Is it safe to eat

what you catch? were do you go to find out about water quality or mercury levels? I see people fishing out of San Diego bay and Mission bay, and I know the water quality is always questionable. Any thoughts

when i get my license
to fish, there is a chart on consumption. bodies of water in my state are listed along with how many fish per year a person can consume from each one. if you don’t have that perhaps it will be posted on your local D.N.R. page.

state fish department
Your state fish and game will have reports on what and how many fish per year you should eat from a given body of water.

safe to eat
I live right now in Pa. When I get my license to fish, it comes with a mag that tells you what waters are safe to eat fish from. Mercury levels and such. Do not know where you are from, but you may want to check where you get fishing license from.

tables, charts, etc
I think every state has consumption warnings and guidelines now. Usually pregnant women or women of childbearing age and children should be the most careful. Look for lists with exact species and locations. This is Maryland’s:

more reading

If you read every link, you’ll have no time to fish, so its the perfect solution.

MDE press release 6-3-09 , PCB’s …

– Last Updated: Jun-30-09 9:00 PM EST –

..... since we are after Stripers again recently , nephew sent me this ... so I thought it worthy to foward along .

After a couple times out into the wee morning hours , I have found , well , I am / we are , very rusty ... things will change though ...

He cut his teeth on Stripers with me , and I've had a 10 yr. hiatus since owning the bridge ... but he's got a new rig (his first bay worthy play toy) and wants to relive it , so why not ??

I am rusty , but 40-50 fish nights are going to be again , just as soon as some of the rust gets polished off ... hardly ever ate any before and don't expect to be eating many now .

when in doubt,
eat the smaller legal stripers - they haven’t been around as long to bio-accumulate toxins.

If practicing catch & release, consider doing it in the fall & early winter when the water temp cools down & the salinity is higher. There are numerous studies showing much higher mortality from catch & release fishing when the temp is high and the salinity is low (the worst possible combination). And if using cut bait, circle hooks make a big difference too.

I’m such a dummy , link is fixed now …

– Last Updated: Jun-30-09 10:08 PM EST –

...... seem to never get the links typed out correctly first time , and almost always check as soon as posted ... opps , forgot this time , now it's fixed .

No mortality or harm problems Patuxent , you can rest assured of this ... 5-7 ought bucktails with barb removed , perfect hook up right through the upper jaw 99.9 % of the time , 1 in a 1000 unfortunately are bleeders , the rest are strong and kickin hard as soon as released , hands almost never touch them (except for the lower jaw locker thumb thing) , water release if possible (the beauty of barbless)... when late Sept. , early Oct. arrives , the numbers will double , outgoing tide in the wee dark hrs. of the morn. (read cold nights sometimes), in 4' of water will be the crazy days .

mortality not always apparent
Probably the greatest mortality in warm water and low salinity comes from fish that are played out after a long fight on light tackle. They suffer from lactic acidosis not much different than any other vertebrate - but with the disadvantage of trying to extract oxygen from an oxygen poor environment. Believe it or not, the fish hauled to the boat quickly with sturdy tackle have a slightly better chance of survival, although there is a trade-off with more hook damage.

We’ve done the experiments in the Bay with hook & line fish, holding them in net pens after they were caught at different times of the year. Warm water & low salinity (summer) is a bad combination. Recreational fishermen often think they are not harming the fish if they release them - but in reality, the fish would be better off if you kept your limit and stopped fishing after the limit.

Fishing in the fall is a different story. Once the water cools down to the high 50’s and the salinity is higher, catch & release fishing results in far less mortality. I love to catch them too, but knowing what I do, I don’t even take the boat out until October to chase the breaking stripers and follow the birds.

Patuxent, in support of your words …

– Last Updated: Jul-03-09 9:30 AM EST –

...... concerning mortality, lactic acidosis, hypoximia, anaerobic, etc. ... I understand and agree that such risk exist, have always been concerned and take all precautions possible to not harm these fish, excepting "not" fish for them .

