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TBYRD

Returning fish to the depths

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(This is a copy/paste from the Massachusetts forum)

With all of the great times I'm having with my 11yr old son offshore fishing, I feel it is my responsibility to preach and teach just a little.

Please practice sustainable bottom fishing practices.

While out on Jefferys fishing amongst the pack of 15-20 boats I saw way too many short cod and haddock floating around due to "barotrama" 

When these fish are brought up from the deep, the small amount of air in their swim bladders drastically expands causing bulging eyes and expelling stomachs out of their mouths.

Although alive and healthy, they are unable to decend back to the bottom with all of this pressure built up inside them.

There are a few methods of helping these future keepers to live on, and possibly become the monsters of tomorrow.

Deflating the swim bladder from the side of the fish, NOT the stomach bulging out of it's mouth, with a hollow needle is acceptable if done precisely.

Without the knowledge and experience of where the exact location for each species should be "vented"  this method may injure more fish than it saves.

 

My favorite way to get these little guys back down is with a decending device.

Whether commercially made or DIY, these simple contraptions hold the fish to a weight which is lowered down and, with a sharp upward jerk of the line, release the fish "re-compressed" back to the environment from where it came.

 

Thanks for doing your part.

Your grandkids will thank you for it. :howdy:

 

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This year, I began using a device called a "Seaqualizer" to release black sea bass, and finds that it works well.

 

 

Seaqualizer post size.JPG

Edited by CWitek

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I use the lead strap off marker buoys. Bend acute angle on lead and attach other end to baitcast.

 

Hold fish in water head down with lead strap hooked to jaw. Free spool fish to depth . Most often the fish will shack its head when pressure is relieved .

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My primary concern is party boat groundfishing; I'm sure there has never been a redfish released that survived, for example. I've been trying to think of something that could be incorporated right into the rig, with out making a tangling mess. Something like a small barbless, inverted hook, or a loop of heavy line that could be fed to a spring-clip that would open with a sharp yank, something along those ideas.

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Once the stomach is inverted out the mouth, I don't see how the fish can survive.  There really is no mechanism to make it go back in.  Plus, the intestines of the fish is stretched, the liver pulled up into the throat area, and all the connective tissues are torn apart.

 

All the gas embolisms that form all over the body will take time to go away even if the fish is taken back to the bottom.  Can it survive that long ???  Will gas embolisms in the blood vessels rupture those vessels ???  Will it stop blood flow to vital organs killing the fish ???

 

For deep water bottom fish, we should be LOWERING the size limit for keepers.  This will kill fewer numbers of fish per fisherman.

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1 hour ago, moocks said:

For 13 bucks you can get the Shelton Fish descender. Or if that's too much you can make one. These have been used on the left coast for many years.

https://www.amazon.com/Shelton-SFD-Fish-Descender/dp/B00C7UJYB2

 

It's not the expense, it's either keeping a separate rig for releasing, and using chunks of your four hours on the fish to drop and retrieve the apparatus, or attaching it to your terminal tackle and dealing with tangles. That said, I've been thinking of something like the above, rigged between the sinker and the bottom hook of a standard 2 hook bottom fishing rig. The whole rigamarole could be crafted of relatively flexible wire, like 18ga copper, with a loop at each end for the line and the sinker. Cost would be minimal, so it would serve as a rotten bottom link, and when you get macraméd with the mope from Iowa that wipes out 7 lines, the mate can just yank it completely off.

 

1 hour ago, KenY said:

Once the stomach is inverted out the mouth, I don't see how the fish can survive.  There really is no mechanism to make it go back in.  Plus, the intestines of the fish is stretched, the liver pulled up into the throat area, and all the connective tissues are torn apart.

 

All the gas embolisms that form all over the body will take time to go away even if the fish is taken back to the bottom.  Can it survive that long ???  Will gas embolisms in the blood vessels rupture those vessels ???  Will it stop blood flow to vital organs killing the fish ???

 

For deep water bottom fish, we should be LOWERING the size limit for keepers.  This will kill fewer numbers of fish per fisherman.

There was a guy tagging cod for C&R, they did well. Haddock did not. Either way, returning them to depth will recompress the gasses almost instantly.

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Take a look at the study that is included in these ASMFC meeting materials (it's the next-to-last document) http://www.asmfc.org/files/Meetings/2019SummerMtg/SummerFlounder_Scup_BlackSeaBassBoard.pdf 

It found a stark difference between survival of black sea bass released without any assistance and those released with a descender, when fishing in deep water.

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