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mdmaynard

Catch & Release Vs. Keep and eat

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I by no means want to make enemy's here, nor am I trying to stir up controversy, I bring this up seeking sincere understanding.

I am relatively new to fishing -somewhat. I remember as a young child my dad was laid off a lot and I do remember fishing some as a child with my dad and keeping what we caught for food.  Even the neighbor would bring 10 - 20 fish a weekend for us to clean and put in freezer for food.

Fast forward to present, the first few fish I caught I kept, until I made a post hear showing one of the biggest ones my wife caught and we kept to eat.  There were some post saying I should release and not keep to eat.  I just about felt guilty and almost decided to forget this forum/group.

I now release all we catch but I still wonder what harm there is in keeping a few here and there for food.  I love the taste of a well cooked and prepared bass.

I personally see no harm, but say it does offend others when bass are kept and eaten and someone wants to encourage others to catch and release, there is a tactful way of doing this without making anyone feel bad especially if they were not aware of the catch and release philosophy?

I was one such person, I never heard of catch and release until looking for info on the internet about bass fishing and I came across this forum.

I just hate how some posts sound almost hateful, maybe it is just me, but I think there is way to introduce those that are unaware of catch and release and still come across as friendly - just my opinion.

By the way I am so glad I stuck around a wealth of information and great people and fun humor along the way... you get it all here and I love it.  

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There isn't any harm in that at all friend regardless of what you hear.

Our friends at In Fisherman who are the most conservation minded fishing organization that I have ever come across speak regularly to the notion of "selective harvest" which means taking the 1-2 lb bass out of the fishery and allowing the other fish a chance to grow. You'll never catch them all so the fishery is not at any level of risk by doing that.

On a seperate note, not sure if you are a believer in God or in Jesus Christ but if you are then you'd know and agree with the fact that God gave man "rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth". Genesis 1:26

So there is that angle too to quantify your eating some bass. Not a bad thing to refer to if you are a person of faith as am I.

Deer management organizations take selective harvest very seriously so they can grow trophy bucks and doe and not have massive starvation and malnourishment issues among the population. It is what it is, and it's OK. Eat a few and enjoy them.

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I practice both methods.  My wife does not eat fish, so I don't need to keep a lot for me.  Harvesting bass can actually help the bass population in a lake, as long as they are not over harvested.  

That being said, I would not keep anything of great size.  I keep bass that are between 1.5 and 2 pounds.  Perfect size for a dinner or a nice fish sandwich.  Anything over 2 pounds goes back in to be caught another day.  And I do not keep everything under 2 pounds.  Just one every once in a while when I am in the mood for fish

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You will run into some people that think it is NEVER ok to keep a fish.  

While keeping the larger fish could potentially hurt your fishery, as long as you are within the law...no one can say a thing to you about it.  I'm sure you are well aware that the smaller fish (legal size and just above) will taste better than an old cow bass.

I practice catch and release for a few reasons.  The first is conservation.  I realize that some fish must be harvested in order to maintain an appropriate ratio of number of bass for the habitat, but I will just waste them and there are enough others around here that will keep them.  

The second reason is that I dont care for the taste of bass.  While I am sure they can be prepared to make a fantastic meal, I prefer to eat panfish or sea-caught fish.

Third reason is...well, honestly cleaning fish is a PITA to me.

I think people, especially new posters, get some grief because they show pictures of themselves holding large bass somewhere in their kitchen or a place obviously well away from the water.  Like I said before, if you caught the fish lawfully, there isnt much anyone can say about you keeping the fish.  Posting pictures of a big bass, dead in the kitchen, will seem offensive to the membership here.

My advice (not worth a whole bunch)....Take a pic of the fish at the lake, tell people what you caught it on, mabybe even where you caught it.  Just take a picture of a healthy, live fish and leave it at that.

Wayne

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I keep cat and crappie only.  I can't stand the taste of bass.

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ahhh.... learn something new everyday :-)

So it is not so much the fact of keeping it is keeping the big ones that offends some here, I can see and understand that now - thanks.

I have to agree cleaning the fish is a pain but for us it is worth it because we love the taste.

I also have to agree the larger fish do not taste as good as the smaller.

I do not mind practicing catch and release at all, actually enjoy it.  I was just unaware of the practice until now.

Sure I will probably keep a few here and there but now that I understand more, it will be just the smaller ones.  The large ones will be turned back loose.

