Friday, April 10, 2009

Catch and Release of Striped Bass on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay

Hello everybody.

Today, I went out in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay for the first time this year, doing some catch and release on these stripers, making sure all of my rods and reels are still working properly. I didn't leave the dock until about 8:00 this morning. We caught three rockfish within the first hour of fishing. After that, we never had another touch the rest of the morning. Not long after we caught the last one, the current started running real hard down the Bay, and that is probably what killed it. If we had left the dock an hour or two earlier, we probably would have caught more than that.

I don't have any pictures, because I usually don't take pictures when doing catch and release. My main focus is to get the fish back in the water as soon as possible. I hate the unnecessary killing of fish. As I mentioned before, the only reason I went today was to make sure that everything was working properly.

This brings me to something that I need to get off my chest. I'm going to upset a bunch of people here, but so be it. Lately, I've been hearing these stories about people who have been doing catch and release, and bragging about catching 50-60 fish in one day. Now, WHAT IS THE SENSE IN THAT? For one thing, after the first two or three, I don't see the fun in it anymore. It's more like work. More importantly, I'd be willing to bet that a significant percentage of the fish released don't live. Think about it. You're dragging these fish on a hook through the water, stressing them out. You get them in the boat, drop them on the floor, and rupture their spleens. You rub off their protective slime, causing lesions to show up on them later, which makes them sick, and when or if they're caught later, you have all these idiots screaming "Oh my God, Pfisteriaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!" After wrestling with the fish and getting the hook out of its mouth, you throw it back into the drink with a sore on its mouth. God forbid you hook one in the gill or gut-hook one. Yeah, that's right. Rip its gills out, rip its guts out, make it bleed everywhere, then throw it back in the drink, and brag about how you landed one, when in reality, all you did was kill a nice fish for no good reason. Yeah, you're one hell of a fisherman! Congratulations! I hope that someday my fat ass can ascend to that pinnacle of achievement that only you seemed to have reached.

Now, I feel better. Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, it is one thing to catch and release a handful of fish to make sure everything works before the season starts. It's a necessary evil. But, to sit back all day long and hammer those fish, 50-60 a day and more. That's just plain stupid and ridiculous. When there aren't any fish left, you can bet that these ignorant people will be the first ones to complain about it.

Ok. NOW I feel better.

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