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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a very important article written by the MD DNR on circle hooks and striped bass survival...

<!--http--><a href="http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/recreational/crsb.html" target="_blank"> HERE </a><!--url-->

Let's discuss this after it's been read a little...
 

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2 things strike me:

1. Deep Hooking leads to higher mortality

2. If you do deep hook a fish, traditional bait hooks are worse not because of their point but the bend. The bend strikes the sidewall when you pull on it. Interesting.

Correct me if I'm wrong but as a barbless FFman in New England most of our hookings are "shallow" and below the air temp of 95 deg. yielding the LOWEST mortality rate of 0.8%.
I see no need for the use of circle hooks in my practices...right? I guess the one thing we can do given this data set is to lobby for circle hook use by bait fishermen to protect the stocks. And I can tell you they ain't gonna like it! Too bad.

Terry
 

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Those are certainly impressive differences.

I wonder if fishing shops would allow a group of concerned anglers to post a tasteful poster near thier hooks that would inform the buyer of the difference.

Something like:

"Small fish released today are tomorrow's trophies. Use a circle hook and let 9% more of your released fish have a chance at being a trophy."
 

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Terry I think you are right about streamer style flys, but circle hooks might make alot of since with crustation flys like crabs and sand fleas (southern fly). Fish more often inhale these and get hooked deep
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hawkeye -

A bit of my ol' marketing days coming thru but how about "Use circle hooks for bait and reduce mortality by up to 90%".

Same figures, but with the extra zero when applied to the difference within the mortality percentage range.

Good idea, I prepared something to this effect for C&R but lost it with an old hard-drive. Hmmm... time to archive!
 
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Here goes a thought on saying anything you want to with statistics.

In the results section of the paper is the following "Anglers caught 476 striped bass with conventional bait hooks and 640 with non-offset circle hooks". If I slip into the marketing mode I would switch this to "In studies anglers caught 25% more fish with circle hooks". Further explanation, if needed, could be that with by using circle hooks you spend less time re rigging your bait and more time with the bait in the water.

Now if I could figure out how to hook a fish using a circle hook I might believe the hype I just wrote.
 
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Circle hooks have been used for a long time by long-liners - both pelagic and deepwater (like for deepwater snappers). They like these hooks because they hook the fish well without being set by, for example, a hard jerk of the rod. Also, they tend not to gut hook, so are more easily removed - speed of rebaiting and fewer replaced hooks on the lines are money to these guys. In other words, the findings of the MD DNR folks aren't surprising.

However, don't get too ambitious about applying the results of this study across the board. Note - this, and other similar studies, are providing very valuable information on C&R mortality! But remember that any research project is, just by the nature of the complexities of the system being studied, limited in scope. In large part, that is why biologists so often answer "It depends..." when asked a question about some aspect of ecology, etc. Nonetheless, we know that there is mortality associated with C&R, so studies like this are valuable in helping to incorporate this source of mortality into management plans.

But regarding the subject of hooking fish with circle hooks. The key is to NOT set the hook like you would normally. Circle hooks will set themselves, or to put it another way, the fish will hook themselves. If you try to set a circle hook with a raised rod, strip strike, etc, you will more than likely pull the hook right out of the fish's mouth. This can be very hard to train yourself to do, but it works. Once the fish is hooked, then you can apply a traditional set with the rod just to make sure.

Aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
John -

Thanks again for the fascinating article re: fish school behavior. If anyone else is interested let me know and I will forward it.

Aaron -

I think the 'meta' level significance of the study is that it captures that flies and lures kill significantly less fish than bait; and that bait fishing is best done with circle hooks. It also infers that artificial / retrieved methods (like flyfishing)represents a small portion of the kill problem - particularly when the design of the hook is simple. This is stated as a research observation with no elitism whatsoever. It's a matter of conscience in my book.

Great discussion,

Juro
 

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I tried circle hooks last year and found like Aaron that the fish did a better job of hooking themselves than I did(old habits are hard to break). Once the fish was hooked though they didn't get off even with alot of slack in the line. This takes away some of the challenge of fly fishing; ie, keeping a tight line to the fly. Also the only hooks that I've found for flies in the circle variety(non-offset) have been Eagle Claw and the finish doesn't hold up to the salt. All the others have been offset and to me would do the same damage as the regular hooks; plus straightening out the offset seems to weaken the hook, not to mention ruining the finish that protects the hook from the salt. I agree with the use of circle hooks for crustacen flies because they are inhaled- I find this early in the spring when I'm using clousers to imitate crabs and shrimp along the bottom- the fish are also smaller at this time also; but the hook is generally in the gill rakers not the stomach as it would be with bait. I agree that bait fishermen should be using circle hooks because they tend not to hold their rods so the fish can get the bait deeper than someone using artificials. It would be tough to enforce this though, but worth the try. Ron
 
