Catch-and-Release [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Catch-and-Release

10-24-2000, 06:21 AM
In this Sunday's Providence Journal Sportswriter Tom Meade wrote an article mostly about one man's opinion of seeing one person foul-hooking undersize stripers in Charlestown RI. It is a poor representation of a flyfisher in general, but " A Few Bad Apples Spoil The Barrel" The article is available I believe on the website. I have alreeady sent in my displeasure to Tom Meade. I think he was wrong in publishing the article as it is one mans opinion. My belief is that surf fishermen mortally hurt more fish, with plugs with 3 treble hooks, which are ripped out with pliers, and then the fish is thrown, or kicked,heads or tails into the surf. The article also states that flyfishers should be licensed, and tested for proficiency. I don't dare piyt the article on the board as it might be copywrited. I personally cannot remember of foul-hooking any stripers. I believe that the article is a detriment of flyfishing. I would like to see comments, am I right or wrong?

10-24-2000, 06:38 AM
I forgot to give the address. Mr. Meade, in my opinion should have never put the article in the paper.

10-24-2000, 07:20 AM
You're right, Art.
This guy's editor covered his butt by titling the piece 'Reader says...' but he should have pulled the essay altogether.
Mr Mead got lazy: this irate fisherman sent him an email, and he annotated it and reprinted it. (Lord knows, we all get irate sometimes) Mead could have done some research, talked to some catch-and-release proponents (like CCA, as just one example), shown both sides. (Or at least taken a stand, shown us where his own opinion falls in relation to the quoted "source.")
It's amazing what passes for journalism!

10-24-2000, 08:37 AM
I have not read the article yet, but maybe a letter to the editor is in order. Certainly from someone who is better than me with words & stuff.

i'm so outta here
10-24-2000, 08:46 AM
This is what I just wrote to Meade (Art I copied it to you):
<font size="3">
Mr. Meade,

In response to your article in the ProJo:

<!--http--><a href="" target="_blank"></a><!--url-->

The incidence of foul hooking stripers with flies is extremely low. It was irresponsible of you to portray the activity as part and parcel of the sport. Louis Beatini is entitled to his opinions, but I feel you were negligent in your failure to represent the other side of this issue.

Since anecdotal evidence seems to be the main staple of this line of discourse, let me offer my own: I have witnessed plug and bait fishermen literally kicking stripers back into the water after having ripped three pronged treble hooks from their mouths with pliers. In the Chatham inlet, I witnessed a spin fishermen fight a 32" fish for 30 minutes(about 20 minutes too long), drag it up on the sand to admire it, leave it there for another 15 minutes, and then attempt to release it back to the water. And this type of behavior is far, far more frequently observed in bait and plug fishermen than in the fly fishing community. To allow Mr. Beatini's lunatic rants to go unchallenged is bad journalism. Yes, there are fly fishers who need to learn to get their fish back in the water sooner, but from what I've seen, fly fishermen only need to hurt one fish to learn this important lesson, whereas most plug guys go on for 40 odd years senselessly killing one fish after another in the most barbaric fashion. I urge you to write a second piece that accurately reflects the true state of affairs in the angling world.


Al DeLuca

10-24-2000, 09:43 AM
Mr.Meade is not a fisherman. No fisherman would print that, unless he were without conscience and chose to use this article to create a debate. We all know how debate causes increased attention, it's happened in our internet community several times. The difference is, we are fishermen and that was not our intent. It would not surprise me if Mr.Meade was trying to be clever behind his smug smile.

I have foul hooked a striper exactly once, and it was from a boat on the open ocean last month with BobP Jr. Clearly the fish attacked the fly and missed it's mouth. The odds of the fly and the fish finding each other between South Beach and Portugal would defy mathematica.

Starting from the top: not only are single (typically barbless) hooks less lethal than plugs - flies are far less lethal because they are not in the fish's gut like bait hooks.

Clearly it's the bait fishermen and anyone using barbed multiple treble hooks who need to be tested for proficiency in fish handling.

Even the fact that flyfishermen wear waders or wet wade makes us more 'proficient'. Guys who are lined up on the tops of rocks at low tide in sneakers just don't do a good job of releasing the vast majority of undersized stripers for every one they bonk. Their intent is to catch and kill, therefore the mortality for sub-legal bass is higher due to handling and 100% for legal bass. Do the math Tom!

