iwantmypie

Catch and Release Practices

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Looking to stir the pot here a little (not in a bad way) about catch and release practices and some of my observations—in particular when it comes to many “social media anglers” and how some of them Preach it and approach it.

 

It’s easy to see that a lot of these anglers, who have a wide reach online and in print, are Preaching (with a capital P) C&R—sometimes a little over the top and too aggressive—but in general it is good to see. Problem is, and I’m sure others have observed, I get mixed messages when I see these same anglers beaching fish, grabbing and lifting by gill plate, multiple treble hooks on plugs, not crushing barbs, not switching to inlines, etc, etc…

 

An honest question, as someone who doesn’t have decades under my belt with Striped Bass, are these things really that big of a deal? Are they really essential when it comes to C&R or is it all hubbub?


There’s a wide range of what’s acceptable and I’m curious to hear from the wide range of anglers here on SOL and your own personal experiences. You have guys like I mentioned and then you have anglers, like my fishing partner, who is 100% flyguy and believes treble hooks should be banned. I thought he was kidding and laughed in his face—he wasn’t. It’s a very wide range of practices. 

 

I practice C&R and try to avoid all that I mentioned earlier but honestly, I’d like to be able to throw a lure with two trebles and not crush the barbs and have that be OK. Fish a nice classic plug the way it was designed. I’d like to be able to beach a fish or grab it by the gill plate if it means I have better control over it. I know the easy solution is to just do it and see what happens but at the same time I don’t want to roll the dice.

 

The reality is any little bit helps. Something is better than nothing. BUT, at the same time, we’re all stubborn and selfish in our own way. We all think our way is the right way when in reality if we really REALLY wanted to help we’d stop targeting Striped Bass all together. But I digress, better stop here before I completely lose focus…

Edited by iwantmypie
Clarification of gill plate, not actual gills, that’s dumb.

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7 hours ago, iwantmypie said:

I practice C&R and try to avoid all that I mentioned earlier but honestly, I’d like to be able to throw a lure with two trebles and not crush the barbs and have that be OK. Fish a nice classic plug the way it was designed. I’d like to be able to beach a fish or grab it by the gills if it means I have better control over it. I know the easy solution is to just do it and see what happens but at the same time I don’t want to roll the dice.

I’m just curious as to why you feel the urge to want to fish with two trebles and grab the fish by the gils? I’d rather see 2 treble hooks than grabbing the gils though… in my opinion there’s never a reason to grab a fish like that unless you plan on harvesting. 
 

for the fishing with two trebles.. why? I enjoy using plugs with no trebles or just a belly treble; less chance of injury to myself + easy release for the fish. 

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27 mins ago, Popasilov said:

If you want to do safely C&R grabbing fish and lifting it by gills its a big no, no in my book.

 

I completely agree.

 

I might not have worded it the right way but I’d like to know that if I needed to grabbed a fish by the gill plate for some reason (I’ve never needed to, always have a fish gripper on me) that it’s not going to mean the end for that fish. 
 

Again, seeing a lot of C&R Preachers out there and they still grab large fish by the gill plates. Is it better than grabbing a large fish by its mouth? Less weight load on the jaw? I don’t know but those mixed messages that are being sent. If it is an absolute no no then why not set a better example for others?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I'm sure this will be downvoted.  Handle enough big fish and you'll find that the gill plate is by far the easiest and safest way for an angler to handle them out of the water when a plug with treble hooks is involved.  That is if you need to lift them out of the water.  Keeping them in the water is simple with a lip gripper, I use a boga, to keep the fish still while I'm dehooking. Single hook like a jig I'll just grab em by the jaw and pop it out with my hands if possible.  

 

I'll debarb my hooks when I'm fishing for smaller fish, I've found that they are far more likely to be landed "green" and put a hook in your hand.  When I'm fishing for big fish I want to make sure that hook stays lodged until I want it to come out so I choose to keep the barbs.  

 

Its a funny thing we do, harming a fish for fun.  I know deep down its not nice to hurt a living thing, but I certainly do enjoy it.

Edited by bbfish

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I mean you are right, none of it is really "nice" is it?  

Whenever I see the bass guys RIPPING fish out of grass beds sending them flying through the air sometimes smacking against the boat, I think "is that really necessary?"  Then I turn around and eat the delicious flounder I just caught.  

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Best advice when releasing fish comes in three simple words:  "Keep 'em wet."

 

If you can unhook and release in the water, the fish will always be better off.  I prefer to fish bucktails--beside the advantages of the single hook, I usually catch more fish with them under most conditionsn than I do on other lures--but this time of year there is often a good pencil popper bite up in Long Island Sound.  Was up in Connecticut fishing with a friend a couple of days ago, where I had little problem grabbing the leader with one hand and the lower jaw with the other.  The idea was to keep their gills wet, avoid photos, and let the fish swim free as soon as possible. 

 

These were mostly smaller but still mature fish fromm the 2011 and 2014/2015 year classes.  When some really little ones grabbed the plug, those were more easlly brought aboard and unhooked; still they were back in the water within seconds.

 

I've been plugging bass for 50+ years, and never felt compelled to stick my hand in the gills of a fishn that I planned to release.

