Monster Cow [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Monster Cow


Striper
11-19-2004, 12:48 PM
I just PM'ed Juro about this but thought I would tell you guy's about my best friend Al's monster fish he took today. I got a call this morning about 10:00 from a very excited fishin' maniac who was telling me he finally got the big one. I said what??? He says "I got the big one at last". I said how big and almost crapped my drawers when he told me how big it was.

64.25 Lbs. :eek:
55" in. Long
31" in. Girth

He and I have been fishing together for a long time and we always talked about the big one. Every trip out we would discuss the big one and how we might get her etc., then I caught my big one last year and he was beside himself, depressed that he was not there to witness it. He has not stopped talking about the 50 pounder this whole season, he has put in unbelieveable hours on the water in search of the 50. He said to me this morning when I met him to see the fish "Now I can get some sleep" and he promptly pulled the boat for the season :D . My fish was quite a large fish but this fish is again in another category, 4.5" longer than mine and 2" wider in girth adds up to 10 lbs. more weight. I took several digital pics for Al while at the marina and will post them up as soon as I get them emailed to me. He entered it into the dreamboat contest in the fisherman which will put him solidly in 1st in the bass category. He was still shaking when I met up with him and I remember feeling the same way last year, I tried to get him to hold the fish up higher for the picture and he couldn't even lift off the ground :hihi: . Congratulations Al you finally made it into the 50 club and then some.

Mike M.

Striper
11-19-2004, 01:45 PM
http://ctfisherman.com/data/418ALsMonster.jpg


http://ctfisherman.com/data/418ALsMonster2.jpg

Quentin
11-19-2004, 01:48 PM
Awesome fish, congrats to Al!

But please don't leave us hanging -- let's hear some details! I'm not asking for any proprietary info, I'm just curious about the things that most anglers ask about when discussing a great catch like that.

Q

Striper
11-19-2004, 02:13 PM
Well he should be the one to tell all but I know he is going to wimp out online so I'll give you what he gave me. Fish was caught off the CT. River mouth around 8-9 am. this morning, he was drifting live eels and he took it on the second drift. The fish was in about 20-25 ft. of water over a sand bottom with alot of humps and bumps. He has been fishing this spot that I showed him last year the last couple of weeks. He has taken some nice fish recently but nothing like this one, previous biggest there was 47" in the 35-40 lb. class. He said the fish nearly spooled him on the initial run :hihi: I warned him about that. He did finally get the fish stopped and turned and when he got it to the boat he was understandably in shock. He told me he needs a bigger net :chuckle: . He is a very good fisherman who does alot of flyfishing with me as well, but like me he also still fishes conventionally when the situation calls for it. I really am tickled he finally got the big one, I could only be happier if I had caught the fish :lildevl:

juro
11-19-2004, 02:14 PM
What a BEAST!!!!! :eek:

Congrats Al, and Mike your monster was no slouch either. You guys are setting the mark out there!

Dble Haul
11-19-2004, 02:26 PM
That's not a bass, it's a baby whale. :eek:

Great catch. :)

Striper
11-19-2004, 02:45 PM
Juro,
I am not doing anything secret or different than any of you guy's. Nor am I more passionate than any of you, as a matter of fact I think some of you are surpassing me on the LOONEY scale :hihi: . Just doing something I/He loves to do and once in a while even a blind squirrel finds a nut :D Seriously though I think anyone can catch one of these big fish it is a matter of devotion and passion, you have to be passionate and devoted to the quarry to put in the mindless hours through aweful conditions to finally be rewarded. Being in the right place at the right time is strictly a matter of putting in your time, as you well know Juro. How many times have you taken people back to a spot that was on fire the day before only to find it quiet and fishless, then there are times when all of the hard work and effort pays off and you find a honey hole where the fish consistently hold and you can almost set your clock to them. I love this stuff and the constant head scratching is only another part of the fun/frustration, days like today for Al make it all seem worth the effort. It bothers me by the way to see sucjh a huge fish die at our hands but I comfort myself in the fact that I have released thousands of fish over the years and to take one trophy after so many years is not the worst thing in the world. This fish I am sure spawned many of the twinkies we have caught in the past and may have spawned one of your next 50's I hope. Which brings to mind a question I had for everyone. It is inevitable that some are going to poopoo the killing of my friends fish, I don't care what they think or say I believe if the shoe were on the other foot it would be a hugely different story and they would be hard pressed not to bring that very same fish home for the wall. But my question is this (unscientific of course) I have heard only a few 60's taken this year and a handful of 50's, how many fish of this size do you guy's think comprise the total number of bass in the wild??? 1%, 2%, 5%, 10% I would really like to know your opinions or science if any. I am just trying to quantify the taking of a large female like this out of the bionmass and how much impact it truly might have if any.

