Friday, October 4, 2013

Is Catch and Release Over-hyped?

...Admittedly over-hyped is a bit too strong a term. The idea has certainly provided a lot of good fishing would have vanished decades ago were kill and eat still the populist thinking. On the other hand  seems to me more often than not catch and release is sorely abused, e.g. fish caught and released with life-threatening injuries caused by rough handling, large barbed hooks, barbed treble hooks, fish out of water way too long (how about bonked multiple times on bottom boat?) in order to satisfy way too large egos (hero shots, grip and grins call it what you like truth is threatens, if not flat out kills, way too many so-called trophies mostly just for cocktail hour bragging rights). Anyway here is what the scientists have to say:

Catch and release has become all the rage. Unfortunately too many of us take catch and release for granted. Righteous thinking being  “did not kill and eat therefore no harm no foul. Nothing could be further from the truth. For catch and release to work as advertised stress must be kept to a minimum.

  • ·          Use the proper gear (flies and artificial lures armed with single barbless hooks are less injurious than bait; circle hooks should always be employed by bait fishermen since hooking is almost always outside the mouth, virtually eliminating deadly gill injuries).
  • ·          Strive to end the struggle quickly (standard rods trump lightweights every time).
  • ·          Avoid handling fish with dry hands (wet hands and gloves are less apt to injure protective slime and scales).
  • ·          Avoid knotted nylon nets in favor of non-abrasive rubber  or knotless nylon.
  • ·          Forego hero shots all together (otherwise keep the fish in the water until hero and photographer are good to go); out of water time should never exceed 30 seconds; better still shoot the fish in the water (quickly) and let it go.

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