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Bluewater Extreme Test the limits of the fly fishing domain

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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-24-2006 07:18 PM
Fair Game?

Interesting article in the latest FFSW on this subject. Not specific to tunoids but makes you think about where your ethics lie. Personally, I think I am fine with any mortality rate as long as it is within MSY per Joskos point. For me, I think it goes back to the fact that this is a blood sport and I am the alpha species. So the issue is are we overfishing or not.

08-23-2006 07:21 PM
Adrian I guess if your own rules are consistent with NMFS rules then that's o.k.

50% mortality on released tuna seems like a bit of a waste.
08-23-2006 07:00 PM
josko I think we have to accept that at least half of 'released' school tuna don't make it more than a few hours. We prob'ly got a dozen or two shorts yesterday, all on heavy gear, and at least a half of those looked hopeless boatside. None of those fish came out of the water, all were caught on 30# strike drags, released within seconds, and still more than a few sank tail-first.
If you fish for SBFT or any other small tuna, you need to accept a 50%+ release mortality. Nothing wrong with that per se - it certainly doesn't bother me, although I will move away from small fish if they're all over.
Is there something somehow unethical over killing a dozen SBFT in the course of a day's outing as long as one is fishing by NMFS rules?
08-23-2006 09:43 AM
Jim Miller Just a thought
I've always removed the smaller tuna/albies from the water. I have found it best to revive by sending them head first back into the water. Somewhat forcefully and from about 3 feet above the water. It gets them going in the right direction and revived.

I have NOT had much luck just waving a tuna back and forth at boat side.

Big tuna (over 70 #) it is best to put the boat in gear and hold them along boatside to force water thru the gills. I do this with a small hand gaff thru the lower jaw.
All that said.... I'm not sure how many become crab bait.
08-23-2006 08:18 AM
Smcdermott Juro,

Very good point and something I have thought about. My guess is the tin SC15s would rust out in short order. I personally would have no problem donating a fly per tuna. I certainly donate enough to the slammer blues that quite often hang with them. I always wondered given their size relative to the billfish if the fly would impede their feeding or otherwise cause more harm. I don't recall ever seeing any studies on this size fish. Any thoughts there?

08-23-2006 08:12 AM
juro Sean M,

Without a doubt you are the poster boy for good SBFT treatment, but it can't be better to take a fish out of water.

Your points about holding the fish from a death spiral are very good and clearly spoken from experience, but I wonder if there is some way of keeping them in the water? For instance billfish are now cut off with sacrificial hooks because of proven harm to the fish when pulled on board.

To me there is nothing more beautiful than a fish that is not removed from the water when caught. With all due respect there are so many pictures on the internet where the fish look like they'd been beat to a pulp before "release".

Your recent photos prove that fish can be landed with care, they look like they could launch from your hands back into blitz mode.

Yet I would think that a sacrifical metal hook and a cut leader after some gorgeous boatside photos would be satisfying for me during the SBFT no-kill season, again just my opinion.

If the opportunity arose I would vote for a no-lift rule during the SBFT no-kill season, no holds barred during it though as most of those are going in the cooler anyway. Kinda of a dumb statement as I am sure no such thing will come up for vote.

Again, this is not a statement of my prowess as a tuna hunter, experience is not the point in question. It is simply a fish handling discussion and some of the other adopted techniques whether pelagic species or pacific salmon might have some value during the schoolie no-kill season, in my humble opinion.

This is not a targeted debate, it's a general topic IMHO - seeing tarpon fought dead, billfish across the laps, steelhead on a boga grip... I believe it's not just our prerogative as anglers to care about fish handling, but our obligation.

