You’re probably wondering why I am writing on such a topic, when there are literally hundreds of more appealing things to write about. I feel the need to express the importance of conservation and catch and release. I take a lot of friends and family out on my boat because I enjoy watching others catch fish. The mere joy that one has when they hook up with their largest redfish or snook is personally gratifying. I focus on catch and release. Honestly, 80% of the time, I release all fish if it’s just me fishing. Typically the ones I do harvest are for family and friends. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do enjoy a tasty redfish/grouper sandwich every now and then but I would prefer to release them to be caught another day. What I find to be alarming is the reaction from people when the fish limit has been reached and we start releasing fish. Their actions make me question what they would do if I wasn’t there. This has me wondering about the thousands of other recreational fisherman. I know I’m not one to judge ones morale behavior but if the laws weren’t in place we would probably have a true crisis with many of our popular native game species. For instance, one of my favorite inshore species is the redfish. They grow at a fairly slow rate, reaching and estimated 24 inches in 3 years.
They too were quickly diminishing in population at one time but thanks to the regulations and all of the new hatchery programs, the fishery has been on a steady incline. When you have a couple bags of fish in the freezer, start practicing catch and release. Astonishingly I find that it’s more of a psychological issue after the catch, and then it’s the angler having an appetite. Many want to catch and kill the fish to make sure they can get a picture or show off their catch as a trophy, having no regard to the life that they took. Releasing fish not only shows compassion for what you love as a recreational sport but also allows the fish to perpetuate and grow in numbers. Make sure you focus on your tackle, use circle hooks to prevent gut hooking, try and avoid long battles in the heat of the summer to limit stress on the fish. Make sure you aren’t throwing your trash in the water; we are always retrieving trash from the bay. Not too long ago, I idled over to a floating object to remove it and it happened to be a baby sea turtle entangled in a piece of an old cast net. We all have a responsibility to protect and conserve, so that generations to come can enjoy our pristine aquatic eco-system.
Thanks for the feedback Daryl. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and I’m happy to see others have similar feelings on the matter.
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September 20, 2014
You are in no way out of line in stressing the importance of catch and release. I have a similar page on my website that carries the same message. There is no need to apologize for being responsible and getting the word out.
I don’t think its that people have a disregard for wildlife so much. Its more that there is a learning curve on why its so important and I am happy to say that it seems like its going in the right direction. Anglers are practicing catch and release more now than ever before and the impact of that is very visible in the numbers and quality of fish being caught.
Something that also needs to be addressed is the disposal of monofilament (fishing line). If disposed of improperly, the impact is devastating to not only marine life, but also land animals. Mono disposed of in regular trash ends up in landfills. It is in these landfills that many land animals and birds lose their life to entanglement as well. This simple DIY method (http://double-d-extremetackle.com/pages/diystrip.aspx) shows how easy it is to properly discard mono so it is not possible for it to entangle anything.
I applaud your effort for taking a stand and posting this info to your website. It is crucial that we use our resources to get the message out there to the angling community. The general trend among educated anglers is shifting toward being more conservation minded. They know it works because they are seeing it firsthand.