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> > does it hurt the fish?, Page 2

WbranchDecember 14th, 2011, 6:17 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Paul wrote;

"I do not want to damage the fish I catch, especially if it induces pain, whether it is akin to our pain or not. In waters fished so often the fish develop mutilated jaws, I fish elsewhere. I choose not to participate in that. This is partly an aesthetic, as well as an emotional, sensitivity."

Paul makes great points in this paragragh and his entire post. It really was a pleasure to read his insight into the philosophy of this pain or no pain discussion.

I agree with him about not wanting to mutilate the trout and while I use barbed nooks on most of my dry flies I do not use them on the streamers I use for trout because they sometimes take the fly so violently that the fly really gets imbedded in the corner of the mouth, or the roof of the mouth, or even in the gill area on occassion. At least when it has no barb I can quite easily back it out and cause no further harm or lasting damage as could occur when trying to remove a big barb from a Mustad 34007.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnDecember 15th, 2011, 10:25 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
I've responded by limiting hook sizes in accordance with the fish I might catch in a given water.


Thoughtful as usual...

I experimented with some wide gap hooks for some smallish streamers I was playing with last year. I was shocked a bit to find that I had hooked a fish and that the point etc came out just below the fish's eyeball but within the eye-socket...The hook had been de-barbed and I was able to carefully remove it with what appeared to be little serious damage to the fish...It made me re-think the hooks...I was fishing in a no-kill stretch and really didn't want to harm the fish.

I must admit that I was a little shook up for a few moments...Tony would of been proud of my instinctual surgeon skills...:) The eye was un-scathed.

I have mentioned before that I have been a vegetarian since I was 16, and to most of my long time friends, they are confused about how much I still fish and have most of my life. My grandfather said a couple times that he felt that he had been somewhat responsible for my interest in giving up eating meat and that he felt that the cleaning we had done to bunnies & deer had caused me to turn away from meat and hunting etc.

I explained to him that it was probably more true that I was a teenager in the 60's with a rebellious streak :) that made me give up meat eating. I also told him that he was responsible to a degree when he taught me everything he knew about hunting and the woods etc...He wanted me to do the right thing and pointed out to me things he thought just weren't good "sporting" practises.

He used to tell me not to ever waste anything and you don't shoot it just to shoot at something. If you take game you use it and only take what you need...Part of the vegetarian decision was just that...I didn't need it. It has always been just a personal decision and I have never told anyone else they should consider it.

Part of the attraction to me of fly fishing was being able to get out in the woods and re-connect with the old man and not leave too much of a trace that I had ever been there. I have disturbed some dining fish though :) and try to release them as unharmed as possible and as quickly as possible...

I used to joke with the boys up around Grayling that I'm not a half bad angler and that I was actually educating the fish so they don't make the same mistake again and end up in someone's frying pan sizzling next to some bacon strips...;) I was smartening them up so-to-speak...The implication to my angling friends was, if you are going to follow me down the stream, you had better improve your skills because "my trout" won't fall for just any duffer! :)

Small-Mouth bass on the other hand are like 16 year old boys...They are not thinking with their brains. You try and you try and they don't learn a damn thing...It's like they have a learning disability or something...:) They leap first and think after...after it's too late. Their saving grace is they are not as tasty as a brook trout...Or so I've been told anyway. :)

You know, I may be the only American who has never eaten a Big Mac...I told someone that one time and they replied, "What's the matter with you man?! Are you a communist?!" :)


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsDecember 15th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Posts: 1776
I do a bunch of things to mitigate my impact on fisheries, and animal/land scapes. Like with fish, I'm fascinated by all wildlife natural history and behavior. I know deer quite well, and have set my own limitations as to what I consider "fair game", considering the deer "socialscape", as well as "humane" kills and little waste.

My wife was vegetarian for 9yrs. Her issue was factory farming, in particular red meat nutrition. Eventually, from her reading of Michael Pollan and others, and with wild and grass-finished meat available, she went back to meat eating.

Michael Pollan writes very astutely about hunting, about his own experience delving in. I chose a poignant quote, not offered as persuation or judgment at all, but to explain/assuage my own ... uneasy feelings (in the eyes of our culture -from the "outside" as Pollan describes it) toward killing/"hurting". He writes:

"If I’ve learned anything about hunting and eating meat, it’s that it’s even messier than the moralist thinks. Having killed a pig and looked at myself in that picture and now looking forward (if that’s the word) to eating that pig, I have to say there is a part of me that envies the moral clarity of the vegetarian, the blamelessness of the tofu eater. Yet part of me pities him too. Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris. Ortega suggests that there is an immorality in failing to look clearly at reality, or in believing the force of human will can somehow overcome it. “The preoccupation with what should be is estimable only when the respect for what is has been exhausted.”

“What is.” I suppose that this as much as anything else, as much as a pig or a meal, is what I was really hunting for, and what I returned from my hunt with a slightly clearer sense of. “What is” is not an answer to anything, exactly; it doesn’t tell you what to do or even what to think. Yet respect for what is does point us in a direction. That direction just happens to be the direction from which we came — that place and time, I mean, where humans looked at the animals they killed, regarded them with reverence and never ate them except with gratitude."

Spence, sounds like your grandfather understood and provided you that sense of gratitude, meat or no meat. Fly-fishing certainly takes us into the moral realm, where we are not subsistence fishing for meat, but doing ... something else. Ortega would have it that we are searching for, and connecting with, our "authentic" selves.

"Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after." I disagree, I think only the likes of mink, raccoons, and truly starving humans can fish and not know it is not about the fish. They do not have to "reconnect".
CzoomDecember 16th, 2011, 4:02 pm
Posts: 10
I don't it hurts the fish. They might be dazzed a bit, but come out of it after a while.
TroutflyDecember 16th, 2011, 6:15 pm

Posts: 2
Yep, my wife asks me this question as though we would not eat the trout if it hurt them.

I imagine they do not wish to get hurt or die when we filet them, but wow is fresh trout the best tasting thing ever. One consolation is that they died repectfully and did not die in a processing factory.
How to clean trout

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