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MuskyRookie

Catch & Release clowns!

68 posts in this topic

Although I didn't have luck on Tonka Sunday morning hunting for skis, it was nice to at least observe a boat near Spirit Island land a nice musky. I circled their boat to watch and I was treated to one of the worst catch and releases of a musky I have ever seen. The 2 guys in a black Lund had no clue what they were doing. From the minute the fish was netted, to the time it was released approximately 7-8 minutes later, the fish was out of the water the entire time. Once it was in the net, the net was left hanging over the side of the boat to presumably keep the fish in the water. The only problem was the fish was vertical in the net and only the tail was in the lake.

There obviously was no sense of urgency displayed by either of these rocket scientists. They spent forever unhooking it in the net and not once did the fish get to breathe under water. Then came time for pics and I remember thinking the fish still may have a chance for survival if they did a quick photo and got it back in the lake. After the net man took the photo, they 2 knuckleheads decided to switch places for another photo opportunity.

After they gave each other high fives, the torture finally stopped and it was released. I saw them prodding it with the net to revive it in the water and although I didn't see if floating afterwards, I am sure the long term survival of the fish is doubtful.

I was going crazy watching these guys but couldn't get close enough to get their boat license. Now I fish alone quite often and know how hard it is to make a safe catch and release without a partner. But with the details of how to do this successfully so readily available, I have been able to make several on my own without harming the fish. With 2 musky guys in the boat, there is no reason they could not have done the same if not better.

I considered giving them my opinion of their lack of expertise but with my young son in the boat with me, I didn't want to risk confronting them and hearing them spout off back to me. I would love to hear other's opinions as to what else I could have done. Would the DNR be able to do anything if I had called the TIP line? What would other musky FM'ers have done?

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With the gear they were throwing with and the musky net used, I would say most definitely!

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Two things:

1) Not my black Lund, I was on Gull Lake. wink

2) Even the catfish forum guys got into a good discussion about C&R, here's a quote from there that stuck with me and I think is the best approach.... "Maybe it comes down to this: The best way to influence a stranger (In anything, not just C&R) is to first convert them from a stranger into a friend and then lead by example."

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Frustrating, first I think I would have gone over and offered to help, or at least shouted some tips over to them.

I don't know if TIP would have been helpful, your complaint would be essentially that they took a long time to release a fish, not that they were poaching.

I'm not trying to cut you down or anything, just my opinion.

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Geesh. Tough call. With a kid in the boat it's tough to say how they would react. What I would if I was involved in witnessing is maybe approach the boat and ask if they needed help releasing. Making small comments that would indicate urgency is a good idea..."You guys need a hand so we can get her back alive?" etc. Some indication of a prompt and timely release. This is what I would hope I'd do if the situation arose. I'm fairly non-confrontational so it's easier said than done but that amount of time out of the water just grinds my gears. A lot of times people just need a little education. With the little guy in the boat hopefully they would have accepted the info. without getting even more absurd.

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This is a “hot button” issue that is a very tough one. On one hand you want to see the fish survive, especially if the intention is to release it anyways. On the other hand, you are not going to make many friends by hovering over a boat telling them what to do.

In the end, my opinion is you can only hope that the proper handling message can be spread by:

1. Example

2. Friendliness

3. Respect (it's possible they were indeed clowns, but I would first check for the red nose and big feet)

4. Media outlets such as these forums or maybe TV programs and seminars.

The Golden Rule is a good one wink

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i say if they really didn't care about the fish they'd have kept it. fancy boats and big nets doesn't mean they catch alot of fish, i feel your frustration and it's tough to know what to say to open rapport with other boats on the water.

i guess i'd have cruised up and asked the guys if they wanted help, maybe a friendly suggestion to keep the fishes head in the water. i've witnessed this on other lakes and i felt bad for not at least cruising up and trying to help in the past. if they tell you pi$$ off then at least you tried. they'll learn eventually.

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Yea that must have been brutal to watch. The -trade the fish and both get a picture- move kills me, I actually saw a pair do this with a upper 20s walleye on Pool 4 the kid in the boat caught, dad got a photo, the other guy got a photo and the kid didn't! After a few minutes the fish went back belly up.

As much as you want to shake your fist at them and yell "WHAT THE (blank) IS WRONG WITH YOU" it's probably not going to get you anywhere.

