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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 08-08-2003, 03:04 AM
Gradydave Gradydave is offline
 
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Hi Frank,

This is my first post on this site, so please forgive me and correct me if I do something incorrectly.

I came to this site hoping to email you after re-reading your book 'Striper Surf' which I first purchased in '93. It looks as if others had the same idea, thus the message forum.

I will try to give you a synopsis of fishing for stripers out here as I dont know how familiar you are with this location. I have fished the striper populations in the SF bay area for longer than I can remember, they are some of my earliest memories. When I was a child the fishing was incredible and every hardware and convenience store sold bait. Huge bass were commonplace. However water diversions in the river systems were taking a toll year by year. Around '86 the numbers of bass starting declining to the point that party boats didnt target them and some years there were no beach runs at all. I was fishing stripers exclusively at that time, and while I caught fish, it was getting more diffucult to find people to chase them with me as it got harder.

By the early 90's, most of the fishing populous had switched gears to boating(myself included) as the salmon fishing was phenomenal due to the hatcheries. Around the same time, Fish and Game came up with a 'pen raising' hatchery program for stripers.

Well the numbers of stripers started increasing in the late nineties, with mainly small fish that schooled aggressively. These fish did not hold to the same characteristics as I had become accustomed to. Historically, the bass had always hugged the shorelines of the bay and surf, now they were schooling aggressively offshore and in open water.

A few years ago I started having children and sold my boat. I now chase stripers almost exclusively again when fishing by myself. But the fish have divided into two categories, the shore huggers and the apparent pen raised fish that school in open water, just teasing you occasionally by almost getting close enough to catch. Unfortunately, the latter seem to be dominant.

The pen rearing program was terminated last year once the number of stripers reached historical levels. So let me finally get to my question/s.

I realize these fish were transplanted out year and have somewhat developed differently from their east coast brethren. But will these pen reared fish actually change the populations behavior permanently or as they die off will the traditional behaviors take over? Or to phrase it differently, can the learned behavior
actually override the genetic code and dominate the populations behavior?

Im not sure if you have ever had any experience with this or if this has happened anywhere else. Forgive me if this post was verbose.

Tight Lines,
Dave
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Old 08-08-2003, 03:04 AM
Gradydave Gradydave is offline
 
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Hi Frank,

This is my first post on this site, so please forgive me and correct me if I do something incorrectly.

I came to this site hoping to email you after re-reading your book 'Striper Surf' which I first purchased in '93. It looks as if others had the same idea, thus the message forum.

I will try to give you a synopsis of fishing for stripers out here as I dont know how familiar you are with this location. I have fished the striper populations in the SF bay area for longer than I can remember, they are some of my earliest memories. When I was a child the fishing was incredible and every hardware and convenience store sold bait. Huge bass were commonplace. However water diversions in the river systems were taking a toll year by year. Around '86 the numbers of bass starting declining to the point that party boats didnt target them and some years there were no beach runs at all. I was fishing stripers exclusively at that time, and while I caught fish, it was getting more diffucult to find people to chase them with me as it got harder.

By the early 90's, most of the fishing populous had switched gears to boating(myself included) as the salmon fishing was phenomenal due to the hatcheries. Around the same time, Fish and Game came up with a 'pen raising' hatchery program for stripers.

Well the numbers of stripers started increasing in the late nineties, with mainly small fish that schooled aggressively. These fish did not hold to the same characteristics as I had become accustomed to. Historically, the bass had always hugged the shorelines of the bay and surf, now they were schooling aggressively offshore and in open water.

A few years ago I started having children and sold my boat. I now chase stripers almost exclusively again when fishing by myself. But the fish have divided into two categories, the shore huggers and the apparent pen raised fish that school in open water, just teasing you occasionally by almost getting close enough to catch. Unfortunately, the latter seem to be dominant.

The pen rearing program was terminated last year once the number of stripers reached historical levels. So let me finally get to my question/s.

I realize these fish were transplanted out year and have somewhat developed differently from their east coast brethren. But will these pen reared fish actually change the populations behavior permanently or as they die off will the traditional behaviors take over? Or to phrase it differently, can the learned behavior
actually override the genetic code and dominate the populations behavior?

Im not sure if you have ever had any experience with this or if this has happened anywhere else. Forgive me if this post was verbose.

Tight Lines,
Dave
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2003, 07:58 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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No problem, Dave, I'm flattered that you came here and appreciate your bonding with Striper Surf. I suppose, this being your first post and all, that you deserve something stupid, but because they are so well thought out, your issues distract me from being stupid.

Your apparent certainty of behavioral differences between hatchery and native populations sounds like you picked up on something written somewhere that some screwball theorist wrote somewhere. We have a lot of those guys writing that stuff here in the east, so you have to have some there as well. Just because it is said, does not make it true. Junk science, I calls it.

