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Fritz Fiedler

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Reply with quote  #1 
On Sunday morning, had had the opportunity for fish across the river from a gentleman who was an extremely talented caster. He had all the right gear, fashionable tweed type hat, cigar, hitting on a flask that no doubt held a fine single malt. Then I got to hear his clicker reel growl. Fish on! It was all fun to watch until he landed the fish, which he did by standing back on the shore, and beaching it on the rocks! While he gently put his expensive gear down, the fish flopped around on the rocks. He pounced on it, pinned it to the rocks while he took the hook out. Then he picked it up and walked into the water, vigorously grabbed the tail, and roughly pulled the fish back and forth to revive it. Looked like it swam away ok, but watching that fish flop on the rocks made me feel a little ill. I don't know if it was a hatchery fish or not, but it is all C&R right now and I personally think even brats deserve better treatment, if for no other reason to give someone else a chance at it.

Is this an acceptable way to land a fish intended for release when no one is there to help? It is sometimes difficult with a long rod, but it seems like it would always be possible to release the fish while standing in the water - I can do it (without much practice!), and the guy I watched is clearly way more talented than I am. Given that the gentleman in question was obviously a talented and picturesque spey fisherman, I was surprised at the fish handling, which was among the worst I have seen - easily as bad as letting a fish flop around on the bottom of a boat.

I guess my point in posting is that maybe he will read this, or one of his friends will and help him learn a better way. Or everyone will say that this is normal and I should just shut up.

Graham Hill

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Reply with quote  #2 
From what I have seen in BC, this is just about, horrifyingly, quite normal for anglers.  I usually see the poor fish assisted up the gravel and back down with the helpful application of a booted foot - a shove, not a kick - but certainly not tender loving care.  I have told more than one angler to pretend that the fish they caught is as fragile as a baby, and handle it as such.  The responses tend to be unprintable.  I like a deep water release, difficult with the long rod, so now I use an English-made C&R salmon net at knee depth (or more if I can manage the current).
Rob Allen

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Reply with quote  #3 
Don't mean to start an argument  but I have a different  take.

I  want to  land and handle  fish i am  going to release to be  calm  and winded, not   exhausted just winded.

I  do not  want a thrashing beast in a  net. 

 This is  what I do  and I believe  it is the best  way bar none.


1 . use  gear that is  strong  enough  your  rod  leader and tippet   should be able to  stop  or  at least  considerably  slow a  running   fish and   turn them at just  about any point in the  fight.

2.   you  should not  worry  about losing   fish.  it's better  to  bassmaster them in and pull the hook out in  doing  do   than to  exhaust them trying to play them out.

3  fish  should be  brought when possible into  calm  shallow  water ,not  stagnant  but  calm,   they  should be  slowly  lead  in  so that they lay on their  sides, still  in the  water..  release  line  from  your  reel  and  grab the leader.  At this point  you  are  committed  to the leader and the rod is out  of the  equation  no matter   what, better the  fish breaks off than  to  go back to the  rod.

 4  at this  point the  fish can still breath,  is not thrashing,  the  barbless hook can be removed and the  fish   directed back into  deep  water. I  want them to  swim away  slowly and confidently, no longer in any  fear.  I hate it  when they  bolt  away in panic,  you have no idea  what condition they are in when they do that

minimal handling of the   fish is best  held out of the  water  for a picture is the  worst.

fighting a  steelhead    of any  size  should  rarely  rake over 5 minutes and  never  take over  15

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Fritz Fiedler

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Rob,

Your approach sounds good to me, for what my opinion is worth. Differences with what I saw and you wrote are that the person I watched flat out beached the fish, so that about half of it was out of the water, on rocks. Guy must have had a strong leader, pulled it right on up there, and I don't think he could have known if it was clipped or not given where he was standing. After the wrestling match with the fish thrashing on the rocks, he picked it up out of the water, and waded out to release it - longer time out than it would have taken to snap some pics.

Thanks for the reply - personally I try to release in knee deep water, touching the fish as little as possible. Tuck the rod under my arm after I grab the leader. Sometimes I never have to touch the fish, it just keeps on swimming after I snatch the fly. Sometimes, though, it takes me too long to finish the deal and get it to hand, and will see how I can adopt elements your method.

Discussions on this topic are good.

Fritz

Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #5 
For my money Rob's 4 points above hit the nail squarely on the head.
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Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp http://www.redshedflyshop.com FRSCA-Founding Member How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
Troy Peters

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Reply with quote  #6 
This is a great video showing how to release a fish by Bob Clay. I have heard rumblings that regulations are coming for BC that would make removing fish from the water that are to be released illegal.

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Darryl Rigets

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes that would be a great law

Do some of the rivers in Washington and Oregon have restrictions for lifting wild steelhead out of the water?
Paul Metcalf

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Reply with quote  #8 
Yeah, but you have to have the hat
Troy Peters

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Reply with quote  #9 
Darryl,
I believe Washington state has a law that prohibits removing fish from the water. I talked to one of the river guardians today and he told me that mortality of a steelhead that is out of water for more then 60 seconds is 60%.

Paul,
Any hat would do. As will a neoprene case.

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