Posted by TroyJ on September 06, 2004 at 09:21:12:
In Reply to: Ethics! posted by Alex on September 03, 2004 at 08:38:09:
Good post Alex, it does bring up the question as to what should be done with a fish in that situation.
Most tournaments require that you weigh in you dead fish, so in most cases dead fish cannot be culled. There is a substancial weight penalty for dead fish.
In this case, the fish could not be considered "caught" by the angler. Tournament rules that do not allow dead fish to be weighed, maybe should allow for at least keeping the dead fish on the boat to be eaten.
What about a deep hooked or wounded fish under the legal limit? Does anyone keep it?? Many people kill fish under the limit and leave it in the lake all the time. Is that waste?? I've seen it done with crappie a lot. It doesn't matter how big it is, when it's dead it's dead, and won't grow bigger, that's for sure. A lot of smaller bass and crappie die from delayed mortality after beind mishandled, deep hooked and released back into the lake. The point is, a lot of people point fingers but have done the same thing.
I agree with Kerry that a responsible harvest is not only legal but necessary for a balanced fishery system. The DCNR has made progress in striking a better balance over the years. The problem is not legal, responsible catches, it's over harvest and especially poaching. Do you know how many of your fish die in gill nets?? Do you know how many are netted and sold in other states?? Crappie, bass and stripe are netted ans sold illegally. It's a real problem. Enforcement is improving with the help of anglers, including tangible help from tournament anglers.
Speaking of tournaments, since this turned into a tournament hate thread...:) Many of my clients and friends are rabid, anti-tournament people. I see both sides being out there every day. So, I ask some of you to explain to me, why is Guntersville so good?? It's considered in the top 3 lakes in the Nation despite the big number of tournaments. Over the last 10 years, (and I know this), there has been a HUGE increase in the amount of tournaments, yet the fishing has also IMPROVED, it's 10 times the lake it was 10 years ago. The same is true with a lot of lakes around the nation that continue to produce year after year with the tournament pressure.
Some reasons could be because fewer fish die than a lot of the anti-tournament crowd thinks, that is being proven in independent studies. Limited tournament mortality in some cases makes up for the lost "harvest" value which has come about from C&R and lower numbers of people who fish for food. AND, most importantly, tournament anglers have gotten active to protect habitat and water quality. Out of all the reasons we may think that our fishing has declined, it's water quality and habitat that are the real factors, not legal meat fishermen or tournament anglers.
It's hilarious to me when I'm out there. A lot of the most rabid anti-tournament people I know don't even fish for bass! By the way, Guntersville is what I consider to be the best crappie lake in the country, it's gets better every year. Not only that, but there are days I catch 20+ bass OVER 4-lbs. I have the biggest tournament bag weighed in this year, 5 bass at 30.39 pounds. I had 5 at 34-lbs a couple days prior to that. There have been countless 20+ pound bags weighed in, some days it's easy to carry a 5-lb average. Not to mention, everywhere you look you can see all the little bass, crappie and bream you want. If this is the type of devastation increased tournaments cause, I say... BRING IT ON! :) The only thing devastated is my left arm from yanking 5-lb bass out of the grass all summer. I have caught 6 over 8-lbs this year, and my clients biggest has been 8.5 (All released alive by the way).
It can be tough also, but as noted, just because you aren't catching them, doesn't mean they are not there. Ever use one of those cameras? I have, when you see on the screen what does NOT bite, you'll about want to quit fishing.
It's all proof that when you have the right habitat, bait and water quality along with a good management plan, we'll all be happy.
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