Stomach contents of a single 44 pound shore-caught striped bass.
Photo by Bob Zumwalt, from On The Water Magazine, January 2008 issue.
Yo-yoing is a technique used to jig in deep water using weighted fresh whole bunker, or bunker chunks. With whole bunker, the bunker is loaded with lead or other metal which is stuffed down its throat and secured. The object is to make the bunker bait heavy, so that it can be successfully jigged in deep moving water, near structure.
Apparently some, or many of these prepared baits, end up on the bottom where they are ingested by striped bass, as can be seen by the photo above. The photo shows the stomach content of a single 44 pound shore-caught striped bass, which consisted of numerous metal objects that weighed a total of about 2.5 pounds. The photo is from the January 2008 issue of "On The Water Magazine". Both the November 2007 and January 2008 issues of this magazine had informative articles about yo-yoing for striped bass. The magazine supports banning traditional yo-yoing techniques, as do we.
In the recent 2007 Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, two fish were weighed in that were found to contain lead weights in their stomachs. These fish were caught using traditional fishing techniques, not yo-yoing. However the stripers contained weights that apparently were contained in bunker that the striped bass must have previously picked up from the bottom. After some investigation the stripers were allowed, but their weights were reduced by the weight of the metal in their stomachs.
Massachusetts has a commercial striped bass season. During this season, yo-yoing is a heavily used technique by commercial striped bass fishermen.