Tag: catch and release

Done Deal

Courtesy of BTT, FWC Approves Bonefish and Tarpon as Catch and Release:

At their Wednesday meeting in Lakeland, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), unanimously approved new regulations to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries, making Florida the first State to do so. The deliberations by Commission members were brief and entirely supportive. Commissioner Brian Yablonski said, “this is the most significant thing we can do for tarpon.” Following their favorable ruling, Chairman Kenneth Wright added, “there will be a chapter written in a book about what this commission did today.”

(h/t Save The Tarpon)

MG signing off (with nothing else to say. for once.)

Florida’s potential tarpon catch and release regs coming to a head

Not to minimize the importance of impending regulations on what kind of rigs can be used to catch fish in Boca Grande pass, but Save the Tarpon gets to what yours truly considers the meat of the matter

Final Rules for Tarpon and Bonefish – The proposed final rules would make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only. To accomplish this, the allowance for a tarpon bag limit would be eliminated and replaced with an allowance for possession of a single tarpon in conjunction with a tarpon tag for the purpose of pursuing an International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record. In addition, all tarpon regulations will be extended into adjacent federal waters. The existing bonefish tournament exemption that allows registered tournament anglers to possess a bonefish for the purposes of transporting it to the tournament scale would also be eliminated.

Of course, one could just eliminate the tag allowance for pursuing a world record, and we’d actually have a real game on our hands. But the above is certainly a step in the right direction. The only way to speak your mind is to attend the meeting? Not! You can also email the commission to voice your applause for the above proposal.

A 100%1000%…one hundred quadrillion percent hat tip goes to Save The Tarpon for getting the issue this far.

MG signing off (in hopes that true fans of conserving shallow water gamefishes will have their voices heard)

Florida Department of Wildlife makes a big move on the “Professional” Tarpon Tourney

The PTTS, known amongst many as the Putrid Tarpon Tournament Series, is some sort of TV reality show where halfwit party boat captains snag big tarpon in the Boca Grande Pass, then drag these magnificent creatures, gaff in face, to weigh stations for fun and profit. No, this isn’t Jersey Shore or the Life and Times of the Kardashian Clan, but if Snooky and Kim were on the show it would probably be an improvement.

Nevertheless, real anglers have been screaming bloody murder (which it pretty much is), and the Florida Department of Wildlife has taken notice. Now, in the vein of taking action (much as our friends at Costa Del Mar did when they recently bailed on sponsorship), the FWC is poised to make Megalops atlanticus a catch and release only species

The FWC’s action came after nearly two hours of debate over language contained in a proposed rule creating a broad “sport fish” designation for tarpon and other species. As a result, the commission opted to temporarily set aside action on the new classification while forging ahead with protections aimed specifically at protecting tarpon.

The group Save The Tarpon deserves enormous kudos for waking everyone up to the stench.

MG signing off (to count happy Tarpon jumping as I fall asleep)

A modest proposal for the future of certain trout


I have spent the entirety of the year 2010 without fishing the “Meyers Stretch” of the South Platte River, a.k.a the Dream Stream, and will without doubt finish the year not touching its banks once.

I may never fish it again either, unless there are some changes. The reasoning is simple.

I was once one of those jackasses who spent the fall months slinging egg sucking leaches, followed by egg patterns, followed by bead-headed midges, across those waters as the browns moved up to make whoopie in the willows. Then I realized that unlike those fish, we humans get it on for fun and games. They are moving on instinct, to replicate the species. Period.

I then asked myself this: with the mortality rate already built into catch and release fishing (which probably runs at least 35% percent, based on my half-assed research on the matter), how many of those majestic fish would actual survive being caught multiple times a season? Counting the vehicles in the lots, I subsequently puked all over my leaky $500 waders. (Side note: I’ll never wear a pair of waders that cost that much ever again).

The previous few summers I caught some bonafide pigs at Meyers on streamers and dries, and then skipped the spawning season out of pure satisfaction. The fish I bagged were healthy and bright, unlike those I’d caught previous autumns with multiple copper johns hanging out of their snouts. I haven’t been back since August ’09.

Modesty and Twelve Gauges

Let’s turn the Dream Stream into a permit-only water. Draw for days, just like elk hunting season. And pay dearly just the same. No poaching, no guiding, and no cheating. Guns drawn and off to jail with you if you disobey.

Think of the fees it could generate for protecting those fish. Imagine how those fish might behave with significantly less pressure on their poor souls. $50 per day to park in the lot between May 1st and August 31st. And then, say, a $150 per person rod fee during the spawns – February 1st through April 31st and September 1st through October 31st – would allow those fin finned friends to breed without undue harassment. I suspect the populations would explode, and the need for stocking would be significantly reduced too.

