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Today at a public lake me and a friend were walking/fishing around the bank and came across an older man(70+) that was strugglin

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  • Today at a public lake me and a friend were walking/fishing around the bank and came across an older man(70+) that was strugglin

    Today at a public lake me and a friend were walking/fishing around the bank and came across an older man(70+) that was struggling to remove both treble hooks from a bass so we helped him out, but by the time we got the hook out the fish was pretty much dead. Measured at about 14 inches(15 is minimum). To our surprise the man knowingly threw the bass back into the lake without any words or delay and we all watched it float away dead because 'those are the rules.' Hypothetically, what would you of done in his situation?

  • #2
    I must add, the man was very angry/upset with himself for not being able to give the fish a clean/healthy release.

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    • #3
      I would hate to admit to doing something illegal in a public forum, but strictly hypothetically, I would have to weigh the chances of getting caught vs. the fish being "wasted" (although nothing is truly wasted in nature). If it was a spot where I thought the chances of a game warden appearing were slim to none, I might keep an illegal fish if I was sure it wouldn't survive. Hypothetically speaking of course, and obviously I've never done anything like that in my life...

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      • #4
        LOL , That old man knew exactly what to do with that fish, hypothetically you can go to jail with undersize fish.The warden isn't going to listen to your logic, that it's wasted. Maybe those cats hypothetically are only use to barn mice.

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        • #5
          Humans mistakenly believe if they don't use a fish or animal it is wasted. However, that fish will feed a host of other life forms.
          The old fellow did the right thing.
          Btw, 70+ is not that "old". lol
          later,
          charlie

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          • #6
            I would definitely throw it back because those are the rules. Years ago, when 70 seemed old to me, I was fishing with my then young son. I deep hooked a short Walleye and cut the line to let it go. It floated up to the side of the boat within a minute. I explained to my son why we couldn't take it, even though it was dead. As I assured him that it wouldn't go to waste, a Great Blue Heron landed on the water and ate it right in front of us. We both learned something that day. Until then, I never knew a heron would land in open water to take a fish.

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            • #7
              @Charlie and 4ever,
              I said an "older" man, not "old" man haha. Being that me and my friend have a combined age of 45 I think that it was a fair thing to say.

              -As for my original question, I would have to agree with everyone else. That fish did not go to waste just because he threw it back into the water. I was just curious for some different perspectives.

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              • #8
                I had to let a nice walleye float away belly up last summer because it wasn't in the slot size. Not easy but I know it doesn't go to waste. Now here brings up another fishing question I would like your opinions on. The last I heard cutting the line and leaving the hook in a fish being a good idea is an urban myth. Apparently they can't digest hooks and they die eventually. Therefore you are better off trying to rip it out which will prob kill the fish anyways but little more of a chance for survival than leaving it in. What's your opinions on that? Also, 4everautumn, if you think about it that heron probably ended up with a hook in it's belly and may have died which is another reason to pull out hooks. You did what you felt was right though.

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                • #9
                  @MWK,
                  I think it just depends on where the fish is hooked/the type of hook. I have caught multiple fish that had old rusty hooks stuck in them(even caught one with a hook through one of it's eyes). I do not think digesting/passing the hook would be too much of a problem for a bird or fish(they swallow sharp fish bones/spines all of the time).

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                  • #10
                    MWK_MN: Yes, I did do what I felt was right, but also what fish mortality studies say you should do. If you can get the hook, get it. If you can't you clip the leader several inches long and let the fish go. JM, you are right about the type of hook. I use non coated and non-stainless wire hooks. I can about guarantee the hook was gone from the heron before the bony structure of the fish it ate was. I also caught a nice Smallmouth in that same lake and as I was removing my lure, it crapped out a 1/4 ounce lead jig head, so they can and do pass them, just as you stated.

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                    • #11
                      The senior fisherman was smart to dump the dead fish back in the water.
                      It will not be wasted with raccoons, snapping turtles, great blue Herons and osprey living in the area.
                      It's better then being nailed by a Conservation Officer who likes writing out charges and fines.
                      Best regards, Gary

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                      • #12
                        Letting it go was certainly the best choice. Who's to say by bending the rules just this one time doesn't make it easier in someone else's mind to do it again next time taking more risk. Besides bass are extremely prolific and the population can recover quickly.

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