No, this is not a debate on catch/release or catch/keep.
My question today to everyone is :
If you catch a trophy size fish ( let's say a 25+ lb. steelhead
that would be a record, or close to one for where you live)
would you release the fish or possibly keep the fish & have
a mounting made as a trophy ?
I had hooked into a trophy size smallmouth several years ago,
but he spit the hook right as I was ready to grab hold of him.
It depends on the fish. The steelhead in your example is a good one. A couple of weeks ago I was with a friend and he landed a 41" 20 lb hatchery steelhead (conventional tackle). That sucker went home and is going on the wall. We really want the spawning fish to be wild to keep the strain as pure as possible. The hatchery fish are used as sport and food. In ID you have to release wild steelhead (they have an adipose fin).
As for other fish I would release (and have) in most cases. Our trout are too precious and take so long to attain trophy sizes. I only keep fish that I am going to eat, which is pretty uncommon. I dont like to eat trout.
Monster carp close to a record is going home. I guess it also depends on the shape of the fish. If for some reason the fish is injured, such as a hook in the gills. I would rather keep it than release it to die. I handle all of my fish very carefully, and make all attempts to revive. Sometimes it just happens.
Replicas have come a long way. I take measurements and plenty of photos.
t.o.o., you say this is not debate on catch/release or catch/keep... well, it can easily turn into one now. You may have just reopened that same ol' can of worms.
It is not my duty to pass judgment on anyone's catch and eat/release philosophy as long as its legal and its not a detriment to the fish they release. So, I can't tell you what to do. I can only express my behavior and leave it at that.
Personally, I don't keep. I have released every single fish that I've caught since taking up the sport of fly fishing. I practice C.P.R. "Catch, Photograph and Release".
I'd rather buy my fish ready to cook at the market than to deal with the hassle of cleaning them myself. Plus the market fish are usually farm raised and taste much better anyway.
I don't have room on my walls to hang such a trophy. I don't want to pay the very high price to get a fish mounted or to purchase a replica. So, if its a trophy, I will take a pic and immediately and safely release.
I'm not a tree hugger or anything similar but I do think that certain fish in certain situations really should be released.
I also understand the idea of thinning out the heard for the betterment of the fish population. I'll just let someone else take care of that for me. There is enough catch and keep folks out there to make up for my catch and release.
Anyway, you should stay true to yourself. If you want to keep... then keep it.
Plus the market fish are usually farm raised and taste much better anyway.
STEVE! Come on! Pellet fed fish over wild ones? I'll take the wild ones anyday.
That being said, it has been quite a while since I ate a fish I caught. I mostly agree that I would rather let the local fishmonger deal with the messiness of filet prep, but a freshly caught fish from clean water that's cooked before freezing is worth the effort in my book. I can't understand catching a boatload to then have to spend hours cleaning and then throw them in the freezer though.
Regarding both collecting fish for food and trophies, I would rather not have the hassle of keeping the carcass suitable for either, and also would rather that fish still be available for somebody else to catch. The one's that would make the best trophies, are the most prolific breeders of the most talented young-uns anyway.
I'd just rather get back to fishing and not have to tote around carcasses. If you want a trophy mount made, take multiple pictures of it, get a length and girth measurement, and slide it back into the water.
Most of the trophies here hang out in Catch and Release waters. That would be part of the determing factor of keeping one. I can't say that I ever caught a fish that I wanted to get mounted. I don't see anything wrong with keeping one to get mounted.
Why would anyone want to kill a trophy fish for any reason. A nice fiberglass mount with the information at the bottom should get the job done. Just measure the length and girth plus a couple of color photos.
I'll keep the ones I'm going to eat, which isn't many since my wife and daughter don't like fish. Fresh caught wild trout is definitely a hundred times better than what you could get in the store (if they can even be found in a store, I've never seen any around here). Ironically, I think they are tastiest at around 8-12 inches. Bigger than that they just don't taste as good to me. Store bought salmon and tuna are ok, but fresh salmon is much better to me. As for mounts, I've seen so many 'natural' mounts go bad over time that I think I would choose photos and fiberglass if I ever wanted to have a mount done.
I have watched the issue of "keep or not to keep" for several years now. I think that both sides have valid points and concerns, and I firmly believe, like so many other things in life, the issue is one of being sensible about what we do, how we represent ourselves as true sportsmen, and using good ole' common sense. ( which by the way seems to be in very short supply these days)
First, is there anything wrong with keeping a few fish for dinner? No, absolutely not. Is there a problem with some "game hog" keeping every fish he catches and putting them in the freezer like a Leprechaun hording gold? You bet? In areas where pressure is a problem and fish are being over harvested, there needs to be very aggressive conservation methods put into place to let the fishery rest and rebuild. In areas where that is not a problem, I believe normal size and quantity limits are more than adequate to allow the fishermen to keep some fish and allow the fishery to be productive. As far as trophies are concerned, my belief is that replicas are the way to go. I just feel the replicas are so good these days and can be made to exact specs. so well, there is really no reason to kill any trophy - takes some pics, get a replica, and let someone else have the thrill!
I would release a trophy. Take good measurements and get a fiberglass mount
that's the way to go for me at least. I don't eat fish and don't have a use to kill one for my wall. It's all in who you are too! Some people would rather have the real thing on their wall so I find nothing wrong with that. Coming from a fisheries background I can see both sides.