The catch and release debate is really starting to kick off; as there are quite a few sceptics out there that think if you catch the fish you should kill the fish even if you don‘t eat it. What a load of Bull Shit.
Due to the climate and changing weather conditions it is having a drastic effect on the life cycle of the various fish in our rivers, lakes and fishing ponds around the world. Also the stupid mentality of some of the fly fishers out there is not helping the matter any.
Every fly fisher; whether they fish for salmon; trout; bonefish or any other sort of fish should if it‘s okay; keep a fish or two if needed for the dinner table, then carry out catch and release.
If the art of catch and release is carried out properly it will help the fish to recover and to fight another day, only next time it will be bigger, heavier and a lot wiser so will give the fly fisher extra sport the next time it is caught. In addition it can hopefully replenish the rivers etc with their offspring and help the build up of more native fish and maintain the ecosystem.
I have been to quite a few fly fishing competitions whereby the competitors weigh in their catch and then just dump them in the bin. Like the competitions I run, why not introduce a minimum catch limit, and say 2 or 3 fish then instead of a time bonus, give a bonus of 2lb for each fish caught under catch and release whether it is a 1lb or 10lb fish. Each competitor catches the fish on barbless hooks within the knotless landing net and releases the fish from the net once it has fully recovered; this way there is no handling of the fish to damage the scales thus causing infection and a painful death to the fish.
Each competitor is given a catch and release sheet to sign by either the person next to them on the bank or their boat partner in the competition. To make it fair; I always mix the partnerships up in the boats so that hopefully no two people who know each other are paired up.
Catch and release can be a double edged sword whereby it helps the fisheries in managing the various fishing locations to save on their overheads by not having to restock on a regular basis, but it also has a detrimental effect on the income of the companies providing the stocked fish, the less they provide the fisheries the less money they make..
What do you say on this matter, why not add your comments to this post and let your thoughts be known to other fly fishers.