Catching wild fish on an extraordinary stretch of water. One now named after a luminary lost. What would Charlie think about this?

By the way, the same could be said for the Taylor, Frying Pan, and probably a few other sections of water too. Raking the reds with a three fly nymph rig for a digital hero shot? I think you should pay out-the-ass for such guilty pleasures.

How do you feel?

MG signing off (to avoid catching trophy fish while they are trying to make more trophy fish)

Stuff I saved in my feed reader for the last ten days – 06/15/09


  • Uh…Twitter something. [Everyone]*
  • Let’s see…Facebook this and that? [Everyone]*
  • *Editor’s note: we’re now actively filtering out all news related to Twitter and Facebook for efficiency’s sake – the above mentioned groundbreaking highlights were garnered through inference.


  • America: Now $8-to-$14 Trillion Poorer [Reason] – It’s very hard for some of us to feel any poorer, but by golly we’re trying.
  • Unemployment at 10% to Depress Consumer Spending, Survey Shows [Bloomberg] – To figure out how to get paid to do surveys that give the same result as that learned in Economics 101 is the real trick to survival.
  • Court Docs Reveal Govt. Likely Forced Chrysler Deal With Minimal Knowledge of Fiat [NewsBusters] – Heck, the government probably forced Merrill Lynch on Bank of America too, so quit the bitching.
  • Fly Fishing

  • England Takes World Fly Fishing Championships [MidCurrent] – Congratulations to Team England. And in other news, the PMs decided this was a good reason to buy all new gear for themselves and bill British taxpayers.
  • To Save Fish, Defeat Them Quickly [Fly Talk] – What the fast-action graphite wielding contingent knew all along.
  • Dress for success applies directly to fly-fishermen [Durango Herald] – Proving once and for all that looking good really does matter.
  • MG signing off (to clean out the rest)

    Catch and release (plus a little writing) may score you a new reel!

    Fly Fisher Girl Hannah Belford is sponsoring a rockin’ contest. We all (hopefully) practice catch and release, but sometimes the fish aren’t handled in a way that maximize their chances of fighting another day – Hannah wants to change that…

    Angling kills fish. However, with proper care and attention one can minimize the impact. In fact, if one chooses to fish strictly catch and release barbless hook angling – you are going to give the fish the best possible chance for survival…well next to not using a hook. My vegan dad and stepmom woulda called me on that.

    If you have a good story about catch and release (an honest one, and some pics to go with it), you can submit those to FlyFisherGirl.com for the chance at a brand spanking new Redington Rise fly reel. Hannah, along with our very own New York ditch doctor Pete McDonald, will be judging the entries. Click that lovely banner below to see all the rules and regs, and nab yourself a sweet piece of gear!


    UPDATE: You don’t have to write an dissertation – just a little blurb about doing right by the fish will work just fine. However, pics are required.

    Saving ‘Sea Kittens’ One Guide Provided Cartoon At A Time

    Scott Carles (a.k.a. Cutthroat Stalker) recently pointed us to a new study that says fish feel pain. I’m not sure who gave out the grant money to quantify and publish this information, but I’ve got all kinds of inside dope I’m willing to disclose if it means a little cash. I’ll even mash together some statistical analysis that proves what everyone else already knows is in fact a fact. Just pay me.

    Of course fish feel pain, but that squirm or croak you hear pre-release shouldn’t be mistaken for killing, and if you handle the fish right you can both shorten/inhibit the fish’s ill feeling and give it an undeniable chance at survival going forward. I’m sure everyone who has spent a decent amount of time on the water has caught a fish with another fly in its mouth – that’s proof that fish can be released to fight another day, and without going on some kind of fast.

    Scott also asked for everyone to throw in their two cents regarding fish, pain, and catch and release – he’s trying to develop an intelligent rebuttal to PETA’s inevitable abuse resultant from the ‘study.’ IQ and fly fishing prowess don’t necessarily go hand in hand – regarding your author you can immediately throw both out the window. So I’ll shoot for perspicuity, in cartoons borrowed from the now retired Emo Guide Service:

    Fish Are Happy With Their Insides In

    Fish Drown Out Of Water, So Get ‘Em Back In It

    Fish Aren’t Your Dog’s Squeeze Toys

    Lay Fish Down Nice, Like Back In The Water

    Additional wisdom from Emo can be found here.

