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Why Do You Release or Keep?

  • ALWAYS- C&R REQUIRED

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • ALWAYS- MGT. PREFERENCE (Prof. Fishery Mgt Unknown)

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  • ALWAYS- MGT. PREFERENCE (Fishery Prof. Managed)

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  • ALWAYS- PEER PRESSURE (Club Rule, etc.)

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  • ALWAYS- ETHICS, CONSCIENCE, GUT FEEL

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  • ALWAYS- PRESERVATIONIST IN GENERAL

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  • ALWAYS RELEASED, NO REASON

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  • UNKNOWN

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • OTHER

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP FOR TROPHY MOUNT

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  • KEEP FOR SHOW

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP FOR SALE (COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP FOR FOOD-SELF/OTHERS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP FOR FOOD-OTHERS

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP FOR FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP SOME-RELEASE SOME

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • KEEP SOME-RELEASE MOST

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • RELEASE OUT OF CONVENIENCE

    Votes: 0 0.0%
21 - 40 of 65 Posts

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I voted for keep for fisheries management, as I release all fish over 3 lb. but keep several fish between 1 and 2 lb. for food. I feel that keeping the smaller fish population down and the larger fish population up is good for the overall population. I used to feel like most fisherman in my area, that bass are trash fish. I fished only for trout, but my family doesn't like trout(I tried several ways to cook it with no luck). A friend had some left over batter fried bass fillets that he shared with me, wow, it was good! I started to target bass so I could get my family to try some, they like it, they like it.lol Because most fisherman around here think that bass is a trash fish, they release everything, allowing the few of us that think otherwise to keep a few without hurting the population.
 

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I have seen some people take a large number of bass out of a local lake. One tournament director took 4 bass each weighing over 5 lbs home with him. (not during a local tournament) When asked what he planned on doing with them he replied, "Im putting 3 in my pond and having one for dinner!" I was amazed a lake that produced 8 lb bass for me at least 3 times a year,(five years ago) now you will be lucky to catch 1 bass over 5 lbs a year... wonder why? Don't have a problem with people taking bass but what is too much? What the law allows?
 

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I used to be strickly C&R but depending on the fishery, I may sometimes keep some. Pn My home lake there are tons of small fish. I try to keep them to help out the bigger ones not have to fight so hard for forage. :fishing02:
 

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I C&R because it's the right thing to do. I want my Grandchildern and their's to enjoy this sport. When you come back next time you'll always have bass to catch. :fishing01:
 

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I C&R almost exclusively. The only exception is to keep a couple for dinner about twice a year. Helps me remember this is a blood sport. I look forward to the day of catching my trophy, releasing it and having a fiberglass mount to remind me that the fish is still out there for more enjoyment.
 

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I fish a moderately pressured lake almost exclusively. I know most of the fishermen on the lake and with just a few exceptions, we all C&R. One guy (who has a killer Ranger) keeps Crappie in the Spring because he loves them fried up. I have absolutely no problem with that, especially since I have seen him release far more fish than he keeps. The fishing remains good on my little lake, largely I believe because most of us practice C&R. Personally, any fish I catch other than Bass is by mistake and for the life of me can't understand why anyone would want to keep such a magnificent fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I added KEEP SOME-RELEASE MOST, so if anyone wants to change their vote, you can. Thanks for participating. Any other suggestions to make this poll more useful? I've kept it on a non-expiring basis since we have so many new members each month.

Jim
 

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i think you coverd all the bases!
i put release all! ~GUT FEEL~ cuz these fish we catch don't look good enuff to eat, i'd eat some if the water was cleaner? i have takin a few fish in the past but it's been along time, i really don't opose keeping tho`,
i think i will try to plan a trip yearly to the high country were the water is crystal clear and the trout are wild(er) maybe eat a few!
 
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I will keep some small ones but all the big ones (4lbers and up) will be released. Love to see my daughter hang on one that she doesn't know what to do with. Brings back memories when I was young and my stepdad took me fishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
All my life I've heard folks say they don't like the taste of largemouths or smallies. I can respect taste preferences, as well as personal feelings about eating flesh, wild or farmed. I can understand why some just don't care for fish in general, and understand why a lot of bassers just refuse to eat a fish that gives them so much joy in fishing.

It's easy to agree a bass caught in murky water that has a bitter taste from certain vegetation, oils, pollutants, etc, does in fact taint any fish caught in "bad" water. I caught a lot in Louisiana bayous that tasted just like hydrilla or mud. However, if the water has a neutral or sweet taste, the bass taste is always excellent. Many prefer panfish which have very little fat compared to bass, and since the panfish diet tends to be mostly non-pelagic, they do have a clean taste unsurpassed by most any other fish. But many times we've put out fish of many species, and except for catfish few folks can guess correctly whether they are eating crappie strips, bass strips, walleye, etc., unless taking an entire serving out of one labeled bowl. One day I hope we'll have a get-together within reasonable reach for me where I'll demonstrate this. The fish species label would be under each bowl, with members voting on which is their favorite before knowing which is which.

