Salty Tips: Healthy Catch and Release Big Striped Bass on Plugs

Salty Tips: Healthy Catch and Release Big Striped Bass on Plugs

Best Practices for Catch and Release of Big Striped Bass

Fishing for big striped bass can be an exhilarating experience, but it is crucial to ensure the survival of these magnificent fish after they are released. Here are some best practices for catching and releasing big striped bass using plugs.

Removing the Back Hook

One of the first steps to improve the survival rate of released striped bass is to remove the back hook from the plug. Striped bass tend to strike from the head, and removing the back hook reduces the chances of it getting caught in the fish’s gills during the battle. This not only protects the fish but also makes it safer for the angler to handle the fish.

Mashing the Barbs

Mashing down the barbs on the hooks makes it easier to release the fish quickly and with minimal harm. For large striped bass that cannot be kept due to slot limits, this practice ensures a more sporting experience and a higher survival rate for the fish. The smoother hooks allow for an easy and fast release.

Using Appropriate Gear

Selecting the right fishing gear is essential for the catch and release of big striped bass. The gear should be light enough to enjoy the fishing experience but also strong enough to land the fish quickly. Using a heavy-duty rod, a reliable reel, and a 40 lb test braid with a fluorocarbon leader are recommended. This combination ensures that even large fish can be landed in under a minute, reducing stress and potential injury.

Handling and Releasing Fish

Proper handling techniques are vital to ensure the fish’s health. Avoid hanging the fish by its lip; instead, support its body to prevent damage to internal organs. Measure the fish quickly and get it back into the water as soon as possible. When reviving the fish, hold it in the water until it bites down on your thumb, indicating that it has regained enough energy to swim away.

Participating in Citizen Science

Anglers can contribute to catch and release studies, such as those conducted by the Mass Department of Marine Fisheries. Logging details about the catch, including hook placement, fight time, and time out of the water, helps scientists gather valuable data. This information is crucial for developing better fishing practices and understanding the impact on fish populations.


By following these best practices, anglers can enjoy the thrill of catching big striped bass while ensuring the fish are released safely and with a high chance of survival. Removing the back hook, mashing barbs, using appropriate gear, and handling the fish carefully are key steps. Additionally, participating in citizen science projects helps improve our collective knowledge and conservation efforts for striped bass.

Sure! Here are the chapters and timestamps based on the video:

Chapters and Timestamps

  1. Introduction to Catch and Release 00:00
    • Captain Mike introduces the topic and emphasizes best practices for catch and release of big striped bass.
  2. Removing the Back Hook 01:00
    • Explanation of why the back hook is removed to protect both the fish and the angler.
  3. Mashing the Barbs 02:00
    • Steps to mash down the barbs on the hooks for easy and safe release of the fish.
  4. Using Proper Fishing Gear 04:03
    • Recommendations for fishing gear that balances enjoyment and efficiency in landing large striped bass.
  5. Handling and Releasing the Fish 06:08
    • Demonstration of how to handle and measure the fish, and tips for reviving and releasing it.
  6. Participating in Citizen Science 08:10
    • Importance of contributing to catch and release studies and how to log catch details for research purposes.

Related Posts