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Sorry - I'm full of questions the past couple days. Do you take a picture of every musky you catch? The reason I ask is that I'm thinking of the time spent untangling lures from the net and all the extra time messing around when the end result is another photo. I'm just thinking that some boatside water photos could be just as cool and as long as the fish isn't hooked too badly you could skip the net all-together at times -- or am I just asking for a hook in the arm?

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I don't catch enough to be at the point of no photos yet. haha

Hopefully someday, I guess being a weekend warrior makes it difficult to just release without a picture for some memories.

Now there are always the instances where I have a quick water release, only problem is it's not usually what I intended to have happen.

RU

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I don't take pictures all the time. If it's a real pretty fish or a real nice fish I will take a photo. When I'm in a slump and catch a fish I will also take a photo.

Brian

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I take pics of most over 30". But reading some posts in previous threads I have been seeing some disturbing stuff, Like why would anybody have a fish out of the water for 2 minutes. That's enough time to have a drink and get to know the poor thing. I also don't seem to have as many problems with nets as other people, get a fin saver net, net the fish correctly - get it's head in the bottom of the net so you can work on it in the water. I can take 2 or 3 pics in about 15 to 20 seconds and I have seen every fish I have ever caught swim away just fine. Keep the fish in the water and have every tool ready and have your camera turned on and be ready. I always show my partners how to work my camera before we hit the water.

sorry for the rant... I just think 30 seconds is plenty of time.

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Quote:
Do you take a picture of every musky you catch?

for me it was an evolution. at first i used to take pics of most every fish, any kind that was worth worth a pic, then just nice fish like bass over 18''s, northern over 30''s and pretty much any muskie. that kind of stuff. then nice went to bigger fish, then bigger. now if a bass is'nt 21 it gets a quick release, sometimes not even 22''s get's one. for several years with muskie it's been 46''s and fat or it goes back pic'less. this year i (over the winter) decided it's 50''s or nothing. needless to say my camera has been inactive all year. i'm sure some day i'll do no pics, no way, no how. walleye hit 28'' i consider the girth, 29'' or better it gets one normally. still plenty of time for my first muskie pic this year. smile cats? well if it get's up into the 38'' range on a channel i will. 40'' or nothing on a flathead. 50'' on the sturge, and never on a sheephead whistle ...

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I think every muskie is a trophy and will snap a few pics of any over 40 unless the fish seems to be struggling.

I agree with you Setterguy. Every musky is a trophy to me! Especially after a dry spell. Every time I catch one its a bit of relief and a lot of excitement - normally followed by nervousness at making sure they get a clean get-away. It just seems that more than once this year fish or activity has come in bunches so I got to wondering if I'd have a better chance at more fish if I tried to use a hook pick to bust 'em lose quicker at the boatside without all the ceremony. At least in theory that makes sense - its how a Costa Rican guide was able to release several HUGE tarpon for my father-in-law and I a couple years ago.

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Pics are fun and a great way to remember a day and tell a story, that's why the 2008 muskie photo post is 34 pages long! I like sending the pics to my nephews to get them fired up too!

Done right, a pic can be snapped more or less as one guy takes the fish out of the net to put it back in the water. Can be a matter of seconds.

Here's a release pic from last year that's still my favorite to come out of my boat. Nice tiger, shows the coloration and the thickness.....

00000021.jpg

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Routine in our boats are get the fish in the net first then while the catcher is unhooking the fish the 2nd guy gets the cameras on and ready and anything else thats needed. Couple quick pics and measured and back they go. If theres 3 of us things go that much quicker.

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Right on Hanson, I agree! Not sure of everybody's age here, but I do remember the days before catch and release. Where all the pictures were of DEAD fish - now all the pics are of live fish, where 99% (my guesstimate...) will end up living. I personally take pictures of lots of fish, because it really helps to bring the memories back more vividly of a particular time if you have a picture to help. Erik, you should take pics of all of them.

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I take pics of just about all provided they're condition is ok. Granted, I use a net, they aren't out of the water for more than 20 seconds, and after unhooking we usually leave them sit for a minute or two to make sure they get a good "breath". I've been fortunate to not have a fish get really deeply hooked yet, I still fear that day in some odd ways.