Edited by CWitek

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I'll keep my response short..... first thing someone needs to absolutly focus on if they care about the well-being of their release is to keep the fish in the water for multiple reasons.  A small bass with big trebles pulling it from the water does untold additional damage to the mouth and other areas sensitive to the function of feeding.  Keep the fish in the water.  A long or short exhaustive fight for self preservation leaves the fish with little to sustain it's recoverable energy if removed from its breathing apparatus (the water).  Physical handling practices such as gilling of any kind..... boga grips or beaching on dry sand all add the worst of what a fish intended for release will likely not recover from.   If you intend on releasing a fish please dont hang it off a boga grip....these things handle toothy fish (in the water) well but once you try an get that weight on the fish...look for your self and you'll see a huge additional hole ripped in the lower chin or anywhere the boga makes it's grip.  Their devastating when used improperly and a fish should NEVER be hung with it's own body weight if its intended to be released.  We're all guilty of all of this at times....and we all need to knock off the childhood crap if we talk about proper fish handling and refined fishing practices that both preserve the valuable recreational aspect of the sport and the fish we all claim to respect.

 

*Barbless hooks 

* single treble hook

* remove entirely or replace the rear hook with a proportionally weighed barbles siwash.  

 

Those big trebles and barbs are less an issue for 20+lb fish....think of all the rats we run through getting to the fish that may handle heavier terminal tackle... and all the damage done to the future fish we're told are supposed to replace those trophies were all after.  If you sacrifice a large fish due to your efforts at minimizing damage to the small ones then you've represented your self and done your due diligence well.

 

Not being perfect isnt an excuse to be irresponsible....practice and improve your release habits based on your intent to do so, the same way you do everything else........ anyone watching will know the kind of angler you may or may not be as a result.

 

Edited by DeepBlue85

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Probably important to mention gill plate and gill invasion are different.  

As surfcasters we may all practice C&R a little differently, some of us fish sand beaches, some rock perches, still others on jetties/bridges. Good practice and release skills such as limiting the time the bass is out of water, and avoiding gill invasion, will increase the chances of survival. Just remember – we’re not all perfect but the spirit of why we’re doing it is the most important aspect of C&R. Please respect that.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I do the best I can to avoid harm to the fish while staying safe myself. 

 

At the small inlets in my area I see a lot of people stand on top of the rocks and throw bass back into the current where they presumably get sucked back out into the ocean before recovering. What is the best way to release fish from these places? I dont fish them for safety and fish release reasons. 

Edited by Bwt570

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42 mins ago, Bwt570 said:

I do the best I can to avoid harm to the fish while staying safe myself. 

 

At the small inlets in my area I see a lot of people stand on top of the rocks and throw bass back into the current where they presumably get sucked back out into the ocean before recovering. What is the best way to release fish from these places? I dont fish them for safety and fish release reasons. 

I think as long as  it is within reason and based on the size of fish.  Most smaller fish seem to be fine getting dropped into deep enough water from  10 feet or less.  Even some states stock trout by plane or helicopter.   Dropping a 10 pound bass from a 50 foot high bridge or cliff is probably not to good.  Discretion should be used as well as safety for the angler.  

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1 hour ago, Bwt570 said:

I do the best I can to avoid harm to the fish while staying safe myself. 

 

At the small inlets in my area I see a lot of people stand on top of the rocks and throw bass back into the current where they presumably get sucked back out into the ocean before recovering. What is the best way to release fish from these places? I dont fish them for safety and fish release reasons. 

A simple answer is don't cast from where you can't reach the water.  Way to many anglers fish high walls, bridges or jetties where there is no way to reach the water or properly release a fish.  This comes down to an ethics question.  Some anglers value catching the fish more than safely releasing the landed fish.  Personally, I don't want to catch a fish if I can't be sure it can be safely and effectively released.  To me, that means fishing locations and conditions where I can keep the fish in the water at all times.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

8 hours ago, iwantmypie said:

Again, seeing a lot of C&R Preachers out there and they still grab large fish by the gill plates

 

7 hours ago, CWitek said:

I've been plugging bass for 50+ years, and never felt compelled to stick my hand in the gills of a fishn that I planned to release.

 

Like Pie man pointed out, there are lots of C&R preachers that pose for media  picture  with both hands stacked in the big fish gills and saying same fish was safely released after. Release where? As a food for the sharks and other bottom feeders?

There was a thread going on, I think two years ago, when few older guys on the boat, promoting one of the well known rod,  taking pictures with big fish, either holding both gills or posing with the fish laying on the boat deck.

Few members here raise the question why would experienced fisherman do such a thing but quickly that discussion was shut down. 

 

 

Edited by Popasilov

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Just to add a little color to this topic:

 

The ASMFC's Striped Bass Plan Development Team held a conference call today.  Although most of the call addressed management triggers, some time was dedicated to ways to reduce recreational release mortality.  Ideas for gear restrictions that will probably make it into the draft Amendment 7 to the management plan, and sent out for public comment, include

 

1) Prohibiting gaffs

2) Requiring barbless hooks

3) Prohibiting treble hooks

4) Prohibiting trolling with wire line

 

Another proposal to outlaw chumming was removed from consideratioin,.

 

It was also proposed that any bass caught on prohibited gear must be released (also would apply to bass caught on J-hooks while fishing with bait).

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Posted (edited) · Report post

One of the more interesting C&R debates for me is the boga weighing issue.  I dug into it a bit last year and could only find one article from an Australian scientist, who shared his experience with its impact on broodstock barramundi.  The method of weighing prespawn fish had massive impact on their spawning success.
 

Considering the physiology of fish, it’s a no brainer for me. If I catch a possible 50#, Ill take measurements of length and girth and avoid displacing internal organs.
 

But I see a majority of catch and release anglers, even dogged save the striped bass advocates, hanging fish from bogas.

 

Edited by Bait Tailer

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