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How to Properly Release a Striped Bass [VIDEO]

ryan collins my fishing cape cod breakfast

A couple of years ago I was going through our member forum, and I noticed a thread about the many poor catch and release practices witnessed during that year at the Cape Cod Canal

If you were not already aware, a lot of the people who fished the canal, especially during the 2017 season, did not know how to properly release a striped bass, resulting in dozens of dead fish floating in the canal's swift current. 

As we look forward to the 2021 season, I thought it would be good to share a quick video I created about how to properly release a striped bass. In this video I don't touch on everything you can do to ensure a good release, but I do mention a few of the most important things to keep in mind. 


Striped Bass Catch And Release

As a collective group of anglers we probably catch and release tens of thousands of stripers each and every season here on Cape Cod. These fish encounter a lot of hooks throughout their lifetime and many fish are caught and released several times.

So without a doubt I think we can all understand how important it is to do the best job possible when catching and releasing striped bass (and other species). If you are new to catch and release striper fishing, then I think the video below will be a good one for you to check out.

Please click play below to watch! ?

As mentioned in the above video, there are three important keys to successfully releasing a striped bass in good condition:

  • Keep the fish in the water and minimize handling.
  • If you want a photo, then remove the fish from the water for just a few seconds, and hold the fish horizontally.
  • Consider crushing the barbs on your hooks, especially when catching schoolies.

2021 TV Show Catch & Release Commercial

As I've mentioned recently on social media and here on the MFCC website, I am happy to announce that season 4 of My Fishing Cape Cod TV will begin airing on NBC Sports Boston on Saturday mornings at 9:30am, February 13-April 3.

I have a lot of flexibility with how the program is presented to the public, so I decided to include a 30 second striped bass catch and release video within the time allotted for commercial breaks. I figured this would be a good use of time, as opposed to trying to sell the commercial space for a traditional advertisement. 

There are only so many catch and release tips I can pack into a 30 second block of time, but here is my best attempt. Once again I hope to air this video during the commercial breaks of hopefully every single episode. 

Please click play below to check it out! ?

What other catch and release tips would you like to share? Please let me know by commenting below!

Tight lines!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Great tips we should all try to follow. Stripers are pretty hardy fish and most should survive with a little TLC. I agree with a previous post stating that most of the floaters were a result of upgrading. Many 10 to 15# floaters but few 25 to 30# floaters. Sad!

    1. Yep, upgrading is a very sad (not to mention illegal) practice. Hopefully there will be less of it going forward.

      Thanks for checking out the video Mike and thanks for commenting. Hope to see you our there this season!

  2. Ryan thanks for doing this great video. As much as I had a blast catching so many large stripers last year( especially on top) I hope the canal is much slower. That being said I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to gaff bass? Correct me if I’m wrong. Last year really made me sick to see what was happening. All I can do when I go home is know that I did everything right to give the fish it’s highest chances of survival.

    1. Incredible how we are praying for slower fishing! However I completely understand why Paul.

      It is not illegal to gaff bass. However, it makes absolutely no sense to gaff a bass if you do not 100% intend on keeping the fish. Usually gaffs are used by commercial or charter boats (not at the canal).

      It makes me happy to know there are lots of guys like yourself who do everything they can to ensure the highest chances of survival. Keep it up! ??

  3. “Great Video” As a NEW Fisherman, now I know how to treat the Fish right!!! Now I have to Catch some nice Strippers!!! LOL

    1. Good to hear Daniel ?? I will be sure to make plenty more videos like this throughout 2018. Tight lines!

  4. Great Video Ryan..One of the saddest things I saw down at the canal last year were the dozens of beautiful but dead fish in and along the canal,As I agree with these release tips,My feeling is that most of these fish died because of excessive so called fisherman upsizing.and tossing the smaller fish back way to late.and I witnessed enough of this .broke my heart as a person who has fished there for 40 years.An increase of EP Police presence would b nice.Part of me hopes for a slower season ,and fewer yahoos…

    1. I agree David, it can at times be a pretty sad sight. Hopefully things are less crazy this season. We shall see ??

  5. Good video. I noticed last summer when fishing the Sandwich bulkhead area you need a long-handle net to get fish out, A couple of folks used gaffs and the fish was badly injured. Fortunately the ones I saw were keepers, but it would seem best to avoid gaffing if you can.

    1. Definitely. Most folks have common sense, however I have seen people gaff and then release fish, which makes no sense at all ?

  6. Excellent job on this video!
    My only added suggestion would be to replace treble hooks
    with appropriate single hooks on lures overall –

    1. Great recommendation Ron ??

  7. Thanks for for creating this video Ryan. It is obvious that this is an important issue for you. Just about every photo of you with a fish shows you holding the fish in the horizontal position. As you know, vertical holding of big fish can cause severe internal injury as the internal organs slide towards the tail when the fish is out of the water environment.


      1. Thanks Dex! I have held fish vertically in the past, but I will try to do an even better job of releasing fish during 2018.

        Steve, good luck up at Bass Pro Shops! I’m sure you’ll give a great talk. ?


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