From my understanding, it is illegal in New York to target a specific species of fish out of season whether or not you use bait or artificial. And even if you happen to release a "floater", let it float or you will be guilty of possession.
Good and timely topic. Here's my two cents regarding using bait for stripers when they are "out of season". This is copied from an April surf column of a couple years ago.
As I write this, we?re still a month away from the point when anglers can legally keep striped bass, yet bait fishing with worms, clams, and bunker are already getting mentioned in the fishing reports. Some anglers I?ve spoken with have a real problem with the use of bait to target out-of-season fish. They feel that since bait-fishing techniques generally have a higher catch-and-release mortality rate, they should not be employed while it is illegal to posses a particular species.
The fact is, due in part to our one fish bag limit, the vast majority of stripers landed by recreational anglers are released no matter what time of the year they are caught. Anglers fishing in season with worms or clams often catch and release many short fish before they land one large enough to bring home. While there are undoubtedly some anglers who stop fishing as soon as they?ve caught their one-fish limit, most continue to fish and release the other bass that they catch.
I see little difference as to whether a bait-caught fish is released in April or in August. Some could even argue that a fish released into cool April waters is probably in a better position to survive the ordeal than a heat-stressed August fish.
I believe the important thing is not when you use bait, but how you use it.
Hook choice is important. Circle hooks have earned widespread acceptance over the last few seasons because their unique design causes them to embed themselves in the corner of a fish?s mouth. This results in a more secure hook-up with less chance of the hook doing damage to the fish. Do not set circle hooks in the normal method of hauling back on the rod. Instead, drop your rod tip, let the fish pick up the slack, then lift your rod smoothly and start reeling.
No matter what type of hook you use, you should hold your rod when fishing with bait, and set the hook soon after you detect a strike. This will greatly reduce the odds of hooking a fish deeply.
The decision to fish with artificials or bait is a personal one. By paying special attention to tackle and techniques, anglers who choose bait can do so and still give the fish they release a good chance of surviving.
At this time of year I remove the barbs from the hooks ,even from circle hooks, I try to stay away from bait b4 keeper season with my luck Id get a 40lber and hed die and the powers that be,will be,and there go I