-Jeff

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Hiya -

Boy this topic leads you out on such a slippery slope... Because of the magazine I edit, and the stance we take as a publication on catch and release in general, I've given this a lot of thought over the years, and you can argue the question so many ways. My opinion might seem a little contradictory, but I don't think it is. Get some coffee, cuz I'm about to get a little preachy... smile

To me, as Hanson says, I think it's fine for someone to take a photo if you want to. For some anglers, that's a big part of the experience, although it never has been for me, with muskies, or any other species. I just don't get into photos that much. (Part of that may be that I always have the same vacant look on my face in every photo. My ex used to call it my "fish face.") Especially if you're just getting into it, photos are a great way to preserve an exciting memory.

But... I think, regardless of your level of experience, you have to approach it from the perspective of taking photos in a way that gives the fish the best chance of surviving being caught. There really is an element of ethics at play here. If you're releasing the fish, don't do anything that significantly lessens its survival chances. Most of the time, taking a quick photo or two doesn't significantly lower the fish's odds, but when it comes to successful release, so many factors are variable, and the things that can add stress to a fish are cumulative. High water temperatures, high winds, a difficult unhooking job, or an especially long fight. When those conditions start to add up, maybe it's time to skip the grab and grin, and just take a shot of the fish in the water... Personally, release shots are my favorite type of photo anyhow.

That all having been said, I think guys like me who are 'in the business' so to speak, whether they're tournament anglers, TV hosts, outdoor writers, or just veteran anglers who catch and handle a lot of fish are obligated to meet a much higher standard. I wouldn't bat an eye at a less experienced angler taking a photo of a 38 inch fish. I might scream at a veteran angler or 'celebrity' for doing the same thing.

So why the admitted double standard? Two reasons:

1.) The veterans, the hardcore guys and the 'pros' (although I think "professional muskie angler" is an oxymoron.) have a far greater potential to have an effect on the fishery simply because they catch and handle more fish than the garden variety weekend warrior. If taking a photo of every fish causes the delayed mortality rate to increase my 15% (an arbitrary number, for the sake of example), to me that's tolerable when someone catches 7 fish a year. It's harder to defend, though, for someone who catches 70. Is the inevitable increase in mortality worth another picture of a 40-incher?

2.) To me, these anglers are the ones who are obligated to set the standard for the rest of the angling community. They should be leading by example. This extends not just to photos, but to fish handling in general. I know I personally really feel this obligation. I can't get on my soapbox and advocate for better catch and release practices and not practice what I preach. When casual anglers see guys in magazines and on TV holding fish vertically, laying fish on the deck to measure them, or holding a fish out of the water for 4 minutes while they flap their gums about what a great fisherman they are to have caught this big fish, then pat themselves on the back for letting it go, that's the example they have to follow. If it's ok for him... Personally, I think it's up to the people who have made the effort to be celebrities in this silly game to take it to excess the other direction. A good example of this is my friend and fellow editor Jack Burns. Jack hasn't taken a fish out of the water for a photo in years, and the main reason is the example it sets. Personally, I haven't taken an out of the water fish pic in a couple years. Do I expect every angler to follow his (or my) example 100%? Of course not. But if someone says "those guys don't take any out of the water shots. Maybe I'll just take one quick one and get her back in the water" then to me, holding myself to a higher standard was worth it. If I even get people *thinking* about it, it's worth it. I'll gladly give up a grab and grin photo if it makes someone else give how they handle fish some thought.

Sadly, I think especially with some newer high profile anglers, the trend seems to be going in the wrong direction. I was part of an incident this summer that still bugs me. I was fishing with a friend who's a very accomplished angler. He catches a lot of fish, and has caught a lot of big muskies over the years. So he hooks a fish that was around the 40 inch mark. When he unhooked it, to my absolute amazement, he hauled the fish into the boat and laid it on a bump board. I was livid. Did it REALLY matter if the fish was 40 or 41 inches? Once the fish was in the boat, things went further downhill. The fish went nuts, and to make a long story short, the whole mess ended with a 5/0 through a finger and a very beat up fish. I'm still mad, because there was no point to the whole episode. When your numbers of fish over 48 inches are in double-digits every year, does the difference between 40 and 41 REALLY matter? All it accomplished was a beat up fish with a much lower chance of surviving... Yet bump board and girth measurements and nonsense like that seem to be more and more common. If that's leading by example, to me it's the wrong example...