Fish who are injured in the sea do not develop fungus nearly as often as they do from being dragged in the sand, stripped of their mucus by terry cloth towels, or as we often see - getting stepped on or even kneeled on! I have caught fish injured by seals who have recovered fully despite scars. I agree this is much more rare than in the faster growing species like salmon and steelhead, which heal even when torn violently by sea lions. Nonetheless the slow growth rate of stripers would imply that their ability to heal from serious injury is much lower and for every scar-recovered schoolie I have seen a hundred healed pacific salmonids. I believe it takes careful handling like flyfishermen offer to allow fish to survive their long lifetimes.

Mr.Beatini's comment about freshwater bass fishermen proves his ignorance. Freshwater bass fishermen (1) cull fish (2) keep them in livewells all day to be touted at the weigh-in shindig several hours later and thrown in at the dock (3) fish for money. There is no lesson there.

Tom, you ask what I think... I think you and your friend ought to go bait fishing with Mike Barnacle.


10-24-2000, 12:46 PM
Tom Meade was probably just trying to justify the continuation of the article; therefore his paycheck. I have foul hooked an occasional striper but I have to think that they had a hand in getting hooked by bothering the fly enough to make it feel like a hit. I generally fish dead drift style and the fish that have been foul hooked have been so in the area of the head- ooops they missed. If the concentration of fish is great enough then the chances of "snagging " a fish also inceases, but with a quick release these fish are better off than one hooked in the mouth because they can still eat- they'll just not play with their food first. Just my $.02. ronl

10-24-2000, 02:08 PM
ok, here's my $.02! Mr Meade is among the lure/bait slinging guys that resent flyfishers for a few reasons, which I believe are:
1.) we get in the way/ take too much space on the beach and jetties
2.) don't know the sport, and as we all know, there are those that resent and fear anything they can't quite understand
3.) there are those in our sport that do have an air of superiority about them(ok they're snobby). it doesn't take many of those to foul some attitudes toward a whole sport.
4.) and this is a BIGGY!!! GUILT!!! if you know that you are killing many fish by bad handling and your equipment lends itself to that, seeing others being very careful, and releasing healthy fish will pound home the guilt. If someone makes you feel guilty, your usual reaction over time will be to hate them for it!!!

as I said, just my take on it. Tom D

10-24-2000, 02:29 PM
Tom -

I agree with what you say except for taking too much room... when I want to FF a beach and there are guys fishing chunks, their line sweeps 100 yards to the left or right with the current. They stand far apart to compensate leaving no room to FF even on a huge beach.

We need room behind, and that's not interfering with other anglers. I'd be more sensitive to innocent passersby than fellow anglers anyday when FF.

We do require a little bit more room than light tackle spin guys though.

BTW - I have no problem with spin guys who use single hook sluggos, kastmasters, poppers, etc. I think light tackle lure fishing is sporting and the next best thing to FF. Of course they might think otherwise and since they catch so many fish they may have a point - if it were just about catching. I think a dedicated FF does it because he/she likes to.

(Anyone else notice how Mary and Jen start to post and all of a sudden we're PC around here?

10-24-2000, 02:38 PM
Another source of jealousy may also be our catch rate. There have been many times I have started fishing next to a spin/bait fisherman who was going fishless and proceded to pull in multiple fish. Sometimes it gives me a chance to teach and "sell" the sport of fly fishing but more often I am given nasty looks.

10-24-2000, 02:46 PM
In defence of the Largemouth Bass fishermen, it's a fact that they were the first to employ "C+R". IT was that southern guy(name escapes me) who started Bass tournaments and made a fortune. He was also a friend of George Bush Sr. Unfortunately his motives were purely mercenary ($$). Back in the 50s his tourneys were wiping out ponds of there bass and making many locals angry. So it was either adapt or loose millions.
I beleive the original C+R idea in this country was by Lee Wulff. Here's a blurb on him.

"<i>He was astute enough to see the danger to his beloved salmon from exploitation, development, netting, poaching and pollution. Long before most American and Canadian anglers realized these grand fish were endangered, Lee was lecturing politicians and preaching conservation to anglers groups. It is his everlasting credit - as a farsighted conservationist and a devoted angler - that these marvelous fish are on the way back.

"The fish you release is your gift to another angler,"Lee once said.