Tightlines,
Mike M.

GregD
11-19-2004, 03:08 PM
Hi Mike, erh Capt Mike :wink:

Great fish, congrats to your friend Al. As far as taking a big fish like that once in a great while. I personally doubt that the fish had many years left based on it's size. I don't think that they grow much larger. So taking a senior citizen out prior to expiring naturally anyway wouldn't have the impact that taking two fish a day over the course of the season as others in the sport do. Most all of us here to my knowledge are primarily catch and release. I know I send most all the keepers back to spawn another day.

Greg.

JimW
11-19-2004, 04:43 PM
If I could have hauled it over the gunnel. Let me think for a minute.......
Hell yes I'd keep it. What are the chances of a fish that size surviving after a 10 minute tug of war anyway?

Do stripers continue to spawn until the end or was this beast spent anyway?

I know they toss the brood stock salmon rainbows in the ponds after a time, I always assumed it was because they no longer produced eggs. Salmon run on a cycle like the herring don't they? Spawning aside, think of all the micro stripers Al saved, I'm sure they were on the menu for this giant.

Well before I ponder myself off the page -- Nice fish!

Quentin
11-19-2004, 04:56 PM
. . . This fish I am sure spawned many of the twinkies we have caught in the past . . .

This fish probably spawned some of the 30s, 40s and even 50s that are out there right now!

Thanks for the additional info Mike.

Q

juro
11-19-2004, 05:46 PM
Mike -

According to biologists text I've read and McClane's Standard Fishing Encyclopedia (the fishing bible) striped bass of that size and age no longer spawn. I'm sure some strains reproduce longer than 'expected' and others stop even younger, but as a rule that's what they say.

I would imagine that even if a behemoth cow or two keeps the light on a little longer at the Chesapeake hotel, the vast majority of reproduction is initiated by fish of much smaller size than that monster, and impact on striper population has more to do with regulations up and down the coast, habitat, and exploitation than the retention of a trophy once in a lifetime.

You should have Al send a scale sample to the Maryland DFW for analysis, they can tell you how old at least from it. From what I gather they do the most direct research on striped bass probably because of the Chesapeake Bay striper nursery in their backyard.

JimW
11-19-2004, 06:31 PM
I seem to remember an article in one of the fish rags that covered the scales as a method of determining age. What I can remeber is that there are growth rings similar to a tree. If memory serves me the sample scale should be taken close to the lateral line below the dorsal fin.

Striper
11-19-2004, 07:59 PM
Juro,
You are a man of high intelligence and I can always count on you for some very valuable info. That info is going to come in very handy when I encounter the "Why did he kill it crowd" who are already circling the wagons and less than 12 hours after the landing? Some of these professed conservation minded "fisherman" don't even have a clue and if they could see some of the horrorible pictures from the 60's of bass this size laying dead on the beach after a haul seining they would really curl up and cry. I am not condoning the killing of large bass and as you know I take great pains to keep from having that happen EVER, but there are special times when circumstances just overrule the norm and this is one of them. I just don't see many "real" fishermen releasing a fish this size after spending the kind of time that we do in search of the mythical beast. Thanks again for the uplifting info, I was not aware that the very old females were thought to be done with their spawning. This fish truly looked tired to me, whether or not that was the case or not????? But it has been around a long time and this may have been the last winter she could have put up with. We could go on and on but I just wanted to tell his story as he is kind of a shy dude who probably wouldn't tell anybody, the time and effort he put in is worth some attaboys and I finally got him to register for a website :) . I am going to try and see if I can get him to post something here so you all can ask him the questions he should be the one telling the story I am just the messenger.

Mike M.

Dble Haul
11-19-2004, 08:04 PM
While I may not be a man of "high intelligence" ( :wink: ), I can confirm the fact that fish of this size are all but done with their breeding. I have read this on several occasions, in both magazines and fisheries texts.

Striper
11-19-2004, 08:37 PM
Do either of you have any web related lnks to some of that material I would like to bone up on it if available.
Thanks!

