06-05-2000, 03:26 PM
My morning excursion to the canal was made interesting (infuriating is probably a better word) by the activities of a sportsjerk (opposite of a sportsman) just down current from me. He stepped up to the water and started throwing a popper to the occasional surface fish and eventually hooked into a nice fish that bordered on the keeper line from my vantage point. Without measuring he hefted this maybe keeper by the gill plate and put it up in the rocks behind him where it thrashed and bashed itself around. He then went back to fishing and about 10 to 15 minutes later he hooked a somewhat larger fish and when he landed it he hefted it by the gill plate and put it in the rocks behind him. He then shoved the first fish over the rocks toward the water. When it finally reached the water it flopped a bit turned on its back then eventually righted itself (Of course no help from mister sportsjerk) and swam (I'm sure to it's death) out into the canal.
I didn't say anything because my experience in other similar situations when I did say something it was unproductive. The only action I have taken in situations like this that worked out was to call enforcement and I lacked a cell phone and the evidence was gone.
How have some of you handled things like this?
My first reaction is to throw him back like the fish, but...
I'm starting to believe that it's necessary to have a SW license if it pays for (a) more stringent enforcement policies (b) better accountability for what's really happening out there /mortality, catch records, etc/ and (c) support for well-directed research programs that help guide policy makers to make good decisions and influence a coast-wise management mentality.
If my license dollar pays for more fish cops, I'm willing to buy two. I think every single one of us can tell a story about poaching, mishandling, and lack of respect for the fish that give us recreation and enjoyment. Some fishing techniques are ridiculously arcane and when practiced without care the fish pay a big price.
I'm going to start bringing a video camera primarily to capture great moments while fishing - but also to capture low points. I've always got a camera. I think we can do a lot to create awareness. Some guys are innocent but only know how to fish in ways that mess them up... drag, step, and kick. Others are downright breaking the laws but feel they can get away with anything so why not. If officials start to get evidence from honest anglers, perhaps they can be directed to locations, individuals, and circulstances where this type of this occurs.
Perhaps the existing laws could be changed to prohibit angling for striped bass or bluefish, or any coastal species using conventional striped bass tackle (gear which can be considered suitable for striped bass by enforcement or the magistrate) once a striped bass has been retained by the angler. That would mean you must keep blues before a striper if you want both (pretty likely). It would also mean that if you have possession of a striper caught that day and are fishing, you are breaking the law. Furthermore, specifically name "culling" as illegal.
This is the way steelhead works out west. There is also a punch card to limit and record annual kill per angler.
06-06-2000, 04:12 AM
I have my doubts regarding the SW fishing license. I'm afraid that only a small portion goes to fish resource management. It would amount to just another tax on the honest sportsman. Poachers aren't going to bother with them, and if a law isn't enforced, is it useful? In CA. striper stamps, Steahead tags and freshwater licenses are a joke. They are used only to generate $. Poaching stripers is so widespread that I feel stupid wearing my license, and don't sweat it when I forget it.
Oh, what to do...Take down his plate and maybe if the cops aren't too busy, they will enjoy dressing down the miscreant. Many policemen are avid sportsmen too.
I hate those situations, making the moral decision is easy, it's the unknown response of a strangetr that is the problem..
I would like to think that an offer to show the "sport" how to handle a fish and why would be well received but I also know that in this day and age, it could get you hurt.
I have a similar story to address the EPO issue. Every Thanksgiving my hunting buddies and I spend the morning on a pheasant hunt in the public fields. We all are members in an out of state hunting lease due to our belief that hunting public land in Mass. is extremely dangerous because of sports similar to hose that Hawkeye ran into. But, being home with the families for the holidays and the need to get out makes the morning a usually pleasant experience.
Two years ago, we were in Miles Standish, moving to another spot, the dogs were in the crates, the guns were unloaded and in cases (pre trigger locks) and as we were driving down the road we were following another truck by about 50 yards.
A nice bird flies across the road and lands in a tree on the opposite side of the road and the guy in front of us throws on the brakes, hops out with his shotgun & plugs the bird in the tree from beside his truck. We pull up as he is picking up whats left of the bird and ask him if he knows it's illegal to shoot from the road (we didn't bother to address the loaded gun in the vehicle issue). He gives us the finger, hops in his truck & drives off.
We gave his license plate number to the EPO. They called my buddy that afternoon and asked for a statement and then went to his home. Guess what they found there?
From what I remember, the guy lost his license + was issued a hefty fine.
My long winded point is that we have to be the eyes & ears of the EPO and be willing to appear as a witness if we report someone. An anonymous report just doesn't work, it leaves too many opportunites for the "sports" to get away.
It's a good idea to report the infraction to the EP regardless of physical evidence. When reporting include as much info as you can, time, place, description of the individual. Ex. 5:30am pole 205 mainland side, 5'10" wearing jeans and a white T-shirt sloped forhead and protruding jaw. All kidding aside if you report the time and place, license plate etc... EPO may pay more attention to that location. I made a report about someone who was poaching trout at little pond. The EP asked for a vehicle description, time the person fished and location. I don't know if a citation was issued but I at least feel as though I've done something put a stop to the problem.