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Juro -- Read what Aaron wrote again. I think you're missing his point. You can't point to one study and say, "See, I told you so!" There are a lot of questions still left to be answered. All we can say here is that fish that are shallow hooked on bait rods died less frequently than fish that are gut hooked. We don't know, for example, if the longer fight associated with landing a fish on the fly rod has any detrimental effect. Also, it's reasonable to assume that if temps above 95 degrees escalates the mortality rate of shallow hooked fish to more than 17%, there may be other circumstances and situations that do the same. It's way too early to say with certainty "that flies and lures kill significantly less fish than bait" You can believe it, as I myself do, but it's just a belief.....

I think we are far too eager to exonerate ourselves in this matter, but you all know how I feel on that subject, so I'll just let it lie (sort of
)
 
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Thanks Al for clarifying my middled point.
Juro - one thing that concerns me in so many resource issues, is that we too often end up in a me vs. you situation. I am not speaking to any of us, or at this specific issue of C&R mortality, but about the whole process in general. So many resource use issues degrade to me vs. you - commercial vs. recreational fishing in dozens of fisheries, indigenous vs recreational vs commercial fishing rights, catch and release vs harvest, native fish vs hatcheries, PETA et al vs recreational fishing, and the list goes on. Too often, we lose sight of the processes and dynamics of the system we are talking about and instead focus on relative merits of the arguments of the user groups. Perhaps we should focus first on circle hooks for multiple user groups, or single hooks for all user groups (includes getting rid of trebles AND two-hook fly rigs), and other results from this and similar papers that are common to all, before talking about which group is doing what to this fish or that. I think that in the long run this approach is more constructive. After all, a fly rod in the hands of an inexperienced angler will contribute to the mortality of a large percentage of released fish for no other reason than prolonged fight times.

Just my $.02

Aaron
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm confused again.

Do you believe that bait doesn't kill more fish than other means?

What's "I told you so from?"

Juro
 

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I for one believe that bait fishing kills more. Yes that is my belief. But are we only limited to acting on things proven by well funded PHds over and over? Governments have been brought down over beliefs. There's nothing wrong with forming an opinion based on what you witness which is that the bait guys kill more fish. And there's nothing wrong with us grumbling about it in a Flyfishing discussion group.
Long live the barbless catch n release fly fishermen!

Terry
 
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What Aaron said.


It always seems to boil down to a matter of who gets the blame. What <i>I</i> believe has little to do with shaping behavior and getting results (but as I said, I believe fly fishing does kill less fish).

Persuasion is about putting aside <i>a priori</i> beliefs and demonstrating to the persuadee that his <i>own</i> beliefs dictate a certain course of action. That's the direction in which I'd like to see us moving. That's all.
 
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Terry -- I appreciate what you're saying. All I'm saying is that if you really want to make a difference, you have to assume a stance that allows the other guy to come around to your way of thinking. Shouting our opinion from the virtual roof top is great for board moral, but I think putting it on a poster only entrenches the opposing belief.... i.e. we need a well thought out "public face" for the issue of C&R.
 

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You call it blame. I prefer to think of it as targeting the guys who are actually doing the offense. Shall we preach to the choir and tell the FFmen to stop guthooking with chunk mackeral? OR teach the bait fisherman to use circle hooks. I prefer the ladder but by your standards above that would be us vs. them or the blame game. Semantics.

TerryW
 
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Juro said:
"I'm confused again. Do you believe that bait doesn't kill more fish than other means?"

I didn't say that, and have never said a position on fly vs bait vs lure. My point was that as soon as one group becomes the focus of another's ire, this group (in this hypothetical case - bait fishermen) becomes defensive, the argument is immediately polarized, and little is accomplished. This situation is especially difficult in a management system such as ours where as much as possible management is supposed to be by consensus (thus the Councils), which necessitates cooperation.

For the most part, aren't bait fishers targeting keepers (which means they want to securely hook and then kill the fish)?
Historically, fisheries management by gear regulation has not worked, so I kind of doubt limiting use of bait would work in this case (enforcement would be a nightmare to say the least). In this, and many other cases, I think a different approach is needed to effectively manