Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

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Feature Creatures

"The Fish Challenge"
(Striped Bass)

Striped bass are aggressive, powerful fish that can sometimes weigh more than 100 pounds. Estuaries and large bays near river mouths are still the bass' prime living space. North Carolina, however, seems to be the area for the largest striped bass. Perhaps this is because its warmer weather creates a longer feeding period.

Striped bass bodies are shaped like a torpedo and fall between the extremes in fish shapes. They have a fish body, the length of which is three to four times the width. The back is slightly arched, while the bottom of the body has a sway to it, especially in older fish. The tail is large and slightly forked.

Striped bass have a talent for frustrating even the most experienced of fisherman. Although striped bass are the most-studied salt water fish in America, there is much about them that we still do not know. There is still plenty to discover about them such as why they don't show up where they're "supposed to" at a given stage of the tide, why they will greedily devour a particular bait or lure one day and ignore it the next, and why a school that's feeding and thrashing on the surface will suddenly disappear just as you get within casting distance. It may well be that this species' behavior is mysterious enough to drive us crazy, to strike our fancy, and seize our attention. We humans love a challenge, and when it comes to challenges, fishing for striped bass surely make the list.

©2001 Charles Chaves



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