My advice (not worth a whole bunch)....Take a pic of the fish at the lake, tell people what you caught it on, mabybe even where you caught it.  Just take a picture of a healthy, live fish and leave it at that.
 I have to agree with this advice.

thanks for the input thus far, I am starting to understand it more, I hope other "newbies" will as well....

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Great thread, nice tone and

excellent advice!

8-)

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I release all unless a buddy wants one.  I don't eat fish just enjoy the sport

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Glad to see a good tone and some tolerance. I never keep fish because I don't like cleaning them I do eat bass and have a great recipie.

We all have to share the water and the fish. A lot of big fish hunters and tourny guys don't keep fiush because the big fish represent thier potential to win, or catch the bigger fish

I see nothing wrong if a licenced fisherman keeps fish for the pan within the legal bag limits of the waters he is fishing. It is as ethical as hunting for food. In many cases it will help a body of water to do this.

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Glad to see a good tone and some tolerance. I never keep fish because I don't like cleaning them I do eat bass and have a great recipie.

We all have to share the water and the fish. A lot of big fish hunters and tourny guys don't keep fiush because the big fish represent thier potential to win, or catch the bigger fish

I see nothing wrong if a licenced fisherman keeps fish for the pan within the legal bag limits of the waters he is fishing. It is as ethical as hunting for food. In many cases it will help a body of water to do this.

Dont feel bad if you want to keep a fish. There is always going to be someone around with a negative comment but for the most part this forum is awesome and the anglers are extremely helpful, even when I have a somewhat dumb question. On another note, wanna share that recipe? I dont keep bass because of their somewhat "earthy" taste but if you have a good recipe, well, I might just give it a second chance. I understand if its a secret recipe! Thanks

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Back in the 50s and 60s you went fishing to catch fish to eat!

Now the emphasis seems to be on the SPORT so the encouraged norm is to realease as much as you can. This can be not so good though. If you harvest the 1-2 pounders in a lake it will help out the trophy size bass. Now the issue comes into play as to what you do when you catch a trophy size fish. There was a time when many were kept for mounting. Now a days a good picture and maybe a repro fish will suffice. I always give the big ones back to the lake to have another chance and catching again and to keep the gene pool strong.

I have found that most of the people I see fishing who keep everything they catch for food are outside the realm of "sport" fisherman and really don't practice ANY sort of conservation or good fishing practice anyway. I don't let them spoil my day. They usually only catch smaller fish anyway and this helps out.

My brother lives on a 50 acre lake. The lake management company that monitors the lake sends out a notice telling them to please keep or just throw up on the bank certain size fish in order to maintain a healthy environment for the larger fish, so there is something to harvesting for food.

I see nothing wrong with keeping a few "eating size" fish. I don't know about taking 50 or 60 crappie or bream at a time. You should just take enough for a good meal.

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Here's my take.

If I want to eat fish , I 'll either buy it at the market or go to a resturant.

If I'm catching smaller bass I will give them to someone if they want them.

I would never keep a bass or give it to anyone if it were 3 lbs. and over.

If you eat bass , so be it but I hope you would consider throwing the larger ones back.

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I don't keep bass unless they are a casualty of fishing (bleeding gill, damaged organs, etc.). That being said I would never look down upon someone who was keeping a few fish to eat as long as they throw the big ones back. Some people tend to get real gung-ho about c and r but we need people who keep some smaller bass because it allows other bass to get bigger and it stops the lake from becoming a dink-factory.

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You can reduce or eliminate the "earthy" or pond taste from fresh water fish by soaking fillets overnight in milk in the refrigerator....some people use buttermilk for catfish....

sounds weird but it works...supposedly in addition to removing the earthiness it helps to leech out some of the impurities and heavy metal traces....but that part could be urban legend...

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A lot of the lakes here in Texas are overloaded with smaller fish. Parks and wildlife are trying new ideas to get more fishermen to keep the smaller fish. A lot of our lakes need to be culled down so the larger fish have more to eat. They are requesting that we keep a five fish limit under 12" on some of the lakes. I for one never do, but I think it helps keep the population in line.

A lot of people on this site are very quick to chastize someone that keeps fish. If it is legally caught you have every right to dispose of the fish in the frying pan.

Lake Nacogdoches here in East Texas is a perfect example. It has produced a lot of very large fish. The wildlife department has changed the regulations begining Sept 1 from a 14-21" slot to a 16-24" slot and requesting that as many as possible keep a limit under the 16". One over the 24" can can be kept for weighing to see if it qualifies for the state Share-A-Lunker program(Over 13 lbs.) and if not must be released back into the lake. This lake is absolutely covered up with smaller fish.