I wish everyone took as much care as you and BigDave do!
08-23-2006 07:52 AM
Smcdermott Sean,

I don't know if any of the hook release tools would work. My guess is they wouldn't and here is why. If you do fight the fish quick and get them to the boat in say under 10 mins, hopefully well under, for a 20lb bluefin they are still pretty green at the boat. In my experience the angler, and hopefully partner, need to time the spiral they will get into so that the net arrives just as they are coming around. The angler does they're best to get the tuna's head out of the water and into the net. Get the fish quickly out of the net, paying attention to remove the netting from the fins, and remove the hook. We are usually talking size 2/0 at the most so it may take a second to figure out the orientation of the hook and therefore the best angle to get it out quickly. Snap a few pictures if it is a first fish or something important and get them back in the water. This whole process should probably be 30 seconds or less.

08-23-2006 07:36 AM
sean Hey Sean,

No worries. Feelings not hurt at all and a valid question. I have caught a few on gear down in florida but not on fly. My feelings are just from reading the studies on hooking mortality.

I am not worried about that with guys like yourself who are concious of the fact that mortality can happen if proper fighting techniques are not used. You know the concerns which is the most important thing. Unfotunately it is not the case with most anlgers and hearing about high albie mortality just has me concerned is all. Most anglers I have seen fighting fish do so poorly. Saw some 30 minute albie battles last year in south county that you just knew the fish was not going to make it.

As far as release methods I really do not know what is the best method. I have always thought with all fish if you are going to release try and keep em in the water. Would a long pole with a cup hook on the end aid in hook removal while the fish is in the water? Worked with coho salmon out west and I would think would be a good release option for tunoids but I could be wrong.

I also know some of the bass I catch probably do die. Studies show probably more than 90% of bass survive with is better than tuna but I know it is a blood sport and live with it. I am more worried about big bass mortality as schoolies get landed so quickly I do not worry much about them dying on me.

I hope my post was not taken as being judgemental, it was not meant that way at all and my pot is as black as anyone elses. Discussion is always good and everyone usually omes away from it with something.

08-22-2006 07:49 PM
juro I can't argue with that. If it's cool for both parties and not misunderstood as it sometimes can be, then why not... here goes:

32"?? Cripes - both Sean and I have caught rainbow trout bigger than that

OK back to my *new* civil, nice guy self.
08-22-2006 07:22 PM
Smcdermott Juro,

I see your point. I probably wouldn't have phrased it as bluntly as I did if I didn't consider Sean a friend. However, I personally think we should be able to directly challenge each other just like we would a magazine article or any other source of information. How else do we quanitify the weight we should place on the opinions given. Sean may respond that he has caught hundreds of yellowfin off in the Pacific and now his statement would hold a lot more weight. If he says he has never caught anything more than stripers, blues etc...then I won't place as much weight on it. I will still consider it in my continued efforts to improve my skills as an angler. I will tell you I have caught about 30 SBFT and Skipjack over the past two seasons all on fly and at least that many albies over the years. That is the basis for my opinions. If you include the other anglers catches I have witnessed both on my boat and on shore you could probably almost double those totals. Not trying to brag as I am sure there are others who have caught that many in a week. Just being honest and letting the readers know where I am coming from.

As for the 46" fish I cannot comment with certainty. Biggest fish I have gotten was probably about 32". However, that fish was landed on a 10wt and was full of vigor when it went back in the water. I personally think it really comes down to angler skill. I don't think Derek and Nat of First Light would continue to boat the fish they do if they thought they were killing them all. It would be great to get their input on this subject. However, I think we all need to keep in mind that we participate in a blood sport and there will be fatalities. My guess is I have killed more schoolie bass than big fish as they tend to inhale flies. Doesn't mean I will stop fishing if it happens. Hopefully I will get some shots at those bigger tuna this fall in CCB and give you my opinion based on personal experience rather than hypothesis. My hunch is you can land them in good health if you are in shape and have the technique down but I am questioning whether or not it will be an enjoyable experience.

08-22-2006 04:59 PM
Jane you ignorant sl*t

I think it's healthy to challenge each other to get it right, but my feeling is that the direct 'what do you know' voicing seen twice in this thread tends to defeat the purpose of healthy debate.

