Pearl Bomber

Release Mortality Rates? What am I missing?

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It is just me, or does the 9% release mortality rate seem like a load of BS? Under this assumption, there would be 1 bass drifting by for every 10 bass caught. I can count on my hand the number of belly up I’ve seen since starting back in the early 2000’s.  Am I missing something here? Just not out enough to see the real outcome, especially a heavy blitz in a popular location? Mid Atlantic a very different harvest scene than NE? Many of my bass go right back with a strong tail spray to the face. Even the old schoolie swan dive seems to go well. Sure, I’ve been nervous about a big bass before, and have had one engulf a plug to the point of no return, but rarely see a released fish come back across belly up. 

Where I fish the problem is people blatantly targeting and keeping shorts at the wee hours of the morning when no one is active. Not that there is anyone to enforce anyway…at least where I am. Just not enough money in the coffers to pay for good enforcement due to State funding.

It is worth mentioning I mostly fish artificial (plugs and bucktails), but even with bait, I have not seen frequent mortality.

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I am with you on thinking the often stated 9-10% release mortality is complete and utter BS. There is a paper regarding striper release mortality floating around that gets posted once in a while but their methods seem deeply flawed to me.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, DAQ said:

I am with you on thinking the often stated 9-10% release mortality is complete and utter BS. There is a paper regarding striper release mortality floating around that gets posted once in a while but their methods seem deeply flawed to me.

So does a high mortality rate create tighter restrictions and greater benefit overall, or does it reflect poorly on the recreational numbers as compared to commercial? 
Total recreational catch 30.9 million fish…total commercial harvest 650k fish. 9% mortality on recreation- 2.7 million belly up bass? 650K confirmed mortally versus 2.7 million assumed data???  Wow, I feel like an a…h… for killing so many fish I never even knew about.

Commercial has weighs and means to record. Recreation is based on volunteer efforts and assumptions…
Am I correct in assuming charters are recreational? 

Edited by Pearl Bomber
Grammar

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Charter fishing is counted as recreational. I'd estimate that I have about a 1% mortality rate fishing all artificials with crushed barbs. 

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Yes, the 9% was a well-run and documented study in that released fish were put into a large pen.  Yes, none of us see a lot of floaters, but we don't see the ones that die a day or two later and don't float, but drift to the bottom for lobster & crab food.

 

There are new studies being conducted, but until someone has a better study completed, that's the number and we have to deal with it...

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Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if it was higher than 9% these days, mostly due to a combination of ignorance and social media. I see tons of horrible practices whenever it comes to photographing a fish and I’m positive this impacts the health of a fish. Not only that, there’s also always the people who either fish unnecessarily light tackle to increase the fight of their 20” bass or simply don’t know how to quickly get a fish in. As others have said before, just because a fish swims away doesn’t mean it’s life is guaranteed. Fish can’t go to the doctor’s whenever some bozo puts 9 hook points in it and holds it with a dry hand for ten minutes while getting forty pictures that probably never get looked at again, so a lot of them croak and end up as another part of the ocean’s foodchain. 

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19 mins ago, Roccus7 said:

Yes, the 9% was a well-run and documented study in that released fish were put into a large pen.  Yes, none of us see a lot of floaters, but we don't see the ones that die a day or two later and don't float, but drift to the bottom for lobster & crab food.

 

There are new studies being conducted, but until someone has a better study completed, that's the number and we have to deal with it...

Roccus, can you forward me a link to that study?

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3 hours ago, Pearl Bomber said:

It is just me, or does the 9% release mortality rate seem like a load of BS? Under this assumption, there would be 1 bass drifting by for every 10 bass caught. I can count on my hand the number of belly up I’ve seen since starting back in the early 2000’s.  Am I missing something here? Just not out enough to see the real outcome, especially a heavy blitz in a popular location? Mid Atlantic a very different harvest scene than NE? Many of my bass go right back with a strong tail spray to the face. Even the old schoolie swan dive seems to go well. Sure, I’ve been nervous about a big bass before, and have had one engulf a plug to the point of no return, but rarely see a released fish come back across belly up. 

