coastalfreak

Questioning The Ethically of Fishing

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I read similar comments and concerns on some of the fly fishing sites & forums that I frequent. 

 

The only answer IMO, is stop fishing. Give it up & find something else that doesn't cause you to question the "ethics" of your actions, if that's your concern about fishing.  Easy thing to do. 

 

I don't have that type of concern myself. 

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I get what he saying . Who likes to gut hook a fish not intended for the table ??  It’s all part of it though .. I pride myself and take great satisfaction in the smoothest , least obtrusive catch and release I can .. But sometimes things are out of your hands ..  I mean if ya tossing crawlers or any bait for any fish and letting that fish run with it either knowingly or not , then maybe you should rethink your hobbies . But sometimes they just swallow them or pin them in the eye or come in lip ripped up .. if ya doing everything in your power for a clean catch and release and it happens then what can ya do. I guess it boils down to being a responsible fisherman 

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39 mins ago, BobBass said:

It’s all propaganda. I don’t mind people sticking up for abused puppies... 

Fun fact: PETA enthusiastically kills pets. Just google "peta kills animals (link removed).

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As for fish experiencing pain... I’ve seen a video somewhere of the same fluke re-biting the jig as he’s being released. I think even if they felt pain, eating sharp crabs and spiky little baitfish is part of feeding for them. I don’t think it bothers them as much as we think. 

Have you ever gotten a fish to move the way you want during a retrieve from pain? I haven't, they swim directly against the pressure. The surest way to get them to turn is to remove pressure, then they'll generally head in a different direction. The sensation of interference with free movement is a harsher stimulus than pulling on the hook wound. In fact, fish rarely react to hook removal, which should be as great or greater a stimulus than the hookset.

33 mins ago, coastalfreak said:

I absolutely would have ate the bluegill. Just didn't have ice on me. 

I'll sometimes quit fishing if I've definitely killed a fish and don't have ice. Just call it a day and start dinner.

Edited by ermghoti

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32 mins ago, Wire For Fire said:

I get what he saying . Who likes to gut hook a fish not intended for the table ??  It’s all part of it though .. I pride myself and take great satisfaction in the smoothest , least obtrusive catch and release I can .. But sometimes things are out of your hands ..  I mean if ya tossing crawlers or any bait for any fish and letting that fish run with it either knowingly or not , then maybe you should rethink your hobbies . But sometimes they just swallow them or pin them in the eye or come in lip ripped up .. if ya doing everything in your power for a clean catch and release and it happens then what can ya do. I guess it boils down to being a responsible fisherman 

There's a difference IMO between being responsible & questioning your own ethics about fishing. I C& R most fish, but if I do gut hook one or damage them to where I doubt they'll survive, I take them home and eat them. If it's an issue with "legal", that's also a different situation. It's very unfortunate that the fish regs don't account for not releasing an out of season or size limit fish when it's doubtful they'll survive a release, but does take into account that people can't be trusted to do the right thing. So, I'll also release a badly hurt fish that may not be legal to take home. I don't like doing it, but it is what it is. In the big picture, it's not going to have a huge impact on the fishery. If that one fish doesn't survive, it's highly probable it will become a meal for some other fish or animal. I'm OK with that. 

 

Otherwise, IMO, if you fish, and take all precautions and due diligence to not harm a fish you intend to release, that's the best you can do, and again stay within the laws. If even that bothers you, and it is then an ethical concern, then again, the only answer is stop fishing so there's no chance of you harming a fish.

 

However, I see this as like an alcoholic who stops drinking with many folks. It's not good enough to do their own soul searching and deal with their ethics issues, too many want to then "save" the rest of us. I've known a few who became that type of person. One even joined peta. He's no longer a friend of mine. If you decide to give up fishing, fine, that's a choice that a person can make, but leave the rest of us alone!  I enjoy fishing, and accept that there may be a few unintended casualties along the way. If that bothers another person, that's their problem, not mine! 

 

I can honestly say I seldom have any problems with how I fish and when I release some fish, I'm reasonably sure that they may survive. Again, if I don't think they will, I will take them home when legal. To me that's being as responsible as I can be without giving up fishing because I have no intentions of doing that! 

