RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important
Speaking as a member (only), I am urged to defend Bruce's views on the topic. I don't see or feel any criticisms from his call to action and am kind of surprised that we haven't dug into this a little more. Getting excited about angling is the key to stewardship, no doubt. But I believe we need to find ways to effect results on the causes that preserve our angling resource.
I'm curious how many to this point (not only on this board but across all communities from North Carolina to Nova Scotia) have printed this document and discussed it half as much as a clouser or a deceiver?
I've printed the document out and have been carrying it around while on business trips out of the country feeling guilty that I have not spent as much time as I should have in understanding the views of the commision such that I might make some good judgements and contribute to this discussion more than my introduction of the topic of hook styles a few days back.
Perhaps if all anglers in MA read it we would all know that Massachusetts is credited with the highest Recreational Mortality of the ENTIRE SEABOARD. I have a hard time doubting this from what I witness each year (although it makes me wonder what other states are doing right). In MA I have to ask - why are people cutting tinker mackerel into bitty chunk baits for schoolies on standard hooks all over Plum Island? Why are there three sets of barbed trebles on many plugs? With the average skill level per angler abyssmally low (with all due respect to the low percentage of really skilled guys out there), how many of these schoolies survive removal from one of these plugs from the rocks of any jetty?
The issue is not about gut hooking what you eat, it's about controlling the impact we humans have on sublegal striped bass that make MA their summer home. I am EMBARRASED that MA is the highest rec / mortality rate on the seaboard.
BTW - in other fisheries across the country, even in remote fisheries of the world, the regulation of mesh sizes and hook sizes, numbers of points, use of barbs, and other restrictions have made a profound difference in the survival of juvenile fish. I find it hard to believe that the sport C&R mortality would not be reduced to a tiny fraction of it's current numbers with such regulation.
I don't think Bruce wanted anyone to accept his phrasing or tactics in this issue - but I know he genuinely sought a more spirited response from those who get so much from the fishery. How many of us have printed and read the document?
On the other side of the coin, what does anyone else suggest? I'll be dedicating some time to completing this review and will be taking whatever actions I can to try to make a difference.
I'll fish the salt for the first time for the year this weekend, and I will indulge fully in it - and the following week I will spend time thinking about the views of the comission and what anglers might do to affect positive changes in the observed status of the fishery. I think that's what Bruce is trying to achieve.