Fishing Ethics
CharkBait Staff
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Some things occurring now which should have all of us concerned, or at least discussing and considering our sport/hobby/preoccupation. We fishermen can be our own worst enemy and to the future of our sport. Sportfishing enthusiasts have an ethic which should be in place, regardless of legal limits. Sportfishing boats, their crews and owners have a long term interest in ensuring the future of our much loved hobby - perhaps even more so than an individual fisherman.

I was on a long range trip last week, took off Saturday morning 9/19/15. At the dock there were some great catches of yellowtail, tuna, wahoo as well as other fish which occupy less glamour at the docks. I heard one visitor comment on the BIG bass that were stacked on cones by a couple of the boats - black seabass! I'll not name the boats, that's not the purpose of my post. The purpose of this post is simply to raise a question and open a debate.

When I was on the Red Rooster earlier in the month they had prominently posted a letter signed off by most of the sportboat opperations, stating which fish would not be taken. Black Seabass, sharks, marlin were listed. But, apparently this agreement of ethics is not being followed by all boats - some of which signed off on the agreement of ethics. I talked to Sara from 5 Star fish processing, and she mentioned some of the catches folks have asked her firm to clean recently. One "fisherman" gave them five yellowtail (total weight 8 lbs. for 5 fish) for filleting. CRAZY!!! No way these were legal in terms of size. Saw some 5-8 lb tuna as well stacked/sacked by anglers. What are we doing, and what are the boats doing allowing these fish to be gaffed and taken?

I talked to Randy from United Composites (he was formerly with Seeker) and he mentioned a trip he took on a sportboat with Joe Pfiester years back. The boat had released a couple black seabass caught at Guadalupe Island, but one angler caught one and made a huge fuss over keeping it. Yes, it was a legal catch in Mexico, just not a legal fish to have in possession in USA. The skipper finally agreed, they gaffed the fish, cut it up on the boat because they didn't want the bad p/r at the dock. The skipper was so pissed off he stayed up in the wheel house the rest of the trip. Joe gave a bit of a talk afterwards, told the fellow who kept the fish he'd not be welcomed on future trips and that his fish would not qualify for the largest fish award. Right call by Joe in my estimation. I talked to Andy from the Red Rooster, mentioned the code of ethics posted on the Rooster. He mentioned that they do try to take a picture for the angler prior to releasing the fish. That takes time, is a pain in the keester, but it's the right thing to do. I agree wholeheartedly with that position. Perhaps in prior years there was more "policing" at the dock, when Bill Roeker was there checking with all arriving boats and taking pictures. That's not happening these days, and perhaps it should be.

It's a hard call for the boat operators, they are competing for passengers and trying to provide a positive experience for anglers. But, as fishermen we have an obligation to look towards the future and the boat operators have the same long term interests. There are limits, legal limits in terms of numbers and sizes of fish which may be taken. I believe these numbers need to be enforced by all operations, and if that makes an angler mad so be it. Chances are that fellow does not get on a boat often anyway and needs to learn that the ocean does not belong to him alone. A minority of unethical fishermen and perhaps sportboat crews are missing the larger picture and perhaps it's for us to remind folks of what needs to be done to ensure good fishing for the future. For myself, I'll make it a point to go over this with anglers prior to our fishing on future CharkBait sponsored trips. We will support the code of ethics as is displayed in the galley of the Red Rooster III, and we'll do so for any charter we run.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Chark,

Great Stuff!
Posts: 1578 | Registered: 18 September 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like reading this kind of post. God knows, this kind of thing is not limited to West Coast partyboats.
Posts: 128 | Registered: 30 May 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Absolutely agree....im in south fl, gulf coast..had a hard cold winter ( for here ) a few years ago and the snook season was stopped....for good reason..but i still saw people, mostly "snowbirds"..taking in snook and hiding them in the cooler. When i ask them if they know that you cant keep that..i get grumbles..or blah blah..i love to fish..whether it is offshore, beach, ponds, lakes, shark, bass, or tuna...but there is a responsibility to all here to do the right thing. im not preaching...just being me. Of the few charter cap's i know here, none will allow off season, or restricted fish to be taken. Some will not even allow ANY billfish or sharks to be taken..tag, pic and release only. Responsibility, conservation, and preservation is the future for our children and the generations to come that can enjoy this fine world of fishing. I will get off my soapbox now
Posts: 8 | Registered: 03 January 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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