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I would give these fishermen the benefit of the doubt. I remember my first musky was handled very poorly. Keep in mind that these people might not be properly educated on catching and releasing muskies (which was true in my case). Plus, we all know what happens when we catch a huge fish, our heart starts thumpin', the blood pressure goes through the roof, and sometimes people just don't think and react as they ought to under those "big fish" circumstances.

I suggest to be patient if you see someone mis-handling a big fish situation...be helpful and try to educate rather than criticize, because you just don't know where fishermen are at in terms of what they know or how they react under certain situations. To be honest there are some real idiots out there that don't give a rip about the fish, but there are others too that are willing to learn from others too. Remember that even with the best intentions things don't always go as planned.

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I too expierenced this myself a couple years ago when I caught my first big tiger muskie. I didn't know how to handle it. I was gilling it while trying to hold for a picture and then accidently dropped it in the water when I was trying to measure it. It nose dived out of sight into the water. I felt awful while my brother was screaming how stupid i was. I quickly learn from then on how to handle and respect those big fish!! Hopefully they learned from their mistake like I did.

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Yeah, I am like you and it drives me crazy to see any fish mishandled. You could have gone up to them gave them a congrats asked how big, etc. Told them its good you have a big net and all but next time give the fish some breathing time explain how much care those big fish need for survival. Give them some props and be friendly with your pointers. If they do care about they will listen.

I work a fishing department and whats as hard as watching a mishandled fish is watching people go out unprepared for these fish. They want to fish 'skis and I help them get ready and tell them the net is one of the most important aspects of muskie fishing and explain to them how use it properly and they blow me off when they see the price or buy some mickey mouse joke of a net.

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got to give them the benifit of doubt, at least they were trying to release it. have seen many trophy eyes and skis fall to the knife or end up on a wall. hopefully they will read this, or watch bob on tv. regardless, good post now many others will possibly think about their next big release.

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I don't know about you guys but once the fish is in my hands I have about a 20 second internal timer and if it goes off, I feel like I did a bad job. The fish doesn't come out of the net untill the camera is turned on and the bump board is in a good spot to be used (if I'm using it). 1 or two pics and a quick measurement and she's back in the water. It's not that hard!! When you work on a fish in the net it's not hard to keep the fish wet.

I have always thought that there could be more published on proper handling methods. We stress CPR so much but people are going to have different perceptions of what is the proper way to handle a fish. 7 or 8 minutes is very troubling.

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This spring there was a 2 issue feature on how to handle the release and how to be prepared for the catch and release. Good stuff, I think it was John Underhill that worte it if I recall.

Turgeon has a release article on the Star Trubune blog as well, good read and a good refresher for all.

Release Article

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I have always thought that there could be more published on proper handling methods. We stress CPR so much but people are going to have different perceptions of what is the proper way to handle a fish. 7 or 8 minutes is very troubling.

Once I really wanted to get going into it I watched I don't know how many videos either via u tube or whatever, really really watched, that said I don't have a good success rate so haven't been able to put it to practice

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I probably would have said something... I have been on both ends of the spectrum... the guy getting yelled at. (Actually it was my partner) And I have done some yelling... When I was the boat getting yelled at it was because my buddy wanted a measurement on a high 30s fish and he had the thing floppin around in back the boat.... They were yelling because it was too long... I agreed... Then he insisted on a picture... fine his first muskie... but he held it vertically... which Ive heard thats bad for the fish... (Now its a huge no no in my boat) when all was said and done he just slid it over the side of the boat and let go no revival time... (darted away 10 seconds later) they started yelling/talking about that... Honestly they approached it aggressively, but yet was still constructive... rather then B*tching us out. And I didnt take it personally... and my buddy learned something about C&R...

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here's the sad truth frown. this (below my writing) is directly from the MN DNR site. maybe it's just me but i think this is about a million miles short of what it could say. but this is all i could find when i searched for something to print so i could hand them to people i see doing what has been described. after handing it to them i add a few things to try and drive the point home nicely. those two in the lund would have gotten this sheet and would have also learned they probably gave that fish they released a stroke from lack of oxygen and if it survived it will be stunted for life. and like others i've talked to, i answer anything they ask the best i can., even how to get the next one. don't know if it works but not doing anything won't either.

i've written and talked to the DNR to supply better/more in depth info but they just say we'll see. maybe if we all join in writing them we can get more than what's here. and really, it's not even that good of info IMHO. but somethings better than nothing. if anyone knows of more info on their site i'm all ears.

here it is

Muskellunge catch & release

Careful handling makes catch-and-release work.

