Striped bass go by a wide range of names including Atlantic striped bass, stripers, linesiders, rock, pimpfish, or rockfish. Native to the eastern seaboard of the US and Canada, from the St. Lawrence River to Louisiana, stripers have been introduced to the Pacific coast, Texas and numerous impoundments throughout the country. The largest of the true bass family, this anadromous fish has gain great popularity with anglers wherever it has been introduced.
Rockfish are readily identifiable by their streamlined silvery bodies, marked with seven or eight stripes running from behind the gill plate to the tail. The dorsal fin is separated into spiny and soft-rayed portions. Further, they have a pair of tooth patches on the tongue. Striped bass have been recorded over 6 ft in length and 125 pounds, although most consider any fish over 10 pounds in fresh water to be a respectable catch. They are believed to live upwards of 30 years.
Striped bass travel up rivers to spawn in water of 61 to 69 degrees from April through mid-June. The female broadcast eggs into the water column, as do other temperate bass, where they are fertilized by one or more males. The males bump the female until ripe eggs are discharged and scattered in the water as males release sperm. Female striped bass mature as early as age 4, males reach sexual maturity as early as age 2 or 3. Eggs hatch within one to three days after fertilization, depending on the water temperature.
Initially juvenile bass feed primarily on crustaceans, insect larvae, and larval fish. As stripers mature they become primarily piscivores or fish-eaters. By year one, they are typically four to five inches long, 11-12 inches year two and sixteen or more by year three. Exceptional growth rates, willingness to take a lure, hard fighting when hooked, and excellent table fare, it is easy to understand the popularity of Striped Bass.
Striped Bass in Florida
The following is courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Appearance: Striped bass are quick powerful fish with silvery sides and white belly. They have seven or eight black stripes along the sides. Stripes are absent on young fish of less than six inches.
Habitat: In Florida, striped bass are found primarily in the St. Johns River and its tributaries, and a few panhandle rivers. Striped bass need long stretches of flowing water to reproduce successfully. These conditions are rare in Florida.
Behavior: Stripers do not tolerate water temperatures over 75˚F for long. During Florida summers, striped bass become less active and must find cool water to survive. Striped bass populations depend on annual stockings from FWC and federal hatcheries.
State Record: 42.25 lbs. Big Catch: 30 inches or 12 lbs.