Bonefish C&R Mortality/Predation
This may be old news for lots of people on here, but if you are at all new to bonefishing, this is some good info to have stored away somewhere in your noggin.
As I was asking some friends about possible content for my bonefish blog someone recommended I look into some of the research that had been done about bonefish C&R and predation/mortality rates.
What I ended up coming across was pretty interesting stuff. I've read other studies about trout C&R and trout seem to be pretty resilient, really. A saltwater environment is much different from a trout stream, however... as there are cudas and sharks that love munching on bonefish.
The take away from the two studies I read on C&R bonefishing had these nuggets...
- A fish that lost equilibrium was about 6X (30%)as likely to suffer immediate predation as a fish that did not lose equilibrium.
- Loss of equilibrium was, in almost all cases, the result of extended (more than 15 seconds, as I recall) air exposure and/ore extended handling.
- Fish that did not lose equilibrium had a pretty good chance of surviving (5% mortality)
- Flats with visibly more predators resulted in much higher mortality (in one angler's experience in the study he had 80% mortality in one day on one flat, all due to predation and all within 2 min of releasing the fish)
- Warmer water amplified the impacts of handling/air exposure.
- Bonefish are most at risk immediately following release and if they can survive the first few minutes after release, they will likely survive the C&R experience.
The implications for C&R bonefishing might mean that on warmer days, or on flats where more predators are visible, you may want to limit or eliminate air exposure or excessive handling of the fish... meaning probably no out-of-the-water photos.
Just some food for thought for those of you who head to warmer climes to chase after bonefish.
If you want links to the studies, just PM me.
A boney blog.
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