Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission 1883
DO STRIPED BASS (ROCCUS LINEATUS) FEED ON MENHADEN?
Striped bass do not feed upon live menhaden, but upon crabs and lobsters. I have been engaged in the bass fishery for 45 years, 30 or 40 years of which I have been in the habit of preparing bass for market.
I have prepared tens of thousands of them, but never found any menhaden in them, unless it had been fed to them for bait. My experience extends over the entire range of coast from Mononomy to Beavertail and from Baltimore to Cape Cod. I have found bass most numerous in the Chesapeake Bay, which I attribute to the great quantity of crabs found there. I have always observed that bass fishing was best where lobsters and crabs were most plentiful. My particular locality for taking bass has been at West Island, R. I, and for more than thirty years I never observed or heard of bass feeding on or troubling menhaden, and my business has brought me in contact with many of the most successful menhaden fishermen. I have never heard of but two bass being taken in a purse seine. The bass is a shore and bottom fish.
The absence or the presence of menhaden on the coast does not affect
the bass fishery, except in the difference it makes in having or not having
fresh bait. You cannot catch bass with stale bait. If the menhaden
this year are as far from the coast as they were last year, those
taken at Sandy Hook carried to a factory and from there transshipped
will be unfit for bait. The only way to do would be to put an experienced
man on board the menhaden fishing steamer and ice them alive
in the way the bank fishermen treat them. In that way one could
make them fit for bait for a month.'
Footnote* The sworn statement of Mr. Mosher is also indorsed by Charles W. Anthony, Edward C. Smith, Ebenezer Owen, Edward Smith, George M. Crabb; William M. Record, and Thomas Record, all bass fishermen of Newport, RI