I've served up fried bass fillets and steaks for 5 decades, though, and if taken from clean water, not one guest has declined to eat a second serving. All (unless already bass fans) have expressed incredulity the fish was actually bass and not crappie. I've contributed many hundreds of pounds of bass to group fry events like at church, and all those (except children) that are fish eaters have left no leftovers. I can't begin to guess how many folks tried fried fish for the first time were converted to bass fillet fans, and often we regretted not having enough fish to please the crowds. If handled right, cooked right, and served hot, my bass offerings have been sweet and delicate to the taste. A secret is never to fry a whole fillet if it's over about one inch thick. Thicker fillets tend to be chunky and can fry up a bit chewy. I strip fatter fillets out into finger steaks, cutting strips out across the grain. Another is to fry it quickly in hot 350F clean oil that has no inherent taste, like peanut oil, or my current favorite, Smart Balance oil. Frying until a piece floats easily results in overcooking, severe drying out, toughness, and taking on a less than desired taste. The flakes must be moist when served. If the overcooked flesh resembles cornbread it is discarded as unfit to eat. No amount of catsup can fix that, and those pieces can lead to choking.

That said, I hope someday most bassers will C&R for reasons science can support rather than continmue to risk fishery management to too much emotional judgment. In northern waters where growth is slower it is in fact often a best policy to release all bass. But we have many bass regions, growth rates, natural mortality causes, chemical kills, and factors like total species and size-class distribution that determine how well bass recruit and grow to mature sizes. Some of our Arkansas lakes and ponds have so many small bass and too many crappie so that maybe we'll never see a single bass grow over 3 pounds in many such places, there being way too many fish and too little forage. Some lakes have way too many large bass that are forced to consume bass fry up through juveniles, preventing recruitment. We have way too many private bass waters now where C&R was required by owners for too many years, where now the bass won't go for any artificial lure, having become virtual pets that require expensive feedings of minnows.

Where I mostly fish C&R isn't being talked at all by lake managers. Rather, they are becoming more concerned anglers are doing less each year to help manage fish populations by releasing too many fish that need to be removed. Over the years I've taken part in fish kills, after managers gave up on counting on anglers to thin populations. We've rarely had complaint about calls to remove more crappie, which if left mismanaged can ruin a bass fishery. It's a terrible sight to witness hundreds of floating trophy bass mixed with other fine fish, the end result of a neglected fishery. But sometimes it takes such extreme measures to correct bass age class distributions. It's a simple fact any fishery must retain a healthy range of all age classes to produce trophy bass. I realize some trophy lakes have produced well without removal of mature bass, but eventually an ignoring of nature carries a large price in any ecosystem. You either end up spending a lot of money on feeding them, or you do the right things at least occasionally. I am not one to get excited over trophy bass impoundments that are really not much different from commercial fish farms that also require forage interventions on a regular basis. That isn't to say there are no long-term successful trophy bass lakes that require little intervention, but I've found those lakes have special characteristics that afford such success.

In Lake Ouachita, for instance, C&R policies have so far only applied in tournaments, never once promoted or even suggested by State managers. The lake produces a lot of large bass. Population-wise, we have as many mature bass there as were present in the 60's when it was very common for most anglers to show off large stringers consistently. The big difference now is we have about 50 times more anglers going after those fish, and host nearly 200 bass tournaments a year, from Thursday nighters to FLW Championships (2 so far). Our large bass have now become much harder to locate and catch. That parallels our deer situation. We have more deer (a million) in the state than ever, but now have a few hundred thousands hunters going after them. I have two B&C bucks feeding through my yard daily, in broad daylight with cars passing every few minutes, along with massive wild turkeys, but come gun season most people will swear there are no trophy bucks. They'll be "gone". The reason is simple. When the pressure is on the "knowing" deer move at night instead, sleeping/hiding by day, deep into impenetrable thickets, hard to find. Most any kind of mature game animal will adjust to extend their life span, including large mature bass.

When I began bassing on Lake Ouachita it was unthinkable to fish deep for trophy bass. We caught all we cared to mess with in shallow water. But now, except during the spawn, the big ones are rarely seen shallow like in the old days, and catching them there is becoming ever more difficult. That drove some of us to go places we didn't know how to fish, forced to learn, or settle for dinks. I hated fishing deep until I realized it was necessary if wanting to handle large bass consistently. Nothing anglers have done changed any of that except to condition bass to avoid anglers. C&R won't help the situation, there being no reason for it, as we have a wealth of mature bass already, always have. Nobody will catch a big bass here that was released earlier to be caught again without adjusting to conditions, chiefly fishing pressure responses by bass. The people doing the most complaining are the majority who insist on decades-old habits of only fishing "shallow". The bass have simply changed habits.

There isn't a shred of evidence C&R would improve anything here, but there's plenty of facts supporting size class management, harvest of size classes that take up too large a share of the total population, and protection of size classes diminished by poor recruitment years, among many other management issues. Given the estimates of numbers of trophy bass available, compared to those removed for food or mounting, there are too many left to die of old age or other causes without ever being caught, plenty left for a skilled trophy angler to catch. The problem has been and will continue to be the vast majority of trophy bass are out of reach of the typical angler, no less than monster buck deer will move out of reach of typical deer hunters.