Here's my point - healthy debate leads to sharper understandings among the observers and participants. Acrid remarks lead to more acrid remarks and a downward sprial into an unproductive and sour exchange. I should know

But I learn quickly. Enuff moderatin' ...

On topic I've been fortunate to catch a fair share of hardtails over the years, every single one on a fly and most before anyone publicly mentioned casting a fly to SFBT (which BTW is quite recent). During this time my observations based on my fish and those around me - hardtails croak themselves out quite easily, much easier than stripers or blues. You have to be careful with them as mentioned above.

SBFT in the big albie size look like good flyrod fodder, but I have to wonder how a 46" schoolie would fare when released after a flyrod battle, landed on deck. I'll bet a tank of gas it doesn't fare too well.

My earlier point was simple - maybe targeting them (casting to and battling shorts) during the kill season (Aug 25th - Sept 14th I think) makes a lot more sense. That way you can eat anything you hook, battle and land. Keep in mind that's just a point of view.

If it doesn't make sense to you, feel free to voice your objective points to the contrary in a civil manner as is the norm for this site.
08-22-2006 02:02 PM
Originally Posted by sean
I know albie mortlity is really high as well. Higher than BFT. Would also like to see them kept in the water at all times if one is planning to release them.


How many albies or baby tuna have you caught? Not trying to start a pissing match but in my experience keeping them in the water would probably do more harm than good. I asked around from guys with a lot of experience this winter and they seemed to feel the same. The fact is you need to know how to fight these fish per Dave's point. The techniques for any tunoid are pretty similar in my opinion. Tight drag, let them make the first run and as soon as they stop get on em. When they go vertical trap the line in between your fingers to prevent drag slip and do your best to point the rod at them to get maximum lift. But you need to get the hook out and on the Albies and baby bluefin that is much easier done in the boat IMO. If fishing from shore even more difficult. Angler safety has to come before the fish and the locations we generally fish for them are way to dangerous to try and perform an in the water release. I generally use 20lb fluro these days and can put these fish in the boat in pretty short order. Very few have not looked energetic upon release. Yes you will always get a few that suck in the fly and get hooked deeper than you would like. I have to admit I have not given the circle hooks a try. I will on the albies this year to get a feel for them. I do use SC15s which are a bit of a hybrid and tend to get good hooksets in the corner of the mouth.

08-21-2006 08:09 PM
juro Dave -

I did re-read your first post and can now see that you were trying to describe how to avoid letting them fight to the death. I stand corrected.

The rest of the thread seems to have spiraled downward from there.

As far as your last reply; I am going to abstain from breaking down each point and replying even though some of them would solicit some response. As site founder, I've found it's simply a no win situation to try.

So I will just say this: having experience ahead of you is not such a bad thing. I recall the day I met you on Monomoy.

To me discovery is the best part of fishing. Maybe it's best to have something to discover ahead of us as we put experience behind us. I have put plenty behind, and still have plenty ahead. I like it that way.
08-21-2006 04:39 PM
BigDave I suppose every bass you catch over the course of a season is over 28"?

Or can you prove to me that every fish you release over the course of a season sports a 100% survival rate?

Otherwise your assertation is very hypocritical.

If you had actually read my post you might infer that when fought properly, SBFT are quite peppy when released.
08-21-2006 02:46 PM
BigDave I'd heard they fight to the death from a lot of folks if so then targeting them in a no-kill season seems unsportsmanlike at the very least if not crying for better regulations.
If that's an association you make by my confirming your statement that 'they fight to the death' and if indeed you are targeting them during no-kill season, which I had no idea one way or other - then I guess by saying the pursuit seems unsportsmanlike you could take it that way if you wanted. But that would be entirely up to you.

On the contrary, that's not what I hoped to convey. If that was my intent I think I would have said "Dave you are unsportsmanlike" and duck for cover
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