It was not just words to Lee Wulff. It was a way of life.</i>"

by Jack Sampson

So while Lee Wulff may have thought it up, Mr Bassmaster used it first. It's a great way to poke fun at the elitist flyfishermen.


10-24-2000, 03:31 PM
you're right Juro, I didn't mean to lump the light tackle spin guys in with the others, they do use single hooks mostly. and I've been known to toss a sluggo or two in high Tom D

10-24-2000, 03:35 PM
Interesting stuff Terry -

But the point being made, not to discount your input on the matter, was that we SWFF guys could learn something from freshwater bass fishermen. I beg to differ from that statement - we do not hold our fish captive in livewells while we continue to fish. We do not gather in crowds to cheer as we play draw poker with our fish weights against our competition on TNN. We fish for passion, not money.

I thank bass fishermen for practicing C&R early in American history; but I did not learn anything from the way they fish. I would C&R stripers regardless of any hawg-crankin' mentors or for that matter any regulations. In fact we so often live up to that by releasing our so-called keepers. It's great to keep a fish now and then now that the populations are strong, but as a general rule our "keepers" swim away.

All that being said, credit where credit is due! If indeed Bubba invented C&R then I need to kiss the next bass I catch

10-24-2000, 03:59 PM
Ok, I sent the author some email. That article is so rediculous.


10-24-2000, 04:37 PM
OK, you've got me in on it now... After reading the article I must agree with Juro.. But there is no way this guy is a flyfisherman... I mean " Special license" and "Proving proficiency". Who thinks about this kind of stuff??? and why in the world would a "journalist" print this... I think louis has not really spent 35 years flyfishing but more than likely 35 years of too much sun.

10-24-2000, 05:57 PM
Boy, has this tread topic generated some awareness and debate on the subject of bass mortality. Mr. Meade, did indeed get the pot stirring. Kind of left all of us fly fishers in dismay. The nerve of him posting an article so sacrilegious to the sport of fly-fishing. Worst of all, he left us holding the bag. Do we really know what his thoughts or position are? I suspect in the end, when this scenario unfolds, we deserve a rightful answer. Reminds me of when someone calls and reams you out, than hangs up. The event that bothers you more than the harassment, was the fact you couldnít get your two cents in. Thatís the psychology of the whole event.

Doesnít Tom Meade know that pollution, pesticides, trawling (roto-tilting the ocean floor and leaving it baron of plant and animal life), over fishing, lack of conservation programs, etc. are more detrimental to the species? Fact is, we canít agree how much biomass we do have? Never mind an accurate way to sample the module.

Is Tom Meade an enigma? Who really knows? I talk to the man often, post fishing reports in his column, and even eat lunch with him. Heck, I even let my only son go hunting with the man. Heís a dedicated writer, outdoorsman, fly fisher/ fly tier, hunter, author of fly fishing book. Whatís he up to? Who knows? Have to wait for the final curtain.

10-24-2000, 06:53 PM
As I see it, Tom Meade just printed an email sent to him by Mr. Baetini, giving voice to Baetini's opinion & not offering any opinion of his own, to draw attention to his articles & hopefully gain some readership/ traffic. He's done it.

A. I have foul hooked a striper (a schoolie) & successfully released it.
B. I have seen more pluggers & bait fishermen poorly release fish
C. I have seen more pluggers & bait fishermen behave in a manner I that I wouldn't want my kids to see (swearing, drinking in public, leaving trash, abusing fish [don't you just love the tripple flip release?])than fly rodders.

Too bad Mr. Meade isn't smart enough to follow up with Mr. Baetini to see how & where he fishes (if at all) and use it as a basis for a quality piece of journalism by possibly entertaining an opposing view.


i'm so outta here
10-24-2000, 07:56 PM
Ray might be on to something and I have to commend him in his tact and reserve while at the same time defending a friend. Honest debate sometimes puts even friends on edge.

Mr. Meade has our dander up, and perhaps it's good that we examine a bit why that is. I mean, the nagging little thought in the back of my head is: maybe I do kill more fish than I think.

What if a single barbless hook doesn't mean a rat's behind in the economy of life? What if only humans enjoy the lxury of extra energy to burn, and that in the wild, life hangs on the barest of threads and that my catching a fish robs it of the energy it needs to get its next meal and that one skipped meal to a striper spells death?