I'm just trying to encourage bassers to support C&R (and of course managed harvest) for the long term best reasons rather than go by emotion or other reasons for which there is no proof C&R actually helps manage a lake.

One last issue I wanted to bring out before closing is a current trend among "tree huggers" around here that oppose fishing for sport. I fully expect to see the billboards spring up yet again around election time, showing "dad" with a wild grin torturing some animal on the end of a line "just for the fun of it". One billboard ad shows dad hooking the family pet with a bloody hook, presumably practicing for the next fishing trip. The caption read "Would you think THIS is a healthy family outing?" Their emphasis is on inflicting pain on animals for the fun of hooking them. In an effort to win more converts the groups have been saying they have no opposition to a person fishing for healthy food, taking only what they need. Lots of college-aged youth are joining their ranks, swelling to member numbers and cash resources ever increasingly needed to end sport fishing and hunting for the next few generations. Whether we agree over their misgivings or not, they are a growing threat, appalled by anglers saying they catch fish strictly for the fun of catching, inflicting unnecessary pain on helpless animals. In order to stop that many of them believe it will require ending all fishing and hunting. None of them are buying our claims that bass feel no pain. People laugh when I try to defend that apparently scientifically sound fact. It's better to avoid not mentioning it in those crowds.

Regardless of how convinced a person is about the values of fishing for fun, catching and releasing fish with no use of them for the family table, I strongly recommend not feeding the typical self-proclaimed "environmentalist" steam rollers with words that just inflame them. They will spend as much or more money fighting hunting and fishing rights as we do on our sport. I think they spend much more than we do, stuffing their club bank accounts with untold billions to be used against us. If they unleash all that hatred and wealth at once I doubt all the anglers and shooters in America combined could compete against their loud cries our legislators are listening to. Those people vote. Fishermen seem not to on a regular basis, taking off on election day to fish instead. A few years ago there was a brazen attempt to outlaw all fishing and hunting in Garland County, a measure that failed by about 100 votes out of about 3,000 cast. I never did find an angler that even knew the issue was up for a vote, much less voted.

Take care to know what might be lurking on your local ballots this year!

Jim
 

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The area I live in has a size limit on large and small mouth bass. Which is 16 inches. We mostly catch under 16 on a regular basis around here. Although there are times when the big ones come out and play. Even though I can keep them. I still release them. Since we don't have many bass holes around here. I want to do my part to see them again. And again. And so on. To insure they will be around for a long time to come. I've only heard of one person that kept a nice one. So he could eat it. Which is up to him. And I have seen on the weekend that the DOW lets anyone fish without a license. There was one family that kept everything. No matter what size it was. What a shame. And I did have to say something about it. And got cussed out for it. By the time I got back to my cell phone to call someone about this matter. They had packed up and left real fast. To me even if there wasn't a size limit. I would still release them. They are way to much fun to catch. Over, And over again. And I know I have caught them before. When we used to put a nick on one of the fins. So we knew that we had caught them before. In the smaller ponds.
 

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I release all bass...the only fish I ever keep any of is the odd walleye or panfish ( if we've caught enough to make a meal ). I had multiple times this year we had 2 or 3 in the well and ended up letting them go because we hadn't caught enough to make it worth while dragging them home and cleaning them.

Keep a tight line and take a kid fishing!! :shadrap_ft:
 

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I have always kept bass that are injured or bleeding as a result of hook wounds and being caught deeper than 40 feet.
With the economy going south, more and more healthy bass in the 2 lb range may also be going home for dinner. The cost of gasoline to go fishing, plus the increased prices for fresh fish will have an impact on catch and release ratios.
Tom
 

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Not trying to start any crap, but some people voted to release all for ethics. Since when is it unethical to keep a legal fish in your home state?
 

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I voted conscience, ethics, etc. because it is all one catagory. I do not fish with live bait because I don't to injure or kill bait to catch a fish that I am going to release anyway. Besides, often with live bait the fish gets hooked too deep to release. It is not unethical in my opinion, if a fish is legally caught and of legal size and the angler wants to keep it to eat.
Gary
 

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I keep alot of the bass I catch because I am disabled due to lung cancer and a meal is a meal. I have four children who all eat fish. One of the few meals they ALL agree on. As much as I spend on fishing I gotta justify it somehow and eating works for me.
 

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I release the Bass and most other fish,the only time I have kept fish (Toothie critters) is when my friends mom wants some for her supper. I then will give him, Tom (Canepole) one or two other wise we just release our fish. Now I will keep Salmon if I am Salmon fishing as I do like the taste of Salmon.Lou
 

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I voted Always release for preservation reasons. I have never caught a giant bass, and since this is in the bass topic I only took bass into consideration. I release all bass because I don't think they taste as good as crappie and bluegill. So if I am after a meal I will fish for crappie mostly.

Bass is strictly a game fish and I do it for sport and to keep the sport enjoyable in the future I always release.

Now for Crappie, Monday and Tuesday I went out and prolly caught over 4 dozen crappie, only kept 6 of them though because 12 filets are enough for my Fiance and I.
 
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