A line from Ed Zern's
The Ethics, Perhaps, of Fly Fishing from last week
made the hair on the back of my neck crawl. Here it
"There have always been men who could accumulate a larger
number of dead fish than other men, because it was important
to them; but no one remembers who they were, or should."
Am I proud of a particular big fish? Yes. Did I kill it?
Ah, here's the catch - you can call it ethics, an argument
for Catch and Release - or anything else you wish. But
the fact is, big fish spawn big fish. If all the
fish in a particular fishery are small, they will
produce small fish. And if you kill the largest of
those small fish, in time the size will continue to
diminish. Some areas have a reverse size limit where
the smaller fish are available to catch and keep, which
allows anglers to take something if they must, and keeps
the larger fish to reproduce. It does work.
Where there is a surplus of fish, or where fish are
stocked specifically to catch and eat, keeping fish
is fine. The idea is to maintain a renewable
resource - read fishery.
The egocentric need to accumulate piles of dead fish is
pathetic. As long as I'm venting my disgust, I'll add
to that the IGFA records for endangered or threatened
fish. Not one of those fish should be killed in the name
of a 'record' by anyone. The practice is deplorable,
killing a superb fish for a paltry line in some 'record'
Those record fish reproduce! They also reproduce BIG fish.
How many fish will not be created because of the death of
Records are kept of fish not killed, and if a person
feels his life is not complete without a line in a record
book, at least pick on a specie or record not requiring
the fish be killed.
There are also guides who feel they must 'own' records to
prove their ability to potential clients. I sincerely wonder
how many people pick a guide on how many records he has.
Does that mean the guide can put me on fish? Maybe if
all the conditions he had when he got his records are
all matched. This seems to me to fall into the same
category as guides who raised their fees when they became
'certified' instructors. No, I'm not going there again - but
having an attitude of greater superiority does creep into
some part of fly fishing, and it really makes me fume.
You can disagree with me of course, but there is no one
person who knows everything about fly fishing. None.
You can take the finest saltwater angler and drop him
in a spring creek and see how effective he is. You can
take the spring creek veteran and put him on a lake
full of Kamloops trout - see how well that works.
It is the same with fly tying. There are those who
swear by exact imitation - and those who tie attractors.
No matter how much knowledge in any specific area of
fly fishing, none of us will ever know it all. I guess
that's why I bristle at the word 'expert.'
Ah ha, does the person with the 'record' become an instant
expert? Or think he is? Or expect others to treat him
with special deference? Or maybe he just got lucky.
In my mind those who kill fish to accumulate a pile of
bragging fish - or to kill fish to obtain a record are
all covered by one word.
Butcher! ~ LadyFisher
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