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ISA policy adoption


Stan Z
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ISA members should start following this suggestion and our website should start following this procedure.  IF you care about the fish you catch and if you have to take a picture of it and post it so others can see what a smallmouth bass looks like, try to properly handle the fish, don't remove it from the water, don't hold it up by the lower jaw, you are not in the BASS master classic.
 
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Dude, gimmie a break! I care about the fish I catch and release as much as any hard core smallmouth angler out there. I post shots all the time. So I’m one of the bad guys? No matter how high a horse you want to sit on, the fact is, a small percentage of ALL angler’s C&R’d fish are going to die due to stress and delayed mortality. Fact. If you can’t accept that, don’t fish. 
 

This isn’t Trout Unlimited and these aren’t trout. 99% of the time, a released smallmouth gives me a face full of river water as a farewell. 
 

Good on Trout Unlimited for their stance. They can feel good about themselves. Don’t bring their BS here and act like it should be ISA law.

You really think we feel like the Bassmaster’s Classic? No, catching smallmouth close to home is something fun to do solo or with friends to forget about the stressors of this world for a while. A pic is simply sharing the experience with others who might appreciate it. 

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Right on Eric!

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Bass are pretty tough.  If you fish the Fox, you often catch fish that have obviously been caught multiple times by the holes in their jaws.  Trout are different animals and are much more fragile than bass.

That being said, it is important to properly handle fish and try to minimize the impact on bass that you catch.   Personally, I try to minimize the handling of fish and I try to get the fish back in water quickly, especially after a long fight or a difficult hook removal process.  That is the reason why I seldom take photos of fish, especially when I am solo wading.  I wouldn't knock anyone for taking photos of fish as long as they do it quickly and carefully. 

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6 minutes ago, asherman said:

I try to minimize the handling of fish and I try to get the fish back in water quickly, especially after a long fight or a difficult hook removal process.  

Exactly! There’s C&R and there is CPR.  If the C&R doesn’t go as planned, then the CPR doesn’t happen. I do keep the fish in the water until right before the timer goes off and I lift it for the pic and then release. It’s trickier in a kayak but I am working on it. It’s kinda what I call “Practicing ” C&R or CPR. Not that I am doing act of it, just the fact that I am practicing to do it as quickly and safely as I am possible to do.

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This is kind of an odd rule of thumb I use. Don't keep a bass out of water longer than you could hold your own breath.  Bass are very robust here in Illinois this isn't the southern part of their range. Pike are a whole other story. Southern  part of range heat intolerant you must rush from catch to release in summer. If you keep taking photos of a fish and checking you like the photos that is not good. If you set a fish down looking for camera and pliers that is not good. Be prepared, have an efficient system, take a pic or two and check your photos when you get home.

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Good points Joe. I have also, for a quick release, hit the record button and then have taken a snapshot from the video. Sucks though when you forget to kill the recording after the release. I need a bigger battery!

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The very act of fishing/catching causes undue stress to the fish. To fish or not to fish? Where do you draw the line?

A net for sure helps in a kayak or boat. You can land the fish a lot quicker and let it sit in there breathing/resting while you get set up if a pic is wanted.

Use appropriate gear to minimize stress to the fish.  

Barbed or barbless hooks, personal choice. 

Learn how to remove hooks by going through gills for deeper hooked fish.

Learn what a bite feels like to minimize deeper hooked fish.

Learn about your quarry. Trout for sure are a whole different animal and do need to be handled differently.

The list is endless on ways to better CR or CPR,

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Net is okay if you have a good quality heavy rubber Net.  As in a heavy rubber tangle free Net where you wont have a treble entanglement.  Cheap nylon knotted Net is like tossing a fish in barb wire. So what Net used matters.

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11 hours ago, Joe R said:

Net is okay if you have a good quality heavy rubber Net.  As in a heavy rubber tangle free Net where you wont have a treble entanglement.  Cheap nylon knotted Net is like tossing a fish in barb wire. So what Net used matters.

Agreed! I have a heavy rubber one

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I like some of the fish handling tips and comments that stemmed from this discussion.  I feel pretty confident that the ISA leadership will not be implementing a policy similar to TU's for some of the reasons already stated. The main reason is that smallmouth bass are not as fragile as trout. 

We already have some basic policies in place to protect the smallmouth bass which include: encouraging catch and release, discourage pictures of fish laying on ground, don't post specific locations as well as educating on proper catch and release methods. 

I feel our membership does a good job of protecting the resource and being good stewards of the river. We have a good balance of enjoying catch and release smallmouth bass fishing while educating and sharing our experiences through stories and pictures. 

We are very different than bass master classic tournament anglers as we don't pluck bass off of beds, put them in our livewells all day and transport them to the other end of a lake for weigh in. Then pose with our 2 biggest for a hero shot at the end of the day.  That's a topic for a different discussion. 

 

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i smash down the barbs on all my hooks.    but my biggest gripe   is when anglers dont have pliers in arm reach or when they use a towel to hold the fish. perhaps an article on suggested fish handling can written with these ideas posted.

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