Author

Paul Kameen

Date of Award

2023

First Advisor

Donald McClelland

Second Advisor

Sarah Snyder

Third Advisor

Tom Coote

Abstract

This bachelor's thesis investigates the feeding and migratory behavior of large female striped bass, also known as "cows", with a focus on energy conservation strategies. The research is grounded in energy conservation theories of well-known anglers Jeremy Wade and Alberto Knie and seeks to understand if these larger fish exhibit different behavioral patterns from their smaller counterparts. Through a combination of a literature review, field work, and data analysis of 92 striped bass caught via rod and line angling, this study found several significant correlations. The data indicates a strong correlation between water temperature and fish length, with larger fish caught in cooler temperatures, potentially supporting the theory of energy conservation in these larger bass. Furthermore, lure type was found to significantly affect fish length, suggesting larger, slower lure presentations are more effective at catching larger fish. Surprisingly, this study observed an offshore migration of striped bass to the continental shelf, contradicting common beliefs within the angler and research community that these fish primarily migrate within three miles of the shore. Despite expectations, this study found no significant correlation between fish length and moon and tide phases, although a trend consistent with Knie's theory of slack tides producing larger fish was noted. However, due to the lack of statistical significance, no concrete conclusions could be drawn. These findings, while providing valuable insights, were subject to limitations such as funding constraints, limited access to local fishing spots, and varying angler skills. Future research would benefit from larger sample sizes and more controlled conditions. Despite these limitations, this study contributes to our understanding of striped bass behavior and has potential implications for anglers, tackle manufacturers, and regulatory bodies, especially in areas where these fish are caught at a disproportionate rate. Further research into the changing migratory patterns and energy conservation strategies of striped bass is recommended.

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