Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission 1883

By Gideon Mosher [From replies to questions in a pamphlet furnished by Joseph Church, and entitled "The menhaden question."] December 26, 1882. (Image of original article)

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.'
Tiverton, R. I, December 26, 1882.

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