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If you think fishing is unethical keep in mind there are no ethics in nature. Watch a great white cut a seal in half or a lion take down an antelope. There has been and always will be hunters and the hunted. There is no catch and release in nature. I thank the animal for giving its life so I can eat and feed my family but I’ll never feel bad about quickly dispatching them when they are going to be sustenance. It’s a better death than caged cows, chickens, pigs etc. you buy at the grocery store. 

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I always feel bad when it happens, but it happens. I don’t even screw around when i gut hook a fish, i try to cut the line as close to the line tie as possible, and clear any plastic if possible, and let it go. More often than not, the hook will rot out in a week or so due to an enzyme the fish excrete, that speeds the process.

I remember last Fall, catching a bass that hit my jig. Along with my jig in the corner of its mouth, it had a bluegill tail sticking out of its gullet, along with a severely rotted worm hook in the fleshy part of its throat. I really think they will do well if you just leave it. Of course, i’m only talking about single hooks, and it obviously becomes a different story with trebles. It’s unfortunately one of the downsides to barbs, which is why crushing greatly improves the bass’s chances of survival.

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2 hours ago, coastalfreak said:

Hey y’all, hope all of you are well during this pandemic. 
 

Fishing is something that has been part of my life for a long, long time. I gotta say though, the more I do it, the more I question the ethicality of it. When you get down to it, you are piercing a metal hook through a fishes jaw/lip and then holding them out

of the water where they can’t breathe. I read an article in Field and Stream where the author said to hold your breath when you have a fish outta water. That gives you a good idea of what the fish is feeling. That didn’t make me feel too good.

 

Today I was out fishing in a creek and I gut hooked a bluegill. Tried to get the hook out but he went belly up on me and few minutes after release. I know, not trying to be a softie but it made me feel bad.

 

Also, I recently went bass fishing and the bass got hooked right in the corner of the mouth. Great hookset, but the hook was really stuck and I was an idiot and forgot my pliers in the car. Probably spent a minute or two getting that hook out, and the fish seam off but pretty slow.

 

Needless to say, I’ve been questioning the sport as well as my personal skills with handling fish and such.
 

Does anybody else ever feel this way? Or am I alone and turning into a PETA person? 
 

Thanks,

Kevin

There is a BST forum here.  You can grab all your stuff and sell it...then hang out in the town tavern, sports forum and PG.  The rest of us will continue fishing. We will think of you. 

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19 mins ago, olvart said:

I think your university and peer groups have accomplished there mission. 
Time to find a new major.

Sad.....

Nope, all my friends are die hard fisherman and I’m studying Fisheries and Aquaculture science. Just a personal problem. 

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Thanks all. I’ve decided to keep fishing, as long as I’m not an idiot about it. 
 

Will definetly get around to using circle hooks and barbless hooks more often. I love this sport, I’m not leaving without a fight. 

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Now, if you want to argue the ethics that C&R fishing is intentionally harassing fish, sometimes harming and even killing them just for fun, yeah, there is somewhat of a point there.  :)

 

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Use soft plastics with a single hook. They are safer for the fish and your hands. If using a hard bait put an inline single hook on the back. There’s no point in using multiple treble hooks on fish that you will most likely release. 

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3 hours ago, mike3dr said:

You can think of it like, the fish is trying to kill another fish so you are saving that fishes life.  You are not making them eat, they choose to eat, sometimes you eat and sometimes you are eaten.

Ohh sure. I hope that makes you feel better you savage beast.

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This is a part of the sport that everyone has to decide for themselves. I hate injuring fish. There are things we can do to lessen the damage. Change to larger hooks to gut hook less fish. Circle hooks seem to stop gut hooking. Single hooks on the back of plugs and metals do less damage and drop less fish. I haven’t had good luck with inline hooks on front hooks, I seem to miss a lot of bass with all inline hooks. I have been mashing down barbs on all trebles ever since  I was hooked deeply in the thumb. With a single tail hook and mashed down trebles most fish are easily unhooked. These things have cut down injuries to the fish. Like others have said it is a blood sport. If you minimize injury to the fish and it still bothers you, bird watching is a neat pastime to get you outside among nature.

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