    MG signing off (to learn how to draw like Emo)

    Having your steelhead and eating it too

    Two days past the Seattle Times reported that one Peter Harrison had caught a 29.5 pound steelhead on an 8 kilo tippet, and the fish died at his hand. By all measures this was a world record, and may even be an all-class plaque. The Washington Fly Fishing Forum subsequently exploded in fury, with speculation as to the validity of Mr. Harrison’s account of the fish’s condition post-landing circling the web, and fueling the fire.

    I’m not a steelhead angler. One fish-less day on the Root River in Wisconsin, and a movie, are the extent of my experience. I can’t run to the Washington Fly Fishing Forum and effectively inject my version of reason – it’s simply not my place. I can say, however, that I’ve chased a lot of species in my relatively short life, on both conventional and fly tackle. I’ve killed plenty of fish, and eaten well that night. None were world records, but not for lack of trying (and before realizing that particular endeavor was nothing more than a guaranteed dead fish, edible or not).

    No, rather than opine blindly on the matter, I asked a friend who avidly supports striper conservation efforts in his own home waters off Massachusetts, has spent an extraordinary amount of time fly fishing with me, and has more than fifteen years of Great Lakes and Canadian steelheading experience under his belt. He said:

    “I wouldn’t have killed the fish – even if it had only a 1% chance of surviving a damaged gill, that’s still better than its chances were once permanently removed from the water. But assuming pictures of a clean fish are proof positive it wasn’t near death are ridiculous, particularly after the described lengthy fight.”

    I concur. We also agreed, having caught several trophies (or at the least, highly photo worthy subjects) while in each other’s company, that we might have cleaned the blood away so an otherwise catch and release target didn’t look for posterity like it had been slaughtered. My colleague said that replacing the hook for a real prize shot was well within the bounds of possibility. You know, like this:

    Dying like Marilyn Monroe
    Dead Steelhead

    Let’s rearrange the body
    Posing Steelhead

    Now step into the shoes of a sportsman, and ask yourself if you’d accept this proposal…

    Commercial harvest would be prohibited, and fines for accidental kills increased beyond reason (plus mandatory jail time). Development would be permanently halted. Private property transfers would include easements on prized areas. And you’d be restricted in your sport during government mandated times of the year only. You can enter the lottery for a license, or you can guarantee a spot by paying something like $10,000 for the chance at a trophy target. Sound good to you? I didn’t think so, and yet that pretty much sizes up the state of affairs trying to bag a 390+ B&C elk in some parts of the US. Of course, trophy elk are hardly an ‘at risk’ species, but are you still wondering why?

    If you really want to save a threatened creature – one so close to endangerment that the death of a single (albeit beautiful) specimen is justifiable cause for such an online ruckus – then just quit fishing for them. All the time you previously spent tying those flies and casting that rod (as well as screaming bloody murder about your fellow anglers’ possible lax behaviour) can then be devoted to specific conservation efforts, including focused legislative action, organizing boycotts of commercial enterprises that harm sacred waters, and maybe even running for office yourself. Bonus: think of all the money you’ll save in materials, hooks, rods, reels, line and…blood pressure medication. And when the steelies are back, you can star in the final scene of A River Runs Through It, Again.

    Having your cake and eating it too is for birthday parties. And I’m suddenly glad I’m not on the invitation list.

    Switzerland Bans Catch-And-Release

    Love the gold, hate the trout

    From the Chattanoogan:

    Catch and Release fishing will be banned in Switzerland from next year, it was revealed this week.

    And anglers in the country will have to demonstrate their expertise by taking a course on humane methods of catching fish, under new legislation outlined by the Bundesrat – the Swiss Federal Parliament.

    “Humane methods of catching fish” will mean knocking trout over the head with a blunt instrument (thereby causing instant death to our fine finned friends).

    Unless Swiss anglers are downright insane, they should petition the government to trade them a one-ounce gold ingot for every fish they kill, which the angler can then donate to the local preservation board!

    (h/t to The Trout Underground)

    A friendly reminder…low-impact release follows catch

    I gave someone an update on my Sunday’s crummy fishing, and they proceeded to send me a reminder of the weekend before (with enclosed compliments on my release technique):

    I remember the mud on my fingertips.

    The picture does this beautiful wild brown trout justice, but it doesn’t portray what I remembered being pretty poor handling skills. I was holding this fish gently while unhooking, and she squirmed out of my hands and onto the the muddy bank. I gave plenty of time for relaxed revival in the cool water, and she darted away nicely. But I still felt a bit bad about it. Keeping them in a net and in the water while unhooking, grabbing a quick pic and then getting them back in the water just as fast is the preferred methodology.