Diving the cost of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island for the first time I found some challenging, good eating, new fish to target besides the Blue Fish I know well from Rio. Spearing Scup, Black Fish and Toug in the somewhat murky waters off this part of the east coast was fun, but the highlight game here are the Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)
Swimming in large schools, small groups or alone, they can be found in the bottom ledges when the current picks up. With a slack tide they seem to vanish, only to reappear when the water starts moving again. Fish up to 30lbs are pretty abundant and can be speared by a beginner with some luck and patience. Over that size, it starts to get tricky! Any thing bigger demands technic and persistence from a more seasoned diver. Fish above 50lbs are hard to get, a real trophy for any spear fisherman.
The selectiveness I mentioned in the beginning of this story comes into play when the spear fisherman turns his attention to the Striped Bass, since local law has a bag limit of only one striper a day per diver! This, not only forces the true trophy hunter to value his shot, but also keeps this amazing fishery healthy. A skilled spearo with this objective could shoot over a dozen basses in a day, countless in the season. This would inevitably lead to the end of the abundance that is seen today. Fortunately the one fish per day rule is respected and this fishery showcases the selectiveness that spearfishing offers.
The spearo going for a trophy Striped Bass must focus on that one special fish and in the process let pass by many shooting opportunities at other big tasty basses. He must exercise his patience, because once he lands a striper, he is done for the day. But there is no guarantee that all this choosing will payoff, as the chance of going home empty handed is real, despite having passed many cool fish during the day.
All the fun and successful spearfishing I had this summer was only possible thanks to the generosity of some great local speros that shared their knowledge. Chris Blansfield and Brian Jerussun are true encyclopaedias of the region. The two charters I dove with, Spear-it Charters (Dave Hochman) and Imagination (Jay Saiz) are pro operations, and put me on the fish. I recommend them both!
Ciao New England, see you next summer!
Francisco was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he learned to fish. Spearfishing in Rio de Janeiro is a way of life, and his love for the sea and spearfishing has led him to be a proponent of sustainable spearfishing. He has served as captain of the USA National Spearfishing Team,...