So there's my take on photos. Take them, enjoy them, but be conscious of conditions, and recognize when enough is enough. There comes a point for most of us where another photo of a 20 pounder stops making sense, but even if you never get to that point, you can still take photos in a manner that's responsible in the context of successful catch and release.

Ok...off the sopabox now smile

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Lots of valid points there Rob. And I'm going to get on my own soapbox just for a bit. I read your magazine thoroughly and enjoy every bit of it. And the last several issues I've been following Pete's rants on vertical holds and pretty much buying into what he says. One of his most outspoken was I think the spring issue. Shortly after reading it I watched a show, I think it was the Next Bite or another he was on, fishing out east maybe, and trolling. His friend/guest catches a fish, holds it up decently for photos/video, and then asks "how big do you think she is"? To my utter amazement, Pete says "hold her vertical and I'll measure", which he proceeds to do. Talk about not practicing what you preach, and not leading by example. While I have adopted his position as my own, I now know at least his words are pretty empty. Probably a great guy and probably usually wouldn't think of doing it, but this one instance has the chance to undo all the good his writing may have accomplished. I have a feeling he did it entirely for the show, for the viewing audience. Doesn't make it any better, and in fact probably one of the worst reasons to do it (to make a show, money, etc). There, got that off my chest. You keep up the good work though, I think your ethic will rub off on a lot of folks.

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Hiya Propster -

I know the show you're talking about. Without disclosing the details of a private phone call, let's just say I had what you might call an "animated conversation" about it with Pete...for the same reasons you mention.

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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will said Mr Kimm. I agree, hardly ever photo a fish. Try not to even net it, just grab the pliers, if not hooked bad, and pop it off w/o touching fish and decreasing chance of getting hooked or cut. doesnt matter to me if i think its under 48, no measurement needed. i do measure if they are looking bigger, w/ the floating measure stick, so fish still doesnt come out of water. I just get sick watching the videos, the fish are out the water forever, and half of em look awfully beaten up and barely swim away, and possibly are delayed mortality.

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I photo just about every single Muskie that I catch. Last week I even photoed a 25"er that was the brightest and most vibriant colored Muskie that I have ever seen. For me, it is part of the experiance. Hook a fish, net it with the Beckman. Get the hooks out while the other guy gets the camera ready. Snap a few photos and back into the water and off. Someday, I hope to sit with my grandson and show him some pictures and tell him some stories.

Thats just the way that I like to do it. I have never done a vertical hold and never will. Niether will anyone in my boat.

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Devil's advocate... but if purists are so darned worried, why bother catching them in the first place? Won't their health be better not ever having hooks in them in the first place?

wink

I hope you get the tongue in cheek here, but honestly, it can get goofy on both ends. Keeping the fish out of water needlessly long, and those who say you are evil if you even want a pic.

But I do understand RK's post 100% and agree with the reasoning.

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Devil's advocate... but if purists are so darned worried, why bother catching them in the first place? Won't their health be better not ever having hooks in them in the first place?

wink

Not sure if everyone finds the humor in this idea, but it is right on the money IMO.

Bottom line... you go fishing to catch things. At least I still think that is the basic premise. All you can do is handle, unhook, and release the fish in the most efficient way possible to insure a successful release. Some are going to succumb to hooking mortality, thats a fact. But a kept fish never had the chance to be successfully released.

Muskie fishing has come a long way in a short time. I remember reading in 'Muskies Maina Style' that the proper way to handle a muskie back in the day was to shoot it first, with a gun, before bringing it in the boat. Less dangerous that way I guess and more manly. grin

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Quote:
I remember reading in 'Muskies Maina Style' that the proper way to handle a muskie back in the day was to shoot it first, with a gun, before bringing it in the boat. Less dangerous that way I guess and more manly.

You'd be surprised just how many people still think that way. Obviously they have never caught one and are not outdoorspeople but still.... When I was little, I was told that if you caught a longnose gar, it had to be shot before you brought it into the boat. I believed it.

When it came to Muskies, I was told that you had to hit them over the head with a paddle. But I think that was my uncle just trying to scare me

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I take pictures of every fish I catch, even the two I caught by msyself I managed to get a quick cell phone picture of one, and for the second one another guy on the water saw me fighting the fish and struggling with the net so he came over and offered to take the photos for me after i ended up gill landing the fish(gently, dont worry.)

I like to take the pictures though because i've only caught 5 muskies in my life and every fish is a new milestone.

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