A big muskie is an old muskie. Females require 14 to 17 years to reach 30 pounds. Northern pike grow even more slowly. Once taken out of the water and hung on a wall or carved into fillets, a trophy is not soon replaced by another fish of its size. So, the key to creating trophy northern pike and muskie fishing is catch-and-release angling. Unfortunately, some fish are mortally injured by improper handling and cannot be successfully released.

All northern pike and muskie are difficult to handle because of their slippery hides, lack of good handles and sharp teeth. Big fish are particularly troublesome because of their great size and power.

The first step to successfully releasing fish is to use artificials rather than live bait. The second step is to keep the fish in the water if at all possible.

Caught on artificials and handled carefully, nearly all fish can be returned with no permanent injury. Here are some effective methods, courtesy of Muskie Canada, for handling large northern pike and muskie:

Hand release. Grip the fish over the back, right behind the gills (never by the eye sockets!) and hold it without squeezing it. With the other hand, use a pliers to remove the hooks, while leaving all but the head of the ;fish in the water. Sometimes hooks can be removed with the pliers only; the fish need never be touched.

Landing net. Hooks can be removed from some fish even as they remain in the net in the water. If that's not possible, lift the fish aboard and remove the hooks while the fish is held behind the head and around the tail. To better restrain large fish, stretch a piece of cloth or plastic over the fish and pin it down as if it were in a straight jacket.

Stretcher. A stretcher is made of net or porous cloth about 2 to 3 feet wide stretched between two poles. As you draw the fish into the cradle and lift, the fold of the mesh supports and restrains the fish. This method requires two anglers.

Tailer. Developed by Atlantic salmon anglers, a tailer is a handle with a loop at one end that is slipped over the fish's tail and tightened. The fish is thus securely held, though the head must be further restrained before the hooks are removed.

If you must lift a big fish from the water, support as much of its body as possible to avoid injuring its internal organs.

Never grip a fish by the eye sockets if you intend to release it. By doing so you abrade its eyes, injure the surrounding tissue and may cause blindness.

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Common sense in this issue goes a long ways. How would you like to run around your block twice then hold your head underwater? I bet then the 15 second rule would be very nice to have followed. cool

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I have to say that this forum offered up many suggestions not only on proper ways to cpr but just fishing in general. While we never caught any thing much larger than a couple 25 inch northern, one 25.5 walleye and many smaller, knowing that there is a time limit on the crp approach comes with great thanks from us to all of the folks on this board.

I do not know if myself alone or with my son could have handled a large muskie or pike but would have done our best in making sure that it was released in the best condition that i could have possibly allowed. Again that knowledge came to us from the folks on this forum. The thing i always remember as growing up, people especially the "pros" on tv that just throw or flip the fish back in the water. These are folks that need to show the rest of us on the correct technique for cpr.

Again thanks to all of you.

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my own policy right or wrong is if I think the fish is over legal size just grit the teeth and bear it.

If its a fish I feel is under the minimum size I will get a little vocal,,alot of time people will respond with "its my fish relax"

No! its not your fish it belongs to all of us if its sub legal, the good news is we go to 48' minimum next year so people will need to act faster for most muskies.

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We have to understand that not all of us know or get the picture; not because they don't care they just don't understand, we have to assume many new Muskie anglers are coming from genres that speak differently than most of us do, they are dealing with Bass and Eyes just like I was and just don't know the susceptibility of mortality of the larger fish.

I feel this is also why we get or feel crowded a bass and walleye angler has no qualms about fishing 30 feet from another boat, we have to understand and recognize this.

The best thing is to break the ice with a congratulatory remark then talk about the fish and Muskie fishing show them all the tools and talk about the releases that didn't go so well for yourself.

I feel your angst but if they knew better they would probably do much better next time, I have a relative that literally tossed a guy in the lake at the landing for keeping a fish,, trust me that gets you nowhere fast either.

Patience and understanding there are more of us and its growing everyday, we need to keep it all in perspective.

Get there e-mail and send them this Catch and Release it may be a good way of turning the page on a bad experiance

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I know John's release techniques work and work well. If you minimize the time out of the water and make the fight as short as possible even the biggest of muskies ussually swim off in less than a minute. And people fishing muskie waters for bass and even walleye should consider haveing at least a longnosed pliers and a Knippex or small bolt cutter if releasing fish is desiered. Next year it will be very importaint with the 48" min. and it could save you from injury.

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nice work John. maybe send that to the dnr and show them how it's done. it would get a lot more exposer cool

i'm no slouch on the search engine and i didn't find it. who knows, maybe i am.

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