Tom Velken, owner and principal at Viking Real Estate in Lafayette, California since 1995, is an experienced real estate professional. A full-service organization, Viking provides real estate investment and finance services. When not working, Tom Velken enjoys fishing and especially for Striped Bass.
California offers arguably the best striped bass opportunities anywhere in the country. Stripers can be readily caught by recreational anglers during the spring and summer months in the San Francisco Bay and California Delta as well as the Central Valley rivers. They are widely known as one of the strongest fighting fish found anywhere.
There were originally no striped bass in California. They were introduced from the East Coast, where they are found from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Alabama. The initial introduction took place in 1879, when 132 small bass were brought successfully to California by rail from the Navesink River in New Jersey and released near Martinez. Fish from this lot were caught within a year near Sausalito, Alameda, and Monterey, and others were caught occasionally at scattered places for several years afterwards. There was much concern by the Fish and Game Commission that such a small number of bass might fail to establish the species, so a second introduction of about 300 stripers was made in lower Suisun Bay in 1882.
In a few years, striped bass were being caught in California in large numbers. By 1889, a decade after the first lot of eastern fish had been released, bass were being sold in San Francisco markets. In another 10 years, the commercial net catch alone was averaging well over a million pounds a year. In 1935, however, all commercial fishing for striped bass was stopped in the belief that this would enhance the sport fishery.