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Saint Paul Dan

Why keep bass?

21 posts in this topic

When I hear people remind others to practice catch and release, I assumed this was the protocol when it comes to bass fishing. Personally, I don't even know the daily limits and regulations associated with any species and I've never considered how many bass you can legally keep in a day. That thought entered my mind for the first time after a few rescent experiences I've had where Largemouth Bass were targeted by anglers who planned to keep their catch. Today was particularly discouraging after witnessing a guy catch a nice size bass (aprox. 18") and then put it directly on a stringer which was full of other quality largemouth. My initial reaction was that he must be breaking the law. Then I realized that catch and release and "selective harvest" is an optional decision that anglers make. In addition, this particular lake was around 100 acres so I figure there can't be an endless supply of lunkers in there.

After catching a tagged bass a few years ago that was about 19", a DNR agent informed me that the fish was around 16 years old. This made me realize how relatively difficult it is for a bass to reach lunker status. I try to be open minded, but I can't find any justification for keeping bass of this size, let alone any bass. I understand that you can't expect everyone to throw everythig back, but I would think that most fishermen would agree that sustaining "lunker genetics" within the gene pool is bennificial.

Now I have a greater appreciation for catch and release and for those who choose to practice C&R!

Dan

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I am C&R only. I don't know the limits either and I don't even care. I am a sportsman who doesn't obey his stomach. It really seems to be a generational thing... my parents (in their 70's) can NOT believe I let a fish go!... "why do you fish then?" they ask. Anyone under 40 can't believe that people keep fish! It's the middle time right now... in another few decades almost no one will keep and eat local fish. It's meat vs. sport is all...

HOWEVER!... I gather that it is good to keep fish at times... helps the overall population.. like hunting overpopulated deer etc... But I wish I knew more about that.. the DNR should let us know more about that.. I am not against killing a fish (and eating it) if it's for the greater good. I LOVE eating fish and am more than willing to do so if it helps. smile

ALSO.. I HATE cleaning fish... so messy... and then the guts stink my garbage can so bad.. I can hardly force myself to keep anything ever now that I remember the STENCH in the past... 5 days in a garbage can in 85 degree weather. I can't imagine what people's houses smell like that keep loads of fish.. what do they do? How is it possible? HOW DO YOU DO IT? Is it really worth that incredible stench for a "free" meal... (although we all know that meal actually cost you around $100+ per Lb with boat, truck, tackle, gas, time, etc)

If I want fish.. I just go to cub and grab some catfish or something. But we only eat fish maybe 6 times a year.. so we aren't even hurting the oceans!

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ALSO.. I HATE cleaning fish... so messy... and then the guts stink my garbage can so bad.. I can hardly force myself to keep anything ever now that I remember the STENCH in the past... 5 days in a garbage can in 85 degree weather. I can't imagine what people's houses smell like that keep loads of fish.. what do they do? How is it possible? HOW DO YOU DO IT? Is it really worth that incredible stench for a "free" meal... (although we all know that meal actually cost you around $100+ per Lb with boat, truck, tackle, gas, time, etc)

I save the plastic grocery bags and use them to put guts in. If garbage pick up isn't for a few days then I freeze the guts and throw them in the garbage that morning. No smell.

As far as eating bass. I release 90% of the bass I catch but I have occasionally kept a few small ones to eat for a shore lunch while camping. I prefer to eat walleye or panfish.

I love to fish for bass but I get kind of tired of some people putting them on a pedestal like they are some sort of sacred fish. Muskie fisherman are the same way.

I think bass are released more often than any other fresh water fish with the exception of Muskies and carp.

Nels

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I have eaten bass that taste just as good as walleye. I dont ever keep more than I would eat in one meal, and that is even rare.

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I'll keep a couple now and then. Mostly the 14-16 inch range and anything that happens to get "gut hooked". I try to avoid that whenever possible but hey, no one is perfect.

As far as the origional post goes if these guys were not breaking the law than there is nothing wrong. I know I opened up a HUGE can of worms here and we all have our opinions but I have faith in the DNR and local enforcement to make a change to a body of water or to the entire regulation if they deem it necessary. There is never going to be a solution that will make everyone happy. I guess that's one of the great things about this country. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

BGB

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Why not??? They taste as good as a walleye if prepared right, but I do agree with you on the whole keeping the lunker thing that is just pointless cause once they reach the 2lb mark they go back reguardless unless they are gut hooked because chances are they are going to die anyways.

And I guess it comes down to this every individual is entitled to keep whatever he/she chooses as long as there not breaking a law while doing so.

I feel sometimes there is way too much negativity towards people that want to keep fish for the table on here.

Thats my 2 cents!!!

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Maybe He was keeping them because he only bets out 1 or 2 times a year and would like to have a fish dinner with his family. I dont agree with keeping large fish to eat either but who knows those may be the only fish he catches or keeps all year. I always thought it was [PoorWordUsage] that someone who catches and releases hundreds or even thousands of fish a year looks down on the guy who gets out once a month or less and keeps a stringer for the table. The guy who fishes almost daily kills more fish from hook mortality than the guy who only gets out a couple times a year and keeps some. And I dont understand the difference between keeping a bass or a walleye or anyother fish as long as the big ones go back whats the difference?

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My 2 cents:

I've watched my childhood bass spot on a small river in Western Wisconsin get ruined by people who kept all the bass they caught. I remember a day 7 or 8 years ago when a friend and I caught 26 bass over two pounds from this spot in one day. Now I'm lucky to catch one. But as an adult, I also realize that I cannot have everything I want and the world doesn't run according to my desires. I wish everyone would C&R bass, but it's their right as a licensed fisherman to keep them.