Where I fish the problem is people blatantly targeting and keeping shorts at the wee hours of the morning when no one is active. Not that there is anyone to enforce anyway…at least where I am. Just not enough money in the coffers to pay for good enforcement due to State funding.

It is worth mentioning I mostly fish artificial (plugs and bucktails), but even with bait, I have not seen frequent mortality.

Respectfully disagree. I think there are many situations where a fish might swim away nearing death than die a few mins later, or hours later. Plus as other posters eluded to, some cnr practices are dreadful. Chicken Cutleting every bass they catch, keeping it out of water for a minute 30 secs...I think 9% is right on. 

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Just now, joefishnj21 said:

Respectfully disagree. I think there are many situations where a fish might swim away nearing death than die a few mins later, or hours later. Plus as other posters eluded to, some cnr practices are dreadful. Chicken Cutleting every bass they catch, keeping it out of water for a minute 30 secs...I think 9% is right on. 

Thanks for the response and feedback. All I have to go in is my experience and those i fish with. I suppose 9% could die and sink out of sight. That’s too bad if that kind of mortality exists. I also want to clarify I am in support of restrictions that help the bass, just trying to make sense of the large numbers and assumptions as it relates to the recreational numbers.

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Posted (edited)

.

6 mins ago, Pearl Bomber said:

Thanks for the response and feedback. All I have to go in is my experience and those i fish with. I suppose 9% could die and sink out of sight. That’s too bad if that kind of mortality exists. I also want to clarify I am in support of restrictions that help the bass, just trying to make sense of the large numbers and assumptions as it relates to the recreational numbers.

...Another point, and in no way is this a scientific theory. Just a very angler based theory. Blitzes...ya gotta know when to say when. What I mean is...if you are hauling in bass, 25 inchers, 28 inchers, in the dozens...the law of averages says, at least one of those fish is going to get effed up. Hook swallow, eye hook, etc. So I say this to fisherman, and they look at me like I have 2 heads...why not quit after a dozen to 20? I just don't get the ego fishing of "I caught 85 bass today.' Who cares. Especially if they are the same cookie cutter size. Once you start getting those numbers, chances are you probably killed one or 2.  I really believe it would help if guys got their fix, had a few bends in the rod and called it a day after a dozen fish instead of pounding 60, 70 schoolies for the sake of bragging to their friends. 

Edited by joefishnj21

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I have no idea whether 9% is accurate or not, but another aspect to consider would be water temperature.  The Chesapeake Bay July through September is so warm that C&R mortality rates are going to be much higher than somewhere like Coastal Maine.

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2 mins ago, joefishnj21 said:

.

...Another point, and in no way is this a scientific theory. Just a very angler based theory. Blitzes...ya gotta know when to say when. What I mean is...if you are hauling in bass, 25 inchers, 28 inchers, in the dozens...the law of averages says, at least one of those fish is going to get effed up. Hook swallow, eye hook, etc. So I say this to fisherman, and they look at me like I have 2 heads...why not quit after a dozen to 20? I just don't get the ego fishing of "I caught 85 bass today.' Who cares. Especially if they are the same cookie cutter size. Once you start getting those numbers, chances are you probably killed one or 2.  I really believe it would help if guys got their fix, had a few bends in the rod and called it a day after a dozen fish instead of pounding 60, 70 schoolies for the sake of bragging to their friends. 

It’s hard to leave blitzing fish. I guess through education and science, you can better understand the impact and exercise caution and restraint. It seems many consider that scenario one of the pinnacles of the sport. Many immortalized stories from this sport center around those events. It’s easy for someone to say I’d only catch a couple then have my fill. You put the hours in and catch what you can when you can. Social media has certainly had an impact on how fish are handled, no doubt. 
Release them unharmed the best you can. Respect the resource and only keep what you need, not want. 
But 2.7 million fish wasted? I guess I am truly unaware of how much waste occurs. 

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9% is an average. If you fish single bait artificials in cold water and do a quick release you are around 1% mortality. If you are fishing bait, gut hooking, in warm water with extended photo shoots then you are probably killing almost every fish. Dropping fish from a bridge, jetty or party boat isn’t good either. We need to educate people to do it correctly. 

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