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Old 08-23-2006, 07:52 AM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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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.

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Old 08-23-2006, 08:12 AM
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juro juro is offline
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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!
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:18 AM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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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?

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Old 08-23-2006, 09:43 AM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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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.
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:00 PM
josko josko is offline
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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?
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:21 PM
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Adrian Adrian is offline
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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.
When sight fishing, look over your shoulder from time to time, you never know who's behind you
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Old 08-24-2006, 07:18 PM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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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.

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