Rather than complain about people lawfully keeping bass, we should pressure the DNR to lower limits. I personally think panfish limits are going to continue to decrease because of similar pressure coming from people who enjoy catching big panfish.

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Realy???????

Is it every week with this toppic, or just monthly?????

If you want to eat them, eat them. If you dont, dont. It is not that hard.

I personaly dont eat bass, but my parents, my mother particularly, like to eat bass. If I eyeball, gill, or gut hook a 13 or 14 incher, and they are going to die, my folks are eating them. It is what it is.

Do what you want. Dont worry about what the rest of us have to say about it.

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Whatever is best for the fish. I would think (hope) we all share that common ground.

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I have a bass dinner once every few years, and usually it's fishing up on deserted fly-in only lakes in canada.

They can be pretty tasty, but I'm more of a saltwater fish eater. When I get a chance to fish for 'em, salmon always get kept, I've kept a few shark under 10 lbs and those were fantastic eating. Sometimes saltwater catfish will get kept and thrown on a beach fire to be an evening meal while fishing.

Fishing minnesota though, I have never kept any fish to eat. I've never had the occasion for a special meal like that, and never been fishing the right water for it.

I will say though that when I keep bass, it's smallest and largest fish get tossed back, and a few of the plentiful average sized ones are put in the frying pan.

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I do both...when I am up to the camper, I'll keep some for lunch, usually, not a lunker though, because I don't catch too many fish in the first place, and have really never caught what I would consider a lunker. There are people that catch northerns daily, and really mis-handle them, and then c&r them...I don't think that is right either. Have fun and fish, that is what it is all about anyway.

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Northwest Wisconsin has removed the minimum length on some lengths trying to encourage the harvest of bass. They are trying to restore balance to the fishery, but I believe in the wrong manner. The better way is to reduce the northern and walleye exploitation to a more similar rate than bass, not increase the bass exploitation to the levels of walleye and northern. Another lake had a better proposal, they net fish and remove them for restocking other lakes.

The reason deer need to be controlled is the major predators of deer have been removed from the land. With bass the other big predators in the lake are still present, but again are more often exploited than their counterparts. I fished a lake shortly after it had been restored (poisoned a fresh stocking) and the fishing ban was lifted. There was a good balance of bass and northern (no walleye were stocked) and a nice even size distribution. Over the next 2 winters the pike were fished out (there's now a sign with a voluntary restriction on pike harvest), and the bass numbers are more than double, but the northern numbers are down probably 90%.

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Small ones are fine, but gotta let the bigguns go. That goes for whatever species though.

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I noticed that you stated it was a smaller lake. In that case I would agree that you have to let those big ones go. I don't know how deep the lake was, if it gets a lot of winterkill and is restocked then go for it. I work around some smaller lakes, but they are just deep enough to keep some alive throughout the winter. In the past couple years here, the fishing pressure has tripled, and the big ones are disappearing fast. The DNR does restock the lakes, but not with bass. So I encourage people to C&R bass as best they can, otherwise it won't be long that they are all gone.

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I say kill em' all before everyone else does.

Kidding of course. I hate discussing about fishing politics and discussing what is best for our local ecology. We hire and fund the DNR for a reason. Reason being is to protect and regulate our wildlife. These are all bio grads that have many years of bioligical research and studies under their belts. I find it irratating hearing people nag about how they really aren't doing anything better for our lakes and our fishing limits and regulations. You'd think they would do everything in their power to maintain Minnesota to be one of the top freshwater fishing states in America.

The people that do harvest bass or any type of species have the right to keep lawful catches. They do stress its more of a right then a priviledge. Considering we all pay a license fee to fish. The people that do harvest have no intentions of trying to help manage fish populations. They just want to where they are biting and what they are biting on. I'm all for catch and release but I don't think my words are going to change anyones mind. I'll call tip but really thats all I will do.

Someone stated that subject is on the line of meat vs. sport. In which I completely aggree with. I'm sure 95% of the bass fisherman on this forum catch bass for sport. I have never seen a post of whats the best batter to use for a 21" smallie.

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You have to remember that many of the people you see keeping stringer of bass are visitors from out of state where its accepted practise to eat bass.

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HelsLegend that is remarkable accurate. In Wisconsin 95% of bass caught are released. The only fisherman anywhere near that mark are muskie fisherman, who also release 95% of those caught. The numbers decline sharply, only 80% of northerns are released (4x the exploitation) and 70% of walleyes are released (6x the exploitation). Those numbers are skewed though, I'd imagine the numbers would be more dramatic if it were for desirable legal fish (ie not hammerhandle pike or 10 inch walleye).

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I have never seen a post of whats the best batter to use for a 21" smallie.
I use the same batter on my smallies that I use on bald eagles. Shorelunch!!

smile

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I prefer my Timberwolves and bald eagles grilled. They go good with a nice Lynx stew.

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HOWEVER!... I gather that it is good to keep fish at times... helps the overall population.. like hunting overpopulated deer etc... But I wish I knew more about that.. the DNR should let us know more about that.. I am not against killing a fish (and eating it) if it's for the greater good. I LOVE eating fish and am more than willing to do so if it helps. smile

The DNR has a wealth of information about fishing. Go to

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/fisheries/investigational_reports.html and you will find all sorts of articles. They are mostly masters and doctoral level disserations about extensive studies and some are tough to read. But you can learn some things, including realizing that the whole management thing is a lot more complex than most folks think. I know I've gone through a couple and my first reaction is to laugh when I hear about some legislator trying to tell the DNR how to set policy - this stuff ain't politics, it's science and complex science at that.

Here is a link to one about bluegill and bass inter-relationship that may be useful

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/publications/fisheries/investigational_reports/506.pdf

Please write and let us know what you learn from reading the report.

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