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I don 't keep fish on a regular basis, if it bleeds and dies I ain 't gonna leave it to the turtles, you want to keep your fish ? no problem ! as long as you keep your limit and the fish are of legal size, it 's your priviledge.

I don 't keep fish over three pounds, bass here in my neck of the woods get obese over three pounds, lots and lots of fat everywhere and the meat is too "fishy" tasting for my taste, with a 2-3 pounder you get a couple of nice fillets. 1-2 pounders are great simply fried on a pan, less than a pound it 's a no-no, not only it 's illegal to keep them, there ain 't much meat either.

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I am also glad to see this on a Bass forum. I love fish Bass, Crappie, and large Gills especially. I know a public lake that is stocked with large hybrid and longear panfish. The limit is 30 over 8 inches and you can catch way more than that when they are hitting. I fill my freezer with these guys a lot.

I take some bass and it depends on where I am and how often it is fished and other things. I mostly bank fish on smaller lakes and ponds most of these areas are overwhelmed with dinks. Truly they get fished mostly by local kids with a worm and a bobber. 1 in particular is filled with 10-16 inch bass. Overpolpulated really. I keep some out of this pond when I want some meat. I have relocated some also. I moved a couple of 4-5 pounders to another pond that was recently built behind my house. I put them in a cooler got a pic and brought them home to a new stable. This pond is fairly new and was stocked with some small fry size fish.

Also I fish some very remote rugged coal mine strip pits down in central southwest Missouri. These areas are never fished. You literally have to machete your way into some of these. I do keep fish all the time out of these as there is no one fishing them. The ones by the road get some pressure but any that recquire a hike get ignored.

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You can reduce or eliminate the "earthy" or pond taste from fresh water fish by soaking fillets overnight in milk in the refrigerator....some people use buttermilk for catfish....

sounds weird but it works...supposedly in addition to removing the earthiness it helps to leech out some of the impurities and heavy metal traces....but that part could be urban legend...

Someone else just gave me the same advise about using milk to get rid of the earthy taste. Thanks Dallas & Muddy! I might have to try that with Peacock bass too!

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You can reduce or eliminate the "earthy" or pond taste from fresh water fish by soaking fillets overnight in milk in the refrigerator....some people use buttermilk for catfish....

sounds weird but it works...supposedly in addition to removing the earthiness it helps to leech out some of the impurities and heavy metal traces....but that part could be urban legend...

I read in a recent Cooks magazine that the taste was from certain types of Algae and was very common in pond raised fish. They said Tillapia and catfish were especially prone to this. Buttermilk supposedly contains proteins that help to break the organics down.

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It is interesting that when I go grouper fishing anything at the legal limit I'm taking home to eat, but for bass I am releasing everything.

I guess it just seems like bass have a lot more obstacles stacked up against them with the development of lakes.  Also I've tasted it once and I just don't enjoy the fresh water taste.

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If you use fishing to supplement the food you feed your family, or just like the taste of LMB (which I do not...) don't let anyone "shame" you into catch and release. I would say to make sure you have a vailid fishing license (which I am sure you do), obey your local limit and size regulations, and keep just what you know you will eat. There are enough catch and release guys, (I'm one of them) to keep the population numbers where they belong. I also feel that people who keep the proper size bass to eat are part of the conservation chain.

Bon appetit!!!!

ajr

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Nothing wrong with keeping a few.

The people I absolutely detest are the ones that have no concept whatsoever of catch and release and would take a 5lb+home in a heartbeat.

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If bass waters get to overpopulated with bass then the bigs one dont get as big.  Too much competition for food.  So it is actually good to take a couple 12 inchers home so them 3 pounders dont have so much competition for forage and next year will be even bigger.  I do think however anything bigger then say 3 pounds should remain in the water to let it get bigger.  But you caught it so its your fish you can do whatever you please.  For the sport tho the big ones should be left alone.  ;D

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FWIW I release all of the larger ones, due more to fear of mercury levels than anything.  I have no problems keeping fish to consume, but I personally eat trout, crappie and cats, not real fond of  bass, smallies although are better than lmb.  If I were regularly consuming fish from any body of water I would keep tabs with the local game and fish people as they monitor the water quality of the water.  Most fishing regulation have warnings on the amount of fish consumed.  I live in WV and am fortunate to have clean fisheries for the most part, but I wouldn't eat anything from the kanawha, or ohio river.  Good luck and good eating, fish are a great food.

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