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June 4, 2001

NJ BOASTS NEW STATE RECORD STRIPED BASS

For more information contact:
Al Ivany at 609-292-2084

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, a new state record striped bass was taken from the Delaware River on May 26. Richard Frankenfield of Phillipsburg caught a 36 pound, 8 ounce striped bass that weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces more than the previous record taken from the Delaware in 1995.

Frankenfield was in a boat casting eels into the Delaware about seven miles north of Phillipsburg when he landed the bass on 25-pound test. The fish measured 45 inches in length with a 26-inch girth. He took the fish to the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Warren County for photos and weigh-in on a certified scale.

Historical data on Delaware River Basin striped bass stocks are scarce and insufficient to determine abundance over an extended period of time, although early reports on the status of fish stocks in the Delaware River suggest that the basin once supported a thriving striped bass population prior to the Industrial Revolution. That thriving population was reduced to practically nothing in the late 20th century. However, during the last decade, the spawning bass population and the number of striped bass eggs, larvae, and juveniles in the Delaware River has steadily increased. The recent increase of the striped bass population in the Delaware River is most likely related to several factors, including the 5-year harvest moratorium and the improving water quality of the lower river.

Recreational freshwater striped bass fishing on the Delaware River in New Jersey takes place from the Commodore Barry Bridge (freshwater license line) to the New York state border. Spawning takes place in the lower river up to the Route 1 Bridge in Trenton. Boat anglers dominate the river south of Trenton as it is wide, tidally influenced, and deep. It is believed that the striped bass that continue to migrate farther up river are feeding on a spawning population of river herring and American shad that precede them. Large stripers have been caught in the Delaware River well up into New York State. From Trenton north, wading, shoreline fishing as well as angling from a boat are all used to pursue stripers. Productive striper areas are the Trenton Falls, Lambertville below the wing dam, Phillipsburg area (current and previous state record), Foul Rift in Belvidere and the Delaware Water Gap. Striped bass fishing usually commences around mid - May when many of the fish are caught on surface or swimming lures in fast moving water. As the water warms many anglers switch to live bait and fish the deeper portions of the river. There can be hooking mortality associated with bait fishing as many of the larger striped bass succumb to the high freshwater temperatures and have a tendency to become hooked deeply. The use of circle hooks, which only hooks the fish in the jaw, can significantly reduce mortality.

The Division has categories for striped bass caught in both freshwater and saltwater. The current state record for striped bass taken from saltwater is 78 pounds, 8 ounces caught in 1982 off Atlantic City.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone (there are no line classes). Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster's signature are necessary. Other rules apply. For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768, or visit the Record Fish Program page for links to the application form and the complete list of state record fish.