Regarding Catch and Release Fishing

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Regarding the matter of catch and release fishing.

History tells that in the beginning, we fished.

And it has been noted that certain people fished with nets and spears, but others fished with a pole, string, hook, bobber, and bait, lures, and yea, even flies. We who fished were called anglers, our tools were called tackle, we ate the fish we caught, and this was good.

As the millennia rolled by, we sought at first to catch more and larger fish  with refined tackle, and generally continued to eat our catch. Until came such time as we caught so many fish of such proportion that we could not eat them all, even if disbursed among deck-hands, relatives, and entire villages. So we disposed or our gargantuan catch on river banks, buried in flower gardens, or fed to livestock. This was accepted practice, but did not seem a savory practice and gnawed at our conscience.

Time slipped by, until one angler grabbed a fish by the tail, prepared to launch it uphill into the riverside brush, but instead, the fish wrenched free and slipped back into the water. The angler gave little thought to this, caught another fish and failed once again to propel the fish into the air, as had always been done before that day. Apparently, the story goes, this hapless angler suffered from a weak grip, and allowed fish after fish to slip away back into the waters.

At twilight, our storied angler wandered into the Blue Ribbon Tavern in West Yellowstone, to drink ale while conversing with many fellow patrons about the day of losing many fish. But what with English being English, and ale being ale – the many patrons perceived stories of loosing fish rather than losing fish, and so assumed that the loosing was deliberate when in fact the angler had been accidentally losing fish.

This most curious evening at the Blue Ribbon Tavern thus started what was eventually to become the deliberate world-wide act of catch-and-release fishing, a new means of disposing of vast numbers of fish never intended to be eaten but rather caught to provide amusement and recreation for the angler.

This newly adopted practice of catch and release fishing was at first lauded as humane, conservation-minded, and vastly superior to catch-and-kill angling. And truth be told, catch and release fishing did indeed offer both fish and angler the opportunity to play another day. This is because many of the fish released did in fact survive the experience, as did the angler, and so both had the opportunity to either be caught or to catch, as was possible on the part of the fish or the angler, and thus was born the possibility of repeated catching ad releasing of larger and larger fish, to the delight of the angler and some reaction of unknown nature to the fish.

But as time went on, and the practice of catch and release fishing spread, anglers realized that circumstances of the environment sometimes caused the fish to die after release anyway, making the practice all for naught, except perhaps for salving the conscience of the angler who was doing much catching and releasing and thinking that the fish were not dying when in fact they were dying anyway.

And so it came to pass also that certain people concerned with prevention of cruelty to animals took notice of catch and release fishing and began serious debate regarding whether this practice was perhaps not so kind to the fish, and might perhaps represent a form of self-delusion on the part of the angler. If the tide was turned, these animal-rights persons argued, how many anglers would want to have a hook jammed in their mouth, forced to run around the city until too tired to resist, and then unceremoniously tossed back on the subway in a state of exhaustion?

But this was a debate of conscience not much entertained by more than a handful of anglers – many chose to compartmentalize such thinking, many dismissed the ideas outright, but a few were troubled and conflicted by the thought.

And as we stand here this very day, the ethical questions regarding catch and release fishing have yet to be resolved, as is the case regarding ethical treatment of organic chicken stix, wild reared hamburger, and rainforest pepperoni.

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So there you have it.

Jay Nicholas

 

 

Fishing Tackle Reviews – Genesis

Jay Nicholas Saracione in the Salmon Boat

Regarding the matter of fishing tackle and fishing gear reviews.

In the Beginning, we fished.

Some of us fished with nets and spears, but some fished with a pole, string, hook, bobber, and a worm. We were called anglers, our tools were called tackle, we ate our catch, and it was good.

Naturally, the quest to catch more and larger fish spawned experimentation with fish poles, string, bobbers and worms, referred to collectively as tackle. From the beginning of angling, we enjoyed our craft, fiddled with our tackle, and this was good.

Time slipped by, anglers angled, and the nature of tackle evolved. Our fish poles grew longer at times, and then shorter; thinner and thicker; lighter and heavier; decorated with intricate design or quite plain. Fish string evolved as well – we had floating and sinking string; dark and light string; rough and smooth; stretchy and not-at-all stretchy string. From poles to worms, we delighted in each generation of tackle, relegating previous generations to the bone heap. And this was still good, pretty much.

Gradually, the rate of technical performance advances – declined. Product improvements grew smaller and smaller as the ages sped by. Sometimes, lacking even small change to trumpet, our industry reps heralded microscopic changes as monumental. Our search for better tackle to facilitate catching fish devolved into a quest for fishing-gear perfection – we lost all sense of humility, seeking the knowing of things of a nature  beyond the comprehension of mortal humans.

While we were most vulnerable, immersed in the shady environs of Internet fishing content, an army of manufacturers assailed us, whispering glorious stories of pickup trucks, fly tying vises, micro 4/3 sensor auto-focus cameras, Kevlar vests, multi-tools, beef jerky, Q-Tips, laser gun sights, camo bikinis, thousand-pound coolers, barbecue-flavored potato chips, and such forth. Our credit card debt grew exponentially as we acquired the most marvelous trinkets to accompany our beloved fishing tackle. And although our lives were not better, we thought it so, and decided that all-in-all it was good; and therefore, it was good, perhaps, but who among us can say?

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In closing, I wish each of you – wherever you are – a good day, a smile, a laugh, and the chance to fish. But if you can’t fish – I wish each of you the joy of checking out a few tackle reviews on the Internet, perhaps even a few I’ve penned.

 

Jay Nicholas, March 4th, 2019