Depending where you are on the striper coast, with the signs of spring come thoughts of the first tiny "fresh" striped bass arriving in your waters.
Classic first fish spots like the West Wall, the corners of the Beaches of Aquidneck Island, the Narrow River will soon be gathering spots for not just small striped bass but anglers looking to make contact with the first striped bass of their fishing season.
We're certainly not going to tell you not to fish for them. Small early stripers are much like the arrival of herring, the first "big" fish, or the last fish, and they are points in the season fishermen live for and celebrate. They can be a great introduction to fishing for kids.
Do consider however they are the future of the fishery and haven't even had a chance to spawn once, never mind the many times an older striped bass can and will.
Pinched barbs, single hooks, and a little extra care while hooking, catching, and releasing are a big help ensuring their survival.