Striper behavior here has always had bass offshore and inshore at the same time. To assume that they behave differently because of genetic differences kind of starts that ethereal Twilight Zone orchestra to my ears though I don't know about yours. Some day, a day I don't have a promise, I think I will start a thread on "Junk Science Issues". Where were we?

Bass behavior is probably caused more by foraging needs than any genetic propensity. To me, if there is nothing to eat inshore a bass would have no choice but to forage in deep water. All the bait species have their own periods of scarcity and abundance, but our Junk scientists like to come up with someone to blame when a species is in down cycle and themselves to thank when a forage species is on the up. Thus, it is not the bass that are determining where the feeding happens. Rather, it is the bait. Moreover, what ever happens is as much perceptive as factual. What I mean is that if a person with good language skills theorizes something -- and yes, I do it too -- people all start believing what he/she said and the BS on the subject takes on a life of its own. Sure, I am not intimate with your West Coast situation and don't have a clue. But I am intimate with the social aspects of the Striper World and more crap gets started without basis than scientific fact is ever proven. Yours is a very thoughtful question and I look forward to hearing what our Think Tank here at the epicenter of surfcasting has to throw ... see if it sticks to the wall.

Frank
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Old 08-08-2003, 06:35 PM
Tautog Rich Tautog Rich is offline
 
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Frank, and West Coast fella: the fish you originally had in California was Navesink River fish, transplanted in 1879 or thereabouts. I recall reading an amazin story about a guy out ther on your coast who caught 10,000 documented fish on rod and reel, surf-caught, and from rocks he would swim out to. I have never fished your coast, but have heard of the "grunion" run. I can only imagine what is stalking the suds when they are spawning. I believe Frank is quite correct about bait. If they are hungry and you throw it, they will come. What kind of bait do you have? Do the anchovies still make a large run like they used to say they did? It would be neat to compare notes as to what they eat out there versus here. Have you tried rigged/live eels?
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Old 08-09-2003, 07:21 AM
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10,000 documented fish? We got those guys here on the East Coast too.

Frank
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Old 08-09-2003, 09:00 AM
Tautog Rich Tautog Rich is offline
 
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Frank, I had read a story in either Field and Stream, or other magazine, I think middle seventies about the guy. Of course, I don't know how true it was, but it made for interesting reading. His methods were similar to those guys up in Montauk who swim out to rocks and fish from there. I believe he also fished from ledges off some cliffs(neither method appeals to me). Wife did some housecleaning while I was away som time ago...haven't found the magazine since. It was a neat yarn, though...said he liked the creek chub pikie, gibbs swimmers, etc.
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Old 08-09-2003, 10:06 AM
Back Beach Back Beach is offline
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I remember the story. It was titled, " The man who caught 10,000 stripers". I think the guy's name was Harry Bode, and the article was in Outdoor Life in the early 80's. I remember the article because it was one of the things that originally sparked my interest in surfcasting.
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:57 AM
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Is it me? Has anyone ever noticed that with the big three, or is it the big two, striped bass are not a viable gamefish? You mean someone recalls seeing an article in one of them about surfcasting? About fishing for Stripers? Hello? Outdoor Life? Field and Stream?

One of them wrote Frank up once and they had me as buddies with a person with whom I spoke to once. They spelled both our names wrong and illustrated the surfcasting piece with day photos of guys standing around smoking cigars

Frank
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Old 08-11-2003, 08:18 AM
Back Beach Back Beach is offline
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Frank,

You are correct. That was probably the first and last article.
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Old 08-11-2003, 05:03 PM
Gradydave Gradydave is offline
 
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Harry Bode was a legend out here. He caught the biggest striper from the surf out here that I have ever heard of on the west coast, 59lbs.It was in the Stren ads for years. Bigger fish have been caught in the rivers, but nothing from the beach and rocks. The other legend out here is named Abe Cuanang, he wrote the book San Francisco Bay Striper if anyone wants to compare notes and get the flavor of our coast. Unfortunately, water diversions ended the days that Harry and Abe speak of in their books and articles. I have never met Harry, but met Abe several times.

A brief funny story about Abe. He doesnt fish stripers as much as he used to and the runs had changed since the writing of his book. I fished 100 days a year for bass in the early 90's and had gotten quite proficient at catching bass even in the bad years. Local bait shop owners referred to me as being able to catch a bass in a mud puddle. Then one day I was working a stretch of bay shoreline that should have held stripers on that tide. I worked it with confidence for two hours without a take or nudge of anything I threw or trolled. Convinced there was nothing there I was about to leave when a boat pulled up close by and anchored tight to the shoreline. The move was so deliberate that I watched to see what they knew. Well, it was Abe and his brother, within 3 casts they hooked up and I watched them catch 10 bass(all small) in about 10 minutes. Key was to downsize the lures and drop to 8lb test. Taught me a valuable lesson that Abe is still the man and I had a lot to learn.

