Unusual Catch. 21.5 pound striper caught in Florida surf.

spectr17

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Sunday, March 24, 2002

Striper went too far

Unusual catch near Flagler pier

By Joe Julavits, Jacksonville Times-Union outdoors editor

Having recently attended a fishing class, Burdette "Nub" Storr of Flagler Beach pitched his bait into the ocean last Monday and caught a fish that stunned even his instructor.

Fishing in the surf north of the Flagler Beach Pier, Storr reeled in a 21-pound, 9-ounce striped bass that had apparently lost its compass bearings. While stripers are routinely caught in the surf from Maine to the Carolinas, their southernmost range along the coast is considered to be the St. Johns River.

Stripers are stocked in the St. Johns River itself and caught inland as far south as Sanford. But along the beach, they've been confirmed only as far south as the old Jacksonville Beach Pier. And only two or three small stripers have been recorded at the pier through the years.

"It's a very unusual catch, the first report I've ever heard of a striper that far south [in the surf]," said Allan Brown of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in Welaka. "Stripers don't tolerate warm water very well."

Fisheries biologist Joe Jenkins of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said he would like to have a tissue sample of the fish for DNA purposes.

"We've been working under the assumption for 50 years or so that stripers don't migrate that far south," Jenkins said. "We're wondering if it's a migratory fish or one that exited the St. Johns River."

Storr caught the wayward striper on Fish Bites, the synthetic bait developed by St. Augustine's Bill Carr, the former head of the University of Florida's Whitney Lab at Marineland.

"When it first got on, I thought it was a skate or something," said Storr, who was fishing in the Painter's Hill area. "Then the line started to go out. It took me about 15 minutes to get him in."

Storr didn't know what he had, only that it was the biggest fish he'd ever caught in Florida. A nearby fisherman, who happened to be from Maine, immediately identified the catch as a striped bass.

Storr took his striper to Flagler Discount Bait and Tackle and showed it to shop owner Al LaMonica. LaMonica teaches an adult ed fishing class, and Storr had been one of his students.

"As soon as saw it, I said, 'I can't believe it -- you've got a striper,'" said LaMonica, who is originally from New Jersey where stripers are a popular species.

"This was a full-blooded striper, and to catch one this far down the beach -- now that's a story. I've been here 12 years and never heard of a striper being caught on the beach."

LaMonica weighed the fish and measured it at 36 inches long. Roy Mattson, who works at LaMonica's shop and fishes commercially, was also surprised by the catch.

"I know they get a few in the St. Johns River, and I've seen pictures of them, but I had never seen one up close," Mattson said. "It was a beautiful fish."

Good eating, too.

"We had some of it [Tuesday] night," Storr said. "It was delicious."

In addition to the St. Johns River, Florida stripers are found in the Nassau and St. Marys rivers and in several areas -- especially around dams -- in the Panhandle. The state record is 42.25 pounds.
 

bloodsports

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A few years back Russ Izor caught a striper off Catalina Is.  That was also one lost fish!!


   
 

d trees

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Hey gregg we caught one in westcove at catalina two springs ago , I will see if I can dig up that picture.d
 

Thonzberry

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We caught a couple of htem last year on the back side of Santa Cruz around China Bay. I'll see if my buddy has the pics.
 

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