careful catch

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Fishing Reports

It’s winter: it’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s snowy.  A lot of the ramps are iced in.  It’s a great time of year to sit inside by the fire and read a book or watch a fishing video.  I don’t know about you, but that keeps me entertained for about 15 minutes, then I gotta float a boat or something.  Fortunately, winter is also a great time to catch and release striped bass.  Rockfish are a lot more likely to survive when they’re released in cold weather.  Science proves water and air temperatures greatly influence striped bass mortality.  In a seminal catch & release study taken on the Susquehanna Flats in 1999, fisheries biologists Rudy Lukacovic and Ben Florence found that 98.4% of released rockfish live when they are turned loose in water temperatures of 57 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stripers become more vulnerable as the weather warms and water temperatures rise, but their mortality percentage is still less than 4% in water temperatures of 62 degrees and less.  Proper handling, good catch-and-release practices, and fishing in higher salinity waters can further improve catch-and-release mortality so that it’s possible to reduce the number of fish we kill to less than 1%.  That makes winter a pretty awesome time to fish for those of us who are in it for the experience and not the meat. Read More!

Fishing Reports

In the fifty years or so I’ve had to observe the behavior of fishermen, I’ve noticed a few trends. While collecting thoughts for my next book, I’m forming a list of traits that I think good fishermen have in common. In the book, I’ll concentrate primarily on gear and tackle but I also want to spend some time examining habits and attitudes that successful anglers share. You know, the right stuff. One penchant stands out above all the rest – good fishermen like to release fish. Not only do they like to let them go, but they look for ways to insure they survive once they swim away. Accomplished anglers find satisfaction in returning a fish to the water and they enjoy the thought that other fishermen will also have the opportunity to experience the thrill of a trophy catch.

I love to eat fish. I just returned from a week-long fishing trip to the Abacos Islands where my sons and I ate the fish we caught every day. I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to eat their catch, but every angler has to release fish from time to time. Better anglers can’t possibly eat all the fish they catch, nor do they want to. I’ve written about this in the past, so instead of going into a step-by-step breakdown of best-practices, I thought I’d try to make it a little more fun by turning it into a quiz. Think you have a good handle on how to take care of the fish you plan to release? Check it out: Read More!

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