discovered in the RSA program (by both commercial and recreational boats.) So, in 2015 the RSA program is shelved.  However, many boats that participated in the RSA fishery, that allowed them to fish for sea bass during the early season, still want the fishery to open up early as possible, even if it is only two fish per person until August 31.



I’m sorry to my peers to the West, but 2- fish per person until August 31 is just wrong in the current state of the sea bass fishery.


By Captain Tom Mikoleski


Captain Tom Mikoleski is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam who sails out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. Capt. Tom is the author of Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide.




Eposeidon (www.eposeidon.com  Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.)  brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing(r) fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, Ecooda reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally. Eposeidon is the sole North American Distributor for Ecooda fishing reels.

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