These things keep me up some nights and it's then that I think I'm hiding behind the illusion that the way I fish is a whole lot different from the way any other guy fishes.

But after this self flegellant moment passes, the reality of the situation throws me a life line. The way I fish, regardless of how I fish, is such that I will do no harm. I take great steps in preserving the sport I love. That's a mentality that transcends styles of fishing. Good people come in all shapes and sizes.

I think it's here that we fly fisherfolk <i>are</i> a tad guilty. We tend to look at a method of fishing as the measure of a man and to ignore the motivation and practices of the person. Spin guys are conservation minded too. Some release more marginal "keepers" than we do. But, and here's where we go wrong, we lump them all together as a "them" and point fingers their way whenever fish mortality rears its ugly head. We may breathe the reified air of fly fishing, but we're not without our faults.

Tom has opened quite a can of worms and I hope Ray is right, that he will complete what he started and help us become better fishermen.

10-24-2000, 08:20 PM
How absurd. I wonder how many stripers Mr. Beatini has foul-hooked, played to exhaustion, or otherwise injured or killed during his 40 years of striper fishing (35 of which included flyfishing). Maybe he could do a follow-up email giving the statistics for the mortality/injury rate for stripers he caught with flyfishing vs. non-flyfishing tackle. The way you treat the fish has a greater effect on the rate of injury than the type of gear you use.

Mr. Beatini also says we can learn something from tournament bass fishermen. Well here's a good one: I saw a tv show where the host caught a bass, got it near the boat, and then pointed the rod tip down and started swishing the rod back and forth past the fish. He said, "When you see the tournament guys doing this, they're trying to stick some more hooks into the fish so that they can get it into the boat." I don't know if it's true, but that's what he said. And as for landing the fish quickly, they sure do. Then they fling the fish into the boat and pounce on it as it flops around on the carpeted deck.

Can't wait to see if Mr. Meade publishes any rebuttals.


10-24-2000, 09:16 PM
Well Ray, didn't mean to sound offensive to your acquaintance. I've figured out by now that Tom is using rhetorical positioning of a cultural / philosophical rift forming on the Rhody coastline to his advantage. No one who is a hunter and fisherman, by your mention, would actually believe that what the email'er claims is credible sports news.

I am actually curious to meet the man now!

<font size="1">It's going to be a l-o-n-g winter!</font><!--1-->

10-24-2000, 10:23 PM
Was I the only one who picked up on this?

The fisrt part of the article goes into a rant about the evils of SWFF and the next byline goes here.

Surf Derby at hand
The Ocean State Surf Fishing Derby to benefit Save The Bay is
scheduled to run Wednesday through Saturday, with an awards brunch
next Sunday. The Saltwater Edge in Newport is headquarters.

Lures for the catch-and-release tournament will be limited to a Razzle
Dazzle for fly fishers and a Danny Plug for conventional-tackle casters.
The entry fee is $10.

The top club will win a $250 donation to Save The Bay and the top
three individual anglers will receive gift certificates to The Saltwater

For more information, call the outfitter in Newport at 842-0062, or visit
the Web site,

Me thinks he's just playing the devils advocate to meet his deadline. I know there's a pun in there somewhere.

10-25-2000, 09:04 AM
Just a reminder that there is another side of the Largemouth scene beyond the southern-tvshowing-tobbacochewing-stockcar_racing-bubba-He is the yankee Bass angler. Lot's of these guys use single hooks, fish from canoes or Jon boats, and generally lip the largemouth bass boatside with a decent release to follow. Many of theses guys are good sportsman. I concede that the competitiveness of the Bass Tourneys tend to create bad conservation tactics. But that's not the norm around our area. There probably are a few things we could learn from them. I'm just not willing to lump Largemouth fishermen into one big group. Like the old man used to say: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts".

Nathan Smith
10-25-2000, 10:07 AM
I have been quite lately but Terry I am a southern-tvshowing-tobbacochewing-stockcar_racing-bubba and them there isa fighten words boy!!!! Anyway, I sent a note to the guy too. That was a stupid article. It just shows how behind web publishing is as far as content editing. Then again he's gotten alot of people to read his article.

i'm so outta here
10-25-2000, 10:39 AM
Boys - this is the point I was trying to make in my other post. When we lump people into stereotypical categories we lose touch with the deeper truth of what it means to be a responsible angler. Terry, say you're sorry to Nathan and tell him he's a good Bubba

Nate, you're right. I think Tom was trying to illicit a reponse. He certainly did a good job with that.