Your words did strike a soft spot, and fairly so, and I hold great respect for you, your edu., experiences and knowledge ... I am probably the last and youngest of a small group who have always huanted the bridge at night for many many decades now , I probably won't change ... sooner or later we will be gone , leaving only a handful of next-gen. to fill our void ... in my fathers day they filled 55 gal. drums with Stripers, at least I catch and release .

They are released in strong healthy condition and recovery "will" follow . Should some (small percentage) not make it , the thought bothers me though I will still fish them as always .

I use 17-20 lb. test , a Penn 704Z , 1-1/2 to 2 oz. bucktail w/7-o hook barbless , release in water unhandled as possible, help revive any slow kickers before release (very very few), and don't bring up from the depths much anymore because of bladder puff and exhuastion likely ... I am a consciensious Striper hunter , but a hunter non the less ... catch and release is and always has been a blood sport to some degree .

You want to concern even deeper over fish management practices , think gill netters ... and impound netters who far exceed their poundage quotas every night .

As I have said , it's been a 10 yr. hiatus for me since Striper hunting , 16 yrs. since regular 3-5 nights a week as was the case for 17 yrs. in a row , and decidedly I couldn't tolerate that at this age any longer , so they are getting a break in that respect now .

But I'm after them again now , I will fish them "at best" once a week from now until winter ... should I ever finish my Montauk project boat w/50 hp. , I will live under the bridge again (or so I wish) .

I do not prefer to fish when others are out there , this is my world , wee dark hours of the morn. when all is at rest and peaceful on the bay .

good perspective, Pilotwingz
on catch & release that it is a “blood sport” to some degree. Most assume that every fish released will live, but as you and I know, that’s wishful thinking. I think catch & release is ethical - and if combined with the hunting tradition, then it makes sense to take that occasional fish that appears too badly injured to survive. Its a judgement call for the fisherman. My point wasn’t really directed towards you, but more to inform that this judgement call is so much easier when the water is cold and more saline. The way you fish, minimizing handling, filing off barbs, good old fashioned tackle heavier than most use (I rarely see the great old Z reels used any more - I use a 710Z occasionally).

Sometimes it is better when you don’t know some things. After raising (and stocking) millions of fish, and caring for others in the lab, I can no longer use live fish for bait. I won’t use chum either. Or fish on the big spawning females in the spring. So my gorgeous, like-new, Scout 185SF with a 115 Yamaha four-stroke sits in my barn waiting for 3 months use at most, from Oct-Dec. I even traded away my tow vehicle because it didn’t make sense to commute 108 miles/day with a pickup that got 16 mpg. The Solomons ramp is only 5 miles away and I’m hoping to tow the boat with my new Subaru Outback once I install a hitch on it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be looking for an old truck that I won’t mind leaving sit unused.

If you enjoy chasing breaking fish, why don’t you join me for a trip this fall?

many many years ago …
… thought I’d try my hand at trolling for the early season cows . Didn’t take long to figure it out , and just as quickly I stopped forever , after my first fish .

Reason …

I hooked into one that ran me up bay for a mile … more ?? … off Kent Island between Bloody and the bridge , the weather , the bay was heavy in stiff winds . My tackle was too light to be dragging a 21 Tony , and the fish kept getting line from me … saw the spool twice .

After like forever had passed , it just went slack .

Reeled in empty ??

Looking around I saw her in the distance over the swells and blowing crest … floating .

I tried to get to her , but kept loosing sight in the heavy water . I spent 45 min. circling all around where I thought I saw her last … never sighted her again .

I killed this one out of ignorance … never again . She was one of the huge ones , I could tell her size even at the long distance I spotted her a few times floating .

This remains with me to this day … and I still feel just as bad about it … never trolled for Stripers again since that day .

I had no intentions of keeping , just wanted see if I could catch the “BIG” one … yeah right , what I didn’t think about was if she survive after .

No , they can’t .

WV advisories

Mercury and PCBs are the most common contaminants in WV waters and likes. The mercury is due to emissions from coal-fires power plants. The PCBs are mostly from industrial pollution from the last century when the waterways were used as sewers. A sad legacy.