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Thread: Ethics question

  1. #1

    Default Ethics question

    Suppose you were fishing and suddenly 20" trout began rising. You quickly realized they were feeding on a hatch of tiny midges. You dug out your fly box and found a reasonable facsimile, however when you tried getting line through the eye you discovered that the largest tippet that would go through was 7X. So the question is, should you fish for those 20" trout with the 7X tippet?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ethics question

    obviously... 20 on a 20!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ethics question

    What's the temp and what kind of water am I fishing?
    - William

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Ethics question

    You are saying it would be unethical because you would have to play the fish very, very softly, tiring it out and perhaps killing it?

    I think unethical is too strong of a word here. It is certainly not optimal from a catch and release perspective. But look at it this way, what if you are blind casting with 7x, and hook a 20 inch fish? Is that suddenly unethical? Should you just cut the line? Probably not.

    What if they you have to use the tiniest fly in the box to even get the fish to rise, and only then with the softest, most graceful landing that a 7x tippet will give? Does the trout's pickiness create a situation where you can no longer ethically target them to the best of your ability (going with such a small tippet, some would say, is a sign of a true sportsman).

    Perhaps, this is a situation that requires the simple good faith effort. Go ahead and use the 7x leader, and the #20 dry. Go ahead and try to get him to rise. And then, take mitigating measures - don't spend 20 minutes letting it work itself to die. Just, reasonably, try and get it in as if it were a 4 or 5x. If you land it, wow, you were both good and maybe a smidge lucky depending on the area cover. If you lose him, you aspired for a worthy goal, and earned a glass of the good scotch when you get back. Thats my answer.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Ethics question

    Since this is a theoretical question, I have a theoretical answer.

    The conundrum is the low test of traditional monofilaments. That is where the ethical question comes in. However, there is a way around that. If a stronger material could be found, it would no longer be a question of ethics.

    I guess I would try for them with a super line like Fireline Fused Crystal micro ice in 3 lb test. It is 7X diameter.

    Fused polyethlene was sold by Orvis as tippet material in the 1990's but it never caught on. It is so limp it is difficult if not impossible to lay out the tippet on a cast. But in case like you describe, I think I can make it work with a downstream parachute cast to line up with the narrow feeding lanes that big fish occupy when feeding on midges.

    3 lb test is about what Cortland 5X Nylorfi tippet material was in the 1980s and it could land 20 inch fish without over stressing them. 3 lb test is not a problem because the tiny hooks that only a 7x tippet can thread may not even take a 3 lb pull without breaking or opening up.

    ---------- Post added at 10:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:59 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by wtl View Post

    I think unethical is too strong of a word here. It is certainly not optimal from a catch and release perspective. But look at it this way, what if you are blind casting with 7x, and hook a 20 inch fish? Is that suddenly unethical? Should you just cut the line? Probably not.

    Lets give this a bit more thought.

    I agree it is not unethical if you unintentionally caught the fish. However, in my view, this is not ethically the same as intentionally fishing for that fish.

    I think in this case, intent precedes action in determining the ethical nature of the action.

    If they were ethically the same, then accidentally snagging a fish would be the same as intentionally trying to snagging a fish.

    I would go one step further. Intent precedes content and action. One does not have to even have to snag a fish. The act of trying to snag is by itself unethical behavior. If that is so and if catching a large fish on too light a tackle is unethical; then it follows that the act of fishing for large fish with too light a tackle is unethical.


    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Ethics question

    I have done this on Yellow Creek here in PA. If the water is cold...i.e. early spring of late fall/ problem. In the summer the warmer water will stress the trout much more severely, but if you take the time to really do a good job with revivification they should be okay. The trick is to get them revived in well oxygenated close to where the riffles enter a pocket or hole. Many people will revive them in the shallow back eddies where they land them, and these waters are mostly dead water. Very warm and low on oxygen.

    But I guess my answer is kind of a moot one as you are likely to encounter such a teeny tiny hatch only in cold least where I fish.

    Also, I've seen guys land big steelhead on very light leaders in a matter of a minute or two, and another angler using virtually the same set-up take nearly 10 minutes to land a similar fish. Fighting a fish is a skill just like casting or picking what fly to fish. Not everyboddy does it the same, and some are definitely better than others at it.

    So, my answer is YES. Fish the light leader, just do your part after the catch, and realize that despite your best efforts you may loose a fish or two.

    There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus, Never Sniff a Gift Fish, 1979

    Anger is like peeing in your pants: everyone can see it, but only you can feel it. ~Jeff Yalden

    Remember: The winner gets to write the history books.

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Ethics question

    So take it to the extreme. If the species you are fishing for has nerve endings in its mouth, is it ethical (or humane) to even cast the fly?
    I think of it as I'm infusing a bit of excitement into the fish's otherwise mundane existence, perhaps adding to the fish's health by giving it some exercise, not to mention doing the same for me.

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  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border

    Default Re: Ethics question

    I hate these kinds of threads. This is designed to pot stir.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Ethics question

    Quote Originally Posted by Diver Dan View Post
    I hate these kinds of threads. This is designed to pot stir.
    I agree, DD.

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  15. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone

    Default Re: Ethics question

    Quote Originally Posted by jsquires View Post
    I agree, DD.

    Regardless of the situation, there should be no question of "Ethics." Long time back and a huge hatch of Salmon Flies. These things were are close to 2" long and Summer Run Steelhead were 'sipping' (right word?) off the surface. Stacked the rod and just sat back and watched.

    Another Guy comes up and does a 'DO YOU SEE THAT???!!!'

    Told, well "ordered" would be a more correct word, 'Don't even think about it, we're watching something very special.'

    Fellow looks and me, parks his fly rod next to mine, and we spent close to an hour just watching Mom Nature at work. Between us, we killed a flask of very good Single Malt Whisky.

    A very good day.

    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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