As far as the original topic, if my statements were based on junk science then myself and other local genius types(surfcasters, tackle shop owners, drunkards, etc...) are at the root of it. This was nothing I had read, but something I and others had observed. These arent just hatchery fish, to protect their mortality dfg created pens in the middle of the rivers where the fish were raised until 6-10 inches long. So the fish would stach up in the pens facing into the current and wait for their food to sweep to them. They seem to have held this behavior once being released. They know school up in walls in the current in places they never did before, suspended in a line letting the food sweep to them. Its like they are in a giant pen. Unfortunately, you never know where or when they will act this way.

I know this is getting long, but wanted to respond to the gentleman who asked about forage and bait out here. It varies a lot depending on if youre in the ocean, bay, lower delta, or river. In general, live anchovies and sardines are the baits of choice in the bay and ocean. When the grunion come around(not often anymore), casting large rebels is the method of choice. Other than that, most of our surf lures are the same other than eels are not available and never used. Not even imitations. Miki spoons, swimbaits, hair raisers, pencil poppers, and rebels are generally used. The surfers that swim to the rocks far offshore use pikies if they can find them and account for some of the biggest fish of the year. As for the bay and delta, bullheads(sculpins) are one of the deadliest big fish baits there is.

Thanks for the nice reception guys.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:10 PM
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In all fairness to the "Big Two", a lot could have been written about stripers in the years when I no longer subscribed. And, I supppose, I could have even by-passed anything about the West Coast when it did appear. Interests for me have been intermittant due to moratoriums, personal concerns. I am not all things to all things and never sought that. I just do what I am doing and chug along. I think the West Coast is interesting bbbut. Well, I wonder where this thread is going and if response is adequate, muffled, or misread

Frank
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Old 11-05-2003, 02:11 AM
winchmaster winchmaster is offline
 
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HI Frank,
I was just pointed in the direction of this post by a fellow westcoaster. The two Gentlemen that the poster's talked about, Abe Cunnang and Harry Bode were probably the two best striperfishermen on the Westcoast in the seventies. Abe was a young gun at the time and worked hard in discovering ways to attack stripers. When he and his brother Angelo got older they became sportswriters writing books on striper and sturgeon fishing San Francisco waters. They have written many articles for mags and do seminars at most of the big sports shows here even today. They have done very well since those days that we used to fish together as kids.
Now Harry Bode is what you could call the Westcoast Legend. (Though he says some of the guys that taught him were better fishermen)The article about Harry that the Gentlemen were talking about was written in the mid seventies. For one of the big two by Larry Green. I will say it was Outdoor life but can't really remember which Magazine it was. What was not mentioned was that the 10,000 fish Harry had caught at that time, none were commercially fished, most were topwater lures only, none on bait, none were from a boat, all were caught within twenty miles from his house during the months of June, July, August, and September of each year. They were all caught in the Ocean and not the San Francisco bay waters or Delta system and around 85% of those fish were returned back to the surf to swim again. Harry taught me as a kid the lessons of catch and release even when it wasn't fashionable or the norm. Most of his fish were caught either swimming out to the giant rocks that dot our coast or climbing down the cliffs to fish where others wouldn't dare to go. How do I know all this for a fact. I have fished with him and his son since I was 12. He is by far the best surface lure fisherman you will ever meet and though he dosent put his wetsuit on and swim to the rocks at 75 he can still climb down some of the most treacherous goat trails that the westcoast has to offer. He never looked for the fame that some of the top Eastcoast guys did but instead taught younger generations the how's and why's of fishing for stripers.

Got Pikie?
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:53 AM
surfermike surfermike is offline
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Here is my Junk Science Theory on the situation. The fish are still stacking the way they did in the pen due to a learned or conditioned behaivor. Their young, being born wild, will not have this conditioning and will therefor act like the fish of the past
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:41 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: West Coast Stripers

Does anyone know if there is a striper fishery on the left coast?
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:08 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: West Coast Stripers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Does anyone know if there is a striper fishery on the left coast?

There is. Or I should say that historically there has been, since the first bass were brought from Jersey (by train!) in something like 1900, and dumped into the California Delta.

The striper's problem in recent years has become political: as California's enduring water crisis has worsened (the state's long-term water outlook is really frightening, and it's an issue that matters to everyone, because the Central Valley of California produces something like 60% of the country's produce), the Delta, which has been the largest source of freshwater in Cali since the last ice age, has dried up faster than a reformed drunk's liver. The resulting lower water levels have negatively affected all fish stocks, including the striper.

And what's worse for the stripe-it bass now is that people are saying that the presence of the striper, which technically is an invasive species, is hurting native fish like the delta smelt (motto: Whoever smelt it, dealt it!) and native anadromous fish like steelhead and salmon. There have been calls by some for a culling of stripers as a way of protecting native fish.

So old linesides still does have a West Coast presence, but whether that will endure is anybody's guess at this point. They'll probably never be able to get rid of all of them, but there may come a day when a California striper is as rare as a Jersey virgin.

Here's a pretty good article about the deal:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/env...e76228187.html
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