Bonito Bob
11-19-2004, 08:51 PM
Mike,

Congratulations to your friend on his catch. From what I've read, and I know little compared to many on this site, your friends trophy catch was around 19 years old, maybe 20 years. The fish most likely would not have gone too much longer. Maybe a year, maybe several more years. Most of this size are females, and the amount of eggs ( if any) are way way lower in quantity and quality that smaller fish when in their prime.

Hopefully your friend will mount this fish as a testimony to his passion, to management of the biomass and to catch and release and the rewards. Thanks for posting.

Best -

Bob

Striper
11-19-2004, 09:47 PM
The fish was dropped off at Northeast Taxidermy this afternoon and joined his 10.5 lb. Albie that was left earlier this fall after he and I did a Montauk run. He always said if he got a 10+ lb. albie it was going on the wall. The albie is going to cost $300 but the bas I don't know, judging by the cost of my fish which was $900 I would say his is going to be over $1,000. It is a fine testimony to his passion and respect for the fish and fishery, it should be displayed for all to admire for years to come.

Mike M.

I almost forgot the guy at N.E. Taxi said it was the biggest bass he has had this year and he has had a bunch of 50's and a couple just 60's, he even had a Charter Capt. who was in the shop come over and look at it, he was from the Cape somewhere and he said it was the biggest darn bass he had ever seen and he had been chartering for a long time.

porkslice
11-20-2004, 10:24 AM
Holy S#!* nice going Al . Mike you give us lowly gromits somthing to shoot for. Congrats on passing the test.

polareyez
11-20-2004, 04:42 PM
Excuse me while I turn green with envy :D Even in my dreams I've never seen one that size and when I'm sleeping I've caught some big fish.

IronMike
11-20-2004, 07:14 PM
Lots of great info here - including formulae for fertility and age determination from scales ;)

http://www.cce.cornell.edu/suffolk/Fisheries/species/striped%20bass.pdf

IronMike
11-20-2004, 07:43 PM
From http://www.gma.org/fogm/Roccus_saxatilis.htm :

Merriman[58] found that "approximately 25 percent of the female striped bass first spawn just as they are becoming 4 years old, that about 75 percent are mature as they reach 5 years of age, and that 95 percent have attained maturity by the time they are 6 years old," among Connecticut fish. But a large percentage of the males had matured at 2 years, probably nearly all of them by the time they were 3 years old. And it is probable that this applies equally to the Maine bass. Merriman has also made the interesting discovery that only about one-tenth of the bass of northern waters are males, but that males are nearly as numerous as females, southward from Delaware Bay.

Very interesting.

Striper
11-22-2004, 08:09 AM
Mike,
Thanks for the info and the email :D :wink:

capt_gordon
11-22-2004, 08:32 AM
Down here in NC there is a tremendous fishery for extremely large Red Drum in August and September. I mean that any knucklehead with a boat and some chunked menhaden can go out and reasonably expect to catch a 60 lb red. Everybody around here has a picture of themself with a huge red caught in the dark (not me though, still looking for one to sight cast a fly to in the morning but that is another story). But I digress. The fishery is a complete release fishery. You can't keep a redfish over 27 inches. Period. Those big mommas are exactly that. They give these astronomical numbers of eggs that these fish produce. Can you send me an article or something that says that stripers over 50lbs (or whatever) don't reproduce. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that one. Do they have menopause or something? :-)
Congrats to your friend. That is a fish of TWO lifetimes.

GregD
11-22-2004, 06:59 PM
In Part... But I digress. The fishery is a complete release fishery. You can't keep a redfish over 27 inches. Period. Those big mommas are exactly that. They give these astronomical numbers of eggs that these fish produce. Can you send me an article or something that says that stripers over 50lbs (or whatever) don't reproduce. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that one. Do they have menopause or something? :-)
Congrats to your friend. That is a fish of TWO lifetimes.

Hi Capt,

I have to agree I'm having trouble wrapping my gourd around that one too. I believe I read stripers can live to 60 years and reach 100lbs. It's seems like the fish would be older than 20 years to reach that size. 35-40 or so seems more probable based on it's weight. It would be interesting to know what it's true age and life expectancy would be. I don't have that data at hand at the moment But will post it when I can.

