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From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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2006/9/9 20:09
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Dear Board,

This quote was lifted from Mike Richardson's Minnow Chaser/ mini Wooly Bugger thread, post #8 IIRC.

"Listen to Chaz apperantly he knows everything. I would tie them in size 10-16. No way a 5" brookie is fitting a size 6 hook in its mouth. Without getting the point threw its eye. If your fishing for big wild brookies only. Your kinda missing the point."

Anyone who fishes catches dink fish from time to time, some more than others.

However, seeing advice as to the proper way to tie wooly buggers in order to catch 5 inch fish disgusts me.

If the brook trout water you are fishing yields fish that are generally sub-legal in size here is where a lesson in angling ethics will come in handy. I'll make it blunt and to the point.

Deliberately fishing for 5 inch trout is not ethical, period. An ethical angler who finds his/herself repeatedly hooking sub-legal fish will always seek greener pastures, so to speak.

Catch and release can be a wonderful tool to enhance fishing opportunity. However, it has to be practiced by ethical people and not just by people who feel that as long as they are living within the rules no harm is being done.

Deliberately hooking sub-legal fish for the purpose of amusement violates the rules of ethical behavior, no matter how much care you exercise in the process.

You can argue with me if you'd like but you'll be pissing up a rope because what you are doing is indefensible.

Regards,

Tim Murphy






Posted on: 2013/1/20 0:24
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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I'm not sure the OP wasn't using an element of hyperbole when mentioning 5" fish, but they will have to chime in to defend themselves. My experience has been that going up to a 10 or 12 for buggers works best on the brookie streams that I fish, but that has as much to do with the size of the stream and the size of the rod I'm fishing as it does the size of the fish. I've caught some tiny natives on bigger hooks (i.e. if I run out of smaller buggers and have to use something from my brownie box); one in particular from last winter I remember, because the bugger I was fishing was more than half as long as the fish was and I said out loud "How is that even possible?". So even going up to a size six WILL still let you catch sub-5" fish. I look at a 10 or smaller bugger more like a nymph anyway and I don't think its a fair statement to say that you shouldn't fish nymphs on brookie streams. Incidental hooking of small brookies is going to happen; I didn't gather that the OP was necessarily targeting or champion a method to optimize the catching of sub-legal fish.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 0:58


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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Quote:

TimMurphy wrote:

Deliberately fishing for 5 inch trout is not ethical, period.
Deliberately hooking sub-legal fish for the purpose of amusement violates the rules of ethical behavior, no matter how much care you exercise in the process.
Tim Murphy


Tim,
Dang ....looking to stir the pot today eh?
Okay, I'll take the bait (offered, no doubt, on a very small hook).

Fish size is relative. A 5" brook trout is a fully grown, sexually mature fish in many waters.

The problem with your assertion is the conception of what constitutes "legal sized." If it's unethical to target "sub legal" fish.......then, by this reasoning, it would be unethical to to cast to a foot long trout rising in a stream managed under "Trophy Trout" regs. After all, that fish is "sub-legal." And what about other fish? One cannot, in my view, select different fishes in a vacuum when making philosophical assertions. Take bluegills for example. They have no minimum size limit (to my knowledge). Is it therefore ethical to target 5" bluegills and not 5" brookies merely because one species has a minimum size? I think in many PA waters, the bluegills have a larger average size than the brookies. Personally, I have no problem catching 5" brookies or 5" bluegills. To condemn as unethical one who fishes for fish that are deemed "sub-legal" when "legal" is a largely arbitrary concept is rather unfair in my view. Certainly, one ought to consider typical fish size when choosing hook size as a matter of practicality. It's worth remembering that a 5" brookie has a much larger mouth with its eyes further from the jawline than a bluegill of the same length. Should the PFBC, in a good faith effort to protect fish of a certain size.....put regs in place to limit the size of the hook relative to the fish's morphology? It would be almost impossible to reasonably construe such a reg because of the diversity of fish size and species across PA.

