This article and the following one, which also contains catch and release in the title, both suggest a nostalgia for the good old days 100-200 years ago before Lee Wulff suggested that a gamefish could be caught more than once. I admit that I was thoroughly trained in the Catch and Kill ethic by my father whose first hand experience of the depression deeply colored how he approached fish, that is, free food. I have only came later to appreciate the C&R ethic.
May I suggest that it is good to look back, but we should not think of going back to the old mindset. In those 100-200 years things have changed dramatically. Ahab's Pequod is a far cry from the factory ships that strain the oceans for fish today. Old Roosevelt's greenheart rod and horsehair leaders are a far cry from today's hi-tech carbon fiber rods and synthetic leaders not to mention the designer lines and flies commonly available at your fly shop. Combine technology with an explosion in the number of fly fishermen, and the fish take a beating.
From being an occasional ripples on the surface of the environment, men have become major wave makers. Many of the rivers where old Roosevelt fished are lined with vacation condo developments. We replaced Eastern Brook Trout with Browns and Rainbows. The Lake Trout and Coaster Brook Trout that typified the deeper Great Lakes, are replaced by Steelheads, Cohos, and Kings. We move mouontains and construct lakes. We can't go back there because it aint there anymore.
So C&R is one way that men can take responsibility for the environment. "A gamefish is too good a thing to be caught only once." About 30 years ago someone suggested a refinement on C&R. It goes this way. An angler should fish to a kill limit instead of a bag limit. Practice C&R with the assumption that all released fish will not survive though you do not know which ones. Set your kill limit at 5. Say 25% of released fish do not survive in spite of our best efforts. On a good day when an angler reaches 20 fish, he has probably reached his 5 fish kill limit. Stop fishing there since the kill limit was reached.
Like C&R the most important thing this practice does is limit the kill. It also has the virtue of facing the fact that not all released fish survive. Now no-one is going to have a lot of 20+ fish days. But when they come along this puts a curb on the impulse to go for a personal best in which many fish are accidental victims. Once you have it dialed in, there is no sense in continuing on just to inflate the number. Counting is for golf.
What do you think?
Last edited by Bear742; 09-19-2011 at 06:53 PM.
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