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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 05-24-2019, 02:09 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

After reading any of my almost true books, you are more likely to catch a moby striper. Were you to catch one, what would you do with it?
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:17 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

Right now? Let it go. I don't want attention. I'd enjoy it, set it free, and go back to fishing.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

I would release it as quickly as possible doing my best to make sure it is in recovery first. No picture. No measurements.
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:06 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

Responses don't surprise me because the ethic has evolved. Keep that in mind when you analyse other evolving situations" that feelings/responses change with times. Time was when your fathers would have said, "would have kept that buggah in a heartbeat, why throw back a fish of a lifetime?" On the other hand, does one striper matter in a sea full of stripers? Or does killing one when the draggers are harvesting them by the ton for the commercial market?
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

I honestly would keep the first 50, or actually the first of {insert my personal best over 30} I ever caught, get it weighed and eat it gladly... even though I'm told smaller ones are much better, which frankly I believe.


After that I would not, as even now I release most, especially when I'm targeting other fish for the dinner plate, like tog or flounder.
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Old 05-26-2019, 08:38 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

There are a lot of other species of fish that are better eating than striper. Also, cutting and packaging a striper is a ton of work when compared to buying a cod or haddock filet at the market. Its easier to buy a fish than cut a fish.

A slight digression, but related, it takes a couple of hours to pluck, cut and package a turkey. You can buy a nice, clean turkey in the market with no pin feathers that is ready to pop into the oven for under five bucks. To further digress on this digression, the special cartridge that you should use to kill this bird costs $8 for ONE! Lordy, don't miss.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:45 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

I sold my first fifty, a 52 in 1964, to a Chinease Restaurant, for five bucks. We could never afford to eat fish that we could sell back in those days which led to a lot of Chicken-a-la-King.

That year, 1964, my wife had a figure to die for and I could do something about it.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:26 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

One of the reasons I'd let it go is because most of the spots I fish are pretty quiet - I rarely have to deal with any other anglers, let alone crowds, most of the time. Very frequently when fishing after dark, I'm the only one out there (it's glorious).

I would not want to publicize the fish because I wouldn't want to lose that. Publicize that a 50 was caught in a specific spot, and every ding-dong within 200 miles is going to be fishing there the next day. I can understand risking that for money, but for the pathetic reflected glory of other fishermen? Please. 95% of the other fishermen I meet I'd go out of my way to avoid, and I'm going to publicize a fish I caught... so I can get their adulation? I'd let a 50 go twice before I'd do anything to get the attention of those morons.

I understand the reasons why fisherpersons, especially surf rats, would keep a 50. It's a benchmark, a life goal, analogous to breaking 80 in golf, bowling a 300 game, or violating an Alabama sodomy statute with a Victoria's Secret underwear model. And I would never criticize someone for keeping a 50, for whatever reason. Another angler keeping any legal fish is none of my business.

But keeping a 50 ain't for me. There was a time in my life, in my evolution as a surfcaster, when I'd have certainly kept one, but that time has passed. It's not even really about the fish for me any longer, and I go out of my way to avoid as many people as I can. I'd release a biggie just so I wouldn't risk being able to be alone when I fish.
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Old 05-28-2019, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

For me the choice on keeping a 50 is no different than keeping a 10, 20, 30, etc. If it looks healthy enough to swim free, then so be it; if not then she swims into my cooler. The only weight I have in my mind that goes home with me with no questions asked is an 80+. And with no real way to gauge that in the field, I'll just have to figure out how to determine said weight when the times comes.
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

Chris, It is not mandatory that you publish where you caught your 50... especially if no one is there to witness it.


You simply state it was caught "in NJ" and that's that.
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Old 05-28-2019, 01:43 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

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Originally Posted by RobS View Post
Chris, It is not mandatory that you publish where you caught your 50... especially if no one is there to witness it.


You simply state it was caught "in NJ" and that's that.
I'm jaded enough to think that no matter what I said, the truth would get out. It's better not to chance it, and let the fish go. I neither need nor want any attention because of a fish.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:27 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

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Chris, It is not mandatory that you publish where you caught your 50... especially if no one is there to witness it.


You simply state it was caught "in NJ" and that's that.
No, it was caught at the Guzzles.

What is paradoxical is that this is a fish of a lifetime, and while morally unpopular, you want to keep it and have it mounted.
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Old 05-30-2019, 02:24 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

We so avoid other anglers, or hunters for that matter, that we never have to worry about being discovered with something. We don't stop, fishing or hunting, if there is another sportsman parked there. I know every foot of where we fish and always have other options if someone is around. Hunting, hiding is much easier. No one knows where we hunt and we don't overhunt a place so even if our buggy is recognized, it won't likely be seen a second time. Also, I measure the spaces between trees in order to determine where I can park in the brush. For oil changes my mechanic, examining the scratches, always asks, "where the heck do you go with this thing?"
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:00 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

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We so avoid other anglers, or hunters for that
^^ That's the crux of it, really. I like being alone too much. People say, "Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if you had a buddy to go fishing with?"

Screw that. It was Charles Bukowski, I think, who said, The best readers and the best humans are the ones who reward me with their absence. I feel that way about fishing buddies.
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Old 05-31-2019, 03:37 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: 50 Poundah -- what would you do?

Well said, Chris. Hunting this spring no one ever horned in on my wife and I. When they see your buggy, they go somewhere else. People seem to have gotten a much higher ethic re crowding. Of course remember that turkey hunting is the most dangerous shooting sport and hunters know it. So they don't flirt with the devil.

More to the thread, what about having a fifty mounted? You could, you know, release the fish-of-a-lifetime and just ask the taxidermist to do you a plastic replica mount. He presumably has molds for all sizes. Skin mounts are not permanent anyway and do degrade. The molded model has no biological content. Plastic.
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