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Old 02-27-2006, 10:09 PM
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Default Catch & Release Please! - by Dan Fallon

[img2="left"][/img2]CATCH & RELEASE PLEASE!

By Dan Fallon

The often used phrase, “ Catch & Release “ echos from rivers and streams across the world begging the question why? In these times of unlimited hatchery raised salmon and trout usually dumped by the ton into rivers, lakes, streams each spring, why take the extra time to carefully catch and then release game fish that appear to be so abundant? In this column I will not address the folly of dumping hatchery fish into waters that also hold wild trout or salmon without being considerate of the available food sources or in cringing on wild stocks! This sad state of unthinking fish management will be addressed in future columns. What are the benefits short term or long for being careful catching and then reviving game fish before releasing them to be perhaps caught again and again...

When I witness unthinking usually younger inexperienced anglers rip trout, salmon lips with far too much energy upon first strike and then muscle and slam fish to net, then with big smiles on their faces toss the exhausted trout back in, I cringe and wonder what they are thinking? The aquatic underworld that we fly fishers cherish is a delicate usually unseen place where human understanding of right and wrong in my mind is sorely lacking! All game fish are from birth engaged in one over riding passion, survival period. When you use hooks with barbs and set the hook as if your yanking a bad tooth, what happens is the fish is left with a mouth wound much larger and ragged then a barbless hook would make and gentle first strike would induce. Now that trout will have to deal with both sudden shock, a wound that will attract aquatic bacteria and more then likely lead to death!

If the respected trout fly fishing schools would take the time to study and understand why trout, salmon and all game fish must be respected and handled like the precious living creatures they are, our sport could become the leader in respect for our aquatic friends and allow them some basic consideration. You new fly fisher will be doing a great service by adopting these few simple rules often taken for granted. Number one must be always use barbless hooks, hooks with barbs are killers and completely useless, I often wonder why they are still manufactured? Replace all your hooks with barbless today. When you feel a trout taking your fly and the thrill of actually catching that pretty rainbow hits your wrist, a gentle flick of your wrist is all that is needed to set the hook. Do not slam the hook into the delicate mouth flesh and cause serious damage, practice a more humane easy first strike impulse.

Now that you have the fish hooked, let him run a bit and then quickly take him to hand or net. If you have to use a net keep it wet and in the water as your net will scrape off the natural coating that protects all fish and helps insulate them against loss of energy and illness. It is best to leave the trout, salmon in the water while using your forceps to remove the hook. Now if photos are to be taken, if possible never take your catch out of the water, why not take the shot of your trout just under the waters surface quickly? Gently holding your catch and moving it back and forth under water until it revives and pulls away from you. Great job new fly fisher, welcome to the world of considerate fly fishing where trout, salmon actually have rights, rights to life....

Article Courtesy of Dan Fallon at Coming Soon!

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Old 02-28-2006, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Catch & Release Please! - by Dan Fallon

Good info there! We should all make sure we mash down barbs as a matter of habit either after we have tied the fly, or tied it onto our tippet. (a cam-action vise is one of the most efficient barb-smashers out there, just put it in there sideways)

I do something while I'm bream fishing that helps both the fish and my gear. I try to set the hook quick enough to have the fly sticking out of the fishes mouth. That way I can just grab the fly, turn it upside down, and the fish falls off of it. I say its better for my gear because that way i don't get fish slime on my hand and then have to wipe it off on me. Leaving all that slime on the fish is much better for them too.

I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.
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