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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Catch and Release Fishing Best Practices  (Read 12698 times)

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bsteves

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This topic was recently brought up in the "Fishing Reports" forum and I thought it might be good to address it here.

Basically, if you want to practice catch and release fishing there are many things you can do to try and insure that the fish you release live to fight another day.

Here are some general tips to start out with.. (I'm sure we can come up with some more).

-use artifical lures instead of bait (fish are less likely to swallow the lure)
-don't play the fish to death (use tackle strong enough to accomplish this)
-land the fish quickly
-keep the fish in the water as long as possible
-if you use a net, a small knotless mesh is best
-if you touch the fish, use wet hands, a wet rag, or wet cotton gloves
-don't toss/drop you fish on the deck/ground
-hold the fish horizontally with good support rather than vertically


Brian


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MolBasser

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When lipping bass like fish there is a good and bad way to do it.  Basically you want to use minimal torque pressure on the fishes jaw.

Here are two examples:

The Bad:



The good:




The better (If I had wet hands and hadn't already killed the fish:



MolBasser
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polepole

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And if you like to use bait and plan on releasing, use circle hooks, preferably non-offset circle hooks.

-Allen
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LoletaEric

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So, am I totally naive to think that the 23# lingzilla that I held by the gill plate in my "patented death grip" for 5+ minutes while photographing and weighing it would not have been OK had I released it? My opinion is that it would've been just fine. It was alive in my hull all the way until I landed and even up to fillet time about 15 mnutes after landing, so we know they can go without water on their gills for quite some time. I think lingcod and other fish with imposing chompers have an advantage because they don't get lip-gripped by hand. I admit that I've not done much considering of how holding black snapper and other 'bass-like' fish affects their jaw, but I think I would've noticed if it ever dislocated the jaw or ripped muscles... I'll be watching more closely from now on. Good discussion.
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bsteves

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There are lots of research papers out there comparing mortality rates of C&R fishes.  Most of these papers are species specific due to the fact that each species reacts differently to handling.  For example, look at an anchovy wrong and it will be dead in seconds... stick a mudsucker in your pocket, have a long lunch, take it out and that fish is still good to go.   Lingcod are actually fairly resilient to rough captures and here is the research that came to those conclusions..
http://spo.nwr.noaa.gov/mfr6034.pdf

Brian


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LoletaEric

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Here are some shots to rev up the discussion - all released:
I am a licensed guide.  DFW Guide ID:  1000124.   Let's do a trip together.

Loleta Eric's Guide Service

loletaeric@yahoo.com - call me up at (707) 845-0400

http://www.loletaeric.com/home.html

Being an honorable sportsman is way more important than what you catch.


MolBasser

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That style net (with the salmon) is not overly fish friendly due to the knots.  Just FYI.

MolBasser
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Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew!
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LoletaEric

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Yeah, I have a mesh-style smaller net, but I never would've gotten the 38#er in it!  Has anyone seen a king size mesh style?
I am a licensed guide.  DFW Guide ID:  1000124.   Let's do a trip together.

Loleta Eric's Guide Service

loletaeric@yahoo.com - call me up at (707) 845-0400

http://www.loletaeric.com/home.html

Being an honorable sportsman is way more important than what you catch.


bsteves

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I'm guessing a 38# salmon isn't going to see much C&R and the smaller ones, the sub legal ones are called "shakers" becuase you can usually releasae them without having to deal with the net.  I  wouldn't worry about it.

Brian


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bsteves

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Okay, I forgot about coho... it would be useful to find a large knotless net with a finer mesh.

Anyone else got any leads on a new salmon net for AbKing?


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ZeeHawk

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I'm really happy this topic came up. I don't think we really think much about the fish we catch after we release them. I'm guilty of not thinking sometimes and make some mistakes w/ C&R. Glad it's here so I can learn.

I guess if we want to catch the big ones in the future we've got to be concientious to how we treat the smaller ones now.

Z



ScottThornley

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We should mention the SFD, or homemade equivalent, for releasing rockfish with barotrauma:

http://www.sheltonproducts.com/SFD.html


Scott



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I'm responsible for this bad example of a sturg noosing.
1: I did not let the noose go beyond the gills/pec fins.
2: I pulled it out of the water.
OK.  I'm guilty, but the fish DEFINITALY lived, I hung on to it until it revived, and man did it revive. Also the gills were not injured, but it came close as you can clearly sea in the pic. My excuse is that this was my 1st really big sturg and I thought it could be a keeper, but I was off by a mile, plus I was freaking out like a madman cause it was a dinosaur. Ben


Bill

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Sturgeon give us a lot of the same challenges that I think people face with billfish. Ours are increased since we have to measure to see if it is in the slot which means we generally have to handle some very large fish like Ben's, often solo.

I have heard you don't want to noose them around the middle or put to much pressure on the belly cause the intestines are not able to handle get mushed much.

I don't think you could have done it much better guitarzan unless you would have just released the fish without pulling it into the boat but since sturgeon  tend to float head up and tail down it is reallt difficult to do solo. Maybe Dr. Sturgeon can give some other advice.


Whalewatched

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There are lots of research papers out there comparing mortality rates of C&R fishes. Most of these papers are species specific due to the fact that each species reacts differently to handling. For example, look at an anchovy wrong and it will be dead in seconds... stick a mudsucker in your pocket, have a long lunch, take it out and that fish is still good to go. Lingcod are actually fairly resilient to rough captures and here is the research that came to those conclusions..
http://spo.nwr.noaa.gov/mfr6034.pdf

Brian

I read the research paper and was most impressed by the observation that many of the injuries sustained by the lingcod did not heal after extended periods of time. This indicates to me that C&R fishing is inevitably destructive, regardless of how careful we may be handling our catches. Consequently, when I fish, I plan to keep and eat all legal fish I catch, even if they're smaller than I might prefer or not of the most desirable species. Once I catch as many as I want to keep, I stop fishing.

I end up taking a range of sizes, which I believe is better for fish populations than taking the largest specimens and injuring lots of smaller fish in the process. The idea that a fish brought up from deep water can be released unharmed by any method appears to me to be wishful thinking- the damage has already been done! However, the seals and sea lions would probably appreciate it if you tried!

One way to reduce unwanted "by-catch" is to use larger lures lures that are species-specific. For example, I am not going to catch many bat rays if I use artificials, but if I use a 4" or 5" swimbait I can probably discourage any small rockfish from biting while still catching the interest of the larger specimens. Also, using barbless hooks helps a lot in reducing fish handling time and stress.
 
Paul