i often hear the counter-argument “I don’t care about C+R, it’s my right to keep fish, we’ve done it since the beginning of history, it’s in my legal rights”, etc, etc, etc. blah, blah, blah…
ok, so you want to keep fish and as far as i’m concerned as long as you stay within reason and local regulations then i guess go ahead and reduce a worldwide dwindling fish population a little more. you’ll have guessed that i do not kill fish any more than i would kill a horse after riding it or a dog or cat after playing with it or, as Mel Krieger once said to a young woman when asked about C+R
“If i had the great pleasure of making love to you i wouldn’t kill you after… “
‘nuff said, my point isn’t to tell people what to do. however, even if you’re going to keep fish, learning proper C+R methods is an absolute must, here’s a few reasons why:
– all of us often catch undersized fish. these little fish are fragile and can’t put up with improper handling. if they don’t go back in good shape they won’t live to reproduce and make a lot of other little fish that will become bigger fish that will make tons of other fish. easy math.
– although stronger and they can generally put up well with being caught, the same basic ideas can be applied to the larger specimens. if they got that big and healthy is because they have a very strong genetic structure. these fish will make more and better fish if they are allowed to continue reproducing.
– sometimes we’re fishing for one species but another takes the fly. they can be out of season (from varying reproduction periods that differ from one species to another) or an ‘undesirable or un-tasty’ species. either way these must go back properly. there is no such thing as a ‘trash’ fish and i feel sorry for anyone who would use that term. every single element of an ecosystem is as important as another and complements the whole.
here’s a really nice article on C+R i hope you’ll find informative from my good friend “Lineslinger“ Will Shaw.
the title says ‘trout’ but the methods are pretty much the same for most species. there will be more on this subject later as i’m slowly putting together with several other authors what i hope will be an accepted reference in this matter.