June 19, 2015
For thousands of years, striped bass have been a critical resource for the inhabitants of modern-day America. Four hundred years ago in 1614, while the famous Captain John Smith was exploring the coast of what would become New England (which he named), he penned an early record of the species. Smith wrote of populations so plentiful that it seemed as if one could walk across the bay on the backs of these iconic fish.
"I myself at the turning of the tyde have seen such multitudes...
that it seemed to me that one might go over their backs drishod."
A few years later in 1620, the striped bass would play a key role in the survival of the Pilgrims during the first harsh winter at Plymouth. As the colony began to thrive, the proceeds from the striped bass fishery funded America's first public school. In the late 1800s the fish was transported live in tanks by train to the west coast, and has since been introduced to freshwater lakes and reservoirs across the country. Over the years the perception of the striped bass evolved from a common east coast food staple to a prized national gamefish.
In short, the striped bass has played a central role in the history and tradition of America since the beginning. It's fitting that in April, Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ) introduced the Striped Bass American Heritage Act. If passed it would establish the striper as the United States' "National Fish."
If you are a fisherman on the east coast you'll know that last season was an awful one for the striped bass fishery. It was a scary reminder of the importance of preservation and a primary motivation for writing this book.
It is my hope that the publication of Fish on the Move will provide parents and teachers with a simple way to educate young children about striped bass, while supporting fishery preservation.
Remember to throw back the breeders.