Thanks,
Greg

Striper
11-22-2004, 09:18 PM
Capt. Gordon,
I have to admit I have been pondering the thought of fish this size not being viable breeders anymore since reading Juro's post early on. There is much debate going on on several other sites about this very subject and I truly do not have any credible data to fight with. To this end I emailed a good friend who is a biologist down your way and has been fishing with me in the past. He is not currently researching bass but has been involved in the past with them, he also has many friends in the science field who do research the bass and other species. I asked him for the real poop on these big fish once and for all, that is of course if the professional researchers even know???? I tend to think they are still very much in the dark concerning their spawning behavior and longevity, and it may be that the conjecture is spawned on the scientific end of things with different researchers arguing over what they think and find. I am very curious now and will see this through to it's final conclusion and hopefully will receive some pertinent information to share with everyone. On another note I have a question for you concerning the big Red Drum, you said they are targetted with bait on the bottom, this being the case what is the regulations regarding the C&R fishery for them? Is there a high mortality rate for these fish being so large and fighting to exhaustion in high water temps? I know in the middle of the summer the last 2 that we have had a good run of quite large bass in eatsern CT., these fish have been targetted mainly with live bait and I was seeing a large amount of these fish not surviving after even a short fight. This was while using very heavy tackle and circle hooks etc., the fight times were relatively short but the water temps were high mid-to-upper 60's, are the reds negatively impacted by high water temps in the summer time or are they sufficiently adjusted to it that it is not a factor? Thanks again for making me think a bit more.

Capt. Michael Mayo
HardCore Light Tackle Adventures

capt_gordon
11-23-2004, 09:35 AM
Mike,
Re: catch and release mortality. I think that striped bass may be one of the worst fish in saltwater for it. The study they did in Weldon a number of years ago showed a decent number of them die even with single hook artificials. Red drum on the other hand are one of the hardier fish and survive even when realeased from gillnets most of the time. There has been a great amount of press on using circle hooks and extremely short leaders, combined with pretty heavy gear to keep the fight time under 10 minutes, for the big drum fishery. I am talking about leaders of less than 8 inches. As short as 4 inches I have seen. Basically fishing a jig head with bait on a circle hook. The drum won't swallow the sinker and get hooked in the mouth. I don't know if that would work for stripers. Reds are basically gulpers when they take a bait and don't mess around. The fish are being tagged and the people doing it seem to think the fish survive the catch and release pretty well.
On a side note: I have seen these huge drum in the shallows. You get a short window of opportunity in the morning and the wind has to be absoulutely perfect. Almost every time I have been able to cast to them have been when I have had spin fishing dudes on board. Had one tip down on a fly in 2 feet of water once. Tail came out and I waited for the line to come tight but the fish swam off without eating my fly. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! The sight of a red of over 40 inches tailing on my fly is an image that will stay with me forever.

Striper
11-23-2004, 04:53 PM
The sight of a red of over 40 inches tailing on my fly is an image that will stay with me forever.

Now you did it I am tingly all over thinking about that scenario. I need to get down there one of these days soon. As soon as I start making money again :(

GregD
11-23-2004, 04:53 PM
I thought I 'd share this with you as another option to keeping a large trophy sized fish to make a wall hanging. I have seen first hand the work done by a gentleman from Maine who has done taxidermy for many years, But stopped taking trophy sized animals and fish to promote catch and release. He believes the trophies should remain in the wild. Instead he now crafts replicas made of wood carvings that are painted in great detail. He does beautiful work and only requires a photograph and a few measurements. I have seen some of his work first hand and it looks like a real fish or animal. The wood replicas don't suffer the typical degradation over time that all taxidermy work typically does, bleed through, discoloration, separation etc...

If your interested in learning more about Gene and his work you can send me a PM.

Greg.

Striper
11-23-2004, 05:02 PM
Greg,
Sounds interesting and yes I would like to get some more info on this gentleman. The problem with getting a replica done is you still have to land the fish and bring it on-board, this is where the real damage is done. If you have several people on the boat then you may be able to quickly and safely take the required measurements and then release the fish. If it is a huge fish and the water temps are up I believe letting it go is futile as the fish has very little chance of surviving after a fight in those conditions, but if you do get one in those conditions it is imperative that the fish not be removed from the water and that the fight be kept to a minimum. I bet his fish carvings are gorgeous and i would definitely consider that in the future should I be lucky enough to catch another lunker over 60 lbs. of course, 50's are just schoolies :hihi: :wink:

GregD
11-23-2004, 05:15 PM
Hi Mike,

I certainly agree mortality is an issue with handling large stripers. I know many use boca grips, or nets as opposed to cradles and the fish tend to be played out to the point of not being able to be revived. But in the off chance they are landed under the right conditions measurements could be taken as well as a photo to document the catch. Just another option to consider that many folks probably are unaware of
presently.

I'll send you some contact info when I get back home to it.

Thanks,
Greg.