There's nothing wrong with catching a 5" brookie in a stream with a 7" "legal size limit anymore than there's anything wrong with catching a 14" bass in a river with "Big Bass" regs. My thoughts for what they're worth.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 7:59


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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+1 to FI. When fishing for Brookies you're rarely targeting a specific rising fish...you're casting to a likely holding spot looking for a reaction strike. No way to know how big the fish is in that lie until you catch it. IMO even "sub-legal" Brookies can be safely caught on small Buggers or streamers with no appreciable increase in danger to the fish. Keep in mind a size 14 Bugger to a 5-6 inch Brookie proportionally is about the same as a size 8 Bugger in a 10 inch (legal) trout. The allure of the wild Brookie is the beauty of the fish and where they're found. Not their size. Crush your barbs, practice C&R, and all will be well.

Tim - Respectfully, I think you're a couple inches off on this one bud.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 8:37


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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Fi and swattie I agree. So basically you shouldn't even fish for Brookies? And if you catch a small fish on a stream like Clark's where there's healthy small wild trout you should just go home? What's unethical is using large flies for small fish! I can only imagine how many fish these people kill. Again unethical. Hell no one should fish at all I guess.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 8:55
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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I agree with the above posts. Using Mr. Murphy's code of ethics would pretty much deem it unethical to fish many or most of the small brookie streams and the headwaters of some of the larger streams.

IMHO, it may be more unethical, in some cases, to fish for larger fish such as the breeder smallmouth bass which remain in the struggling lower Susky River. I don't think we are there yet in the Susky, but we seem to be getting closer to that point. Sad.


Posted on: 2013/1/20 9:29


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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I agree with Tim to a certain extent: if you don't get a majority of fish over 7 inches, you should consider fishing a different stream, unless you size it down a bit. I could not care less if you like to chase blacknose dace on the fly, but for crying out loud, size it down!

Posted on: 2013/1/20 9:59
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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This is what I got out of it...............An old guy, that favors fishing for brookies, is unethical......

Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:06
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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Fishing for big fish with big flies and catching small ones only to injure them with the big flies is unethical (incidental but unethical to continue to do so)

Sizing it down so you don't hurt the little guys is where Tim asserts the ethics issue.

I don't think catching a fish or two under legal size is his point. Sizing down to catch many as to not injure them is his point. I disagree with it in being unethical I see it as responsible. I would however probably move on after a few though. Or actually go UP in hook size to keep them off the hook. If I knew there were big fish in the stream.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:25
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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Quote:

Maurice wrote:
Fishing for big fish with big flies and catching small ones only to injure them with the big flies is unethical (incidental but unethical to continue to do so)

Sizing it down so you don't hurt the little guys is where Tim asserts the ethics issue.

I don't think catching a fish or two under legal size is his point. Sizing down to catch many as to not injure them is his point. I disagree with it in being unethical I see it as responsible. I would however probably move on after a few though. Or actually go UP in hook size to keep them off the hook. If I knew there were big fish in the stream.


Quote:

Tim Murphy wrote:
Deliberately hooking sub-legal fish for the purpose of amusement violates the rules of ethical behavior, no matter how much care you exercise in the process.


Mo,

I believe Tim is saying quite the opposite. Read his quote. Sizing down to catch the pee pees is exactly what he is against, at least the way I read it.

Far be it for me to get into Tim's head, though....a scary place to be.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:44


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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I think thats what I was saying....read it again. At least that is what I was trying to say.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:48
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson

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To reduce this to its simplest terms, isn't the mere act of impaling a fish on a sharpened piece of steel and dragging it through the water for one's enjoyment "unethical" in the first place???


Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:51


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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I dunno, Mo. The bold text in the quote below makes it sound like it's not eithical to fish streams that only hold small fish, which btw, are many of the small brookie streams and headwaters in PA.

Quote:

If the brook trout water you are fishing yields fish that are generally sub-legal in size here is where a lesson in angling ethics will come in handy. I'll make it blunt and to the point.

Deliberately fishing for 5 inch trout is not ethical, period. An ethical angler who finds his/herself repeatedly hooking sub-legal fish will always seek greener pastures, so to speak.


We (or at least "I") need Tim to clarify.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 10:57


Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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Thats what I said he was saying...I'm not sure what your point it. I didn't say I agree with him (although I won't spend a day trying to do it) I tried to clarify his position and mine. Unsuccessfully I suppose.

Posted on: 2013/1/20 11:02
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Re: From the minnow chaser thread - An ethics lesson
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Okay, do you think it's unethical to fish a brook trout stream which is populated only with small fish? If so, why?

Posted on: 2013/1/20 11:06



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