10-25-2000, 11:11 AM
I just assumed it was me he was watching (trying not to) snag pogies with my fly and he just doesn't know what a striper looks like.

10-25-2000, 11:27 AM
Al: just so there is no confusion, you are restating my point right? I was trying to illustrate the folly of looking at the largemouth fishermen as a bunch of fish killers when my experience in New England has been anything but that. My description of the stereotype:

was meant to be a reference to the emerging stereotype in this thread not mine. And I think that Nate was aware of that right Nate? So to sum up Idisagree with the stereotype.

Geez, I forgot what a pain the internet can be. I better shut up and go tie some flies, better yet where's my mandolin? I need to go pick some southern bluegrass.

10-25-2000, 11:38 AM
Nate -

Someone pretending to be an ornery "southern-tvshowing-tobbacochewing-stockcar_racing-bubba" is posting under your nickname! We all know you as the "Rplxi totin', Bauer M4 crankin', young and upper fly guy"!

All in good fun guys.

Hey anyone wanna talk politics, religion, or....

i'm so outta here
10-25-2000, 12:06 PM
Terry - I'm just trying to make light of a somewhat tense situation.

In reading over your post, I do get the sense that you are drawing a distinction between southern bass fishermen (fish killers) and "Yankee" bass fishermen (the good guys). It's the same thing in a different guise. You're defining a "them" in opposition to an "us" and pointing a finger of blame.

The three of us have fished together and all things being equal, I'd say we are equally conservation minded. So what's the point in attempting to categorize folk by their geographic locale or style of fishing? I'll say it again, good people come in all shapes and sizes. Nate is one of the good guys. I realize it wasn't your intent to categorize him as anything but that. However, I have to call them like I see them......


10-25-2000, 12:50 PM
OK Guys, lets move on, afterall what do you think Meade would think after reading these threads.. "Boy, this is great, look what I conjured up".

10-25-2000, 01:29 PM
I agree with John. After my initial outrage wore off, I decided to not even respond to a Lazy & contrived article that wont amount to a hill of beans.

10-25-2000, 01:52 PM
It has been brought to my attention that my previous description of southern bass fishermen may have been perceived as an insult. That is not what I meant of course but I realize it could be interpreted that way. So I apologize to all who may find it offensive. Sometimes our word selection can be careless.


10-25-2000, 10:08 PM
I just got a reply from Mr. Meade tonight. He said he is going to publish as many as he can. He also said that response has been many. I am really surprised that he sent me e-mail, as he is not my favorite outdoor writer.
Going fishing tomorrow, maybe I cam snag some stripers.

i'm so outta here
10-25-2000, 10:17 PM
Terry, yeah, and I've brought it to my own attention that I can be an argumentative prick sometimes :) Sorry I rode this kinda hard.

In looking at Terry's post in a calmer light, I now see that he really is on the same side of the fence as me. Good bass people are right in own back yards.

BTW, I too got a response from Meade:

"Thanks for your response Mr. DeLuca. We'll try to publish as many as we can. And there were many.

Mission accomplished, Tom. &lt;little does he know I'll be sending him an invoice ;)&gt;

God, please let this be the last post on this thread.....

Nathan Smith
10-26-2000, 02:00 PM
I can take being called a bubba but juro calling me a yuppy is going to far. I demand an apology. Is it my fault I don't have a wife and can spend my money on what ever I want. I also am up holding a long standing tradition of southern bubbas by spending more on my fishing and hunting gear then on my house.

10-26-2000, 07:59 PM
Sorry? More like straight out jealous! God knows I love my wife and family but don't forget who used to be on the other side of the counter at Blue Northern. I don't call you anything in earnest but a friend, Nate.

Nonetheless, I guess anyone who hasn't meet you might misread my message. Folks, don't listen to me when I use a smiley - just ASSUME I am tongue in cheek. Now on the other hand, anyone who knows you already knows you are a dedicated outdoorsman.

Besides yuppies don't drive pickup trucks!

10-27-2000, 09:09 AM
Nate, you just made me squirt coffee through my nose..good one!

Reminds of that redneck list that went around the internet a few years back:

#37- "You know you're a redneck when your truck has curtains but your house doesn't."