Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RochesterBasser

Dying Catch-and Released Fish?

Recommended Posts

Hey everybody -

I was watching a local (MI) fishing show a couple days ago and they were catching musky in Lake St Clair.  The charter guy who was taking them out said that a lot of the musky that people release after catching them(he said about half of them) die because they fight real hard and lose all of their energy.  Then it made me think, are bass the same way?  If you play with the fish before you get him out of the water, could he be too tired out to survive after you let him go?  Is it better to horse him in the boat and release him?  I just hope that the couple of bass that I've caught aren't on the bank being eatten by flies.  :'(

Colin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Catch and release of a Muskellunge is a whole different animal altogether. I catch them once in awhile here on my home river in Va. You can't just horse them in and flip them up into the boat, unhook them and then toss them back. Musky require much more attention so I'm not at all surprised that their mortality rates are high after being caught.

As far as bass go I believe that they have a much better chance due to relative ease in the catch and release process. As anglers, all we can do is try and make sure we do our part to handle these little gems with care. As for me, I am much more concerned with the pollution that companies in my state are allowed to dump in our watershed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All other things being equal, the shorter the fight, the better the chances for the bass to survive. Short fights, careful handling and minimum time out of the water are key. But just like the musky, some bass die after they're released, referred to as "delayed mortality."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In-Fisherman has done scientific studies on this exact subject. And fortunately for us, it turns out that Black Bass (Largemouths, Smallies, and Spots) happen to be just about the best candidate for C/R because of there physiology. In other words, fish which do not have a lot of red muscle tissue, do not build up a lot of (.... uh... lactic acid ? ...or maybe I should just say... harmful chemical stuff ;-)) and therefore, can recover much more easily.

On the other hand, fish such as Striped bass or a Muskies, which have the musclature to fight for a long time, will build up a lot of this 'bad stuff' and often will not survive.

In any case, the way I look at it, fighting a fish quickly, handling it as little, and as gently as possibly, and then releasing it as quickly as possible (if your goal is for a successful C/R) will give the fish an infinitely higher chance for long term survival, than it would have, if you hung it on the wall, or put it in a frying pan (of course the latter is okay sometimes too).

Peace,

Fish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting and informative Chris!  I had no idea that fish build up lactic acid like we do...  Learnin something everyday  :)  Thanks!  Now I don't have to worry about my C-R'd fish too much  :D

Colin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris--Lactic acid is right. Here's a quote from a 1997 British report done by a zoologist for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Teleost fish include most common fish:

"When teleost fish are severely stressed and exercised to exhaustion, they make extensive use of their 'white' muscle system. This differs from the red skeletal muscle of higher vertebrates, in that it is anaerobic and, although very efficient in the short term, when exhausted contains a great accumulation of lactic acid during the elimination of which the muscle system remains in prolonged fatigue. A completely exhausted fish will thus be almost unable to move for several hours after capture. During this time it will be at risk to attack by predators or injury from its inanimate environment."

I've had many fish able to move just fine and chipper after I've released them, and many that seemed more stunned. I do C&R as quickly as possible, so it's possible that some fish may already be hurting when I've caught them. And size and appearance doesn't seem to matter. I've released some big fat fish that seem stunned and some scrawny guys go off as frisky as can be.

Norman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lactic Acid is problematic in species such as Muskies and Striped bass.  Livewells are not

able to handle these species. We see this problem all the time with saltwater red drum.

If fish could be placed in a recovery tank after a major fight, they would stand

a much better chance of survival. That is why we encourage anglers that go after the

more delicate species and bigger largemouth bass to have an insulated cooler on their

boat. There is a real need for improved livewell technology, and we are working on that.

Weak and exhausted fish, can become part of the food chain. Even when fish are immediately

released. Both Lactic Acid and the hormone (cortisol), can KILL fish if levels remain high.

Stabilizing the fish prior to release is very critical to survival.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most people who fish muskie leave the fish in the net during hook removal and several minutes after that to let the fish recover, and upon release they hold the tail until the fish can swim away under its own power. Hopefully this helps lower the mortality rate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing poles

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×
×
  • Create New...