Over the last 3 years, Cape Cod Bay has called me to its dark blue waters, sandy beaches, rough tides, and vast amounts of roaming saltwater fish species. During the hot summer months, many fish species migrate from coastal southern states to feed on baitfish in the cooler waters off Cape Cod. One of the species of migrating fish, and arguably the most sought-after fish for fishermen in the area, is the striped bass.
After a July 4th night full of fun and fireworks, my girlfriend, her father (Paul), and I prepared for a fishing trip the next morning. As the sun rose on July 5, 2021, and the fish began to feed, we had a feeling that today would be the day we would catch some fresh fish for dinner. Leaving the boat ramp, Paul navigated the boat towards the deep waters in search of mackerel, a striped bass’ favorite snack-sized meal. In just a few minutes, the livewell on the boat was full of mackerel, and we began our search for the aggressive schools of striped bass.
After catching our bait, Paul found a giant school of striped bass moving right underneath the boat. Within seconds, we dropped down our live mackerel and began patiently waiting for a bass to take the bait. While the boat drifted, I felt an aggressive tug from a fish swimming right beneath us. After a 12 minute long fight, the tired striped bass was boat side and ready to be brought aboard, and Paul scooped the fish into a large net. Excitement filled us all.
Striped bass are highly regulated with catch limits and size restrictions in Massachusetts. This 43-inch bass was over the legal size to keep of 35 inches for recreational fishermen like myself. These large fish are only allowed to be kept by commercial fishermen within the fishing industry, so we released this fish safely.
There is definitely some level of satisfaction behind catching or harvesting the very food you eat, especially when it comes to fresh fish. After a long day on the ocean, the most refreshing thing for me is eating a nice meal, packed with nutrients from the striped bass we caught that morning. However, since I am primarily a catch-and-release fisherman, releasing this fish gave me a sense of happiness. As my dad has told me since I was a young fishermen, “let them go…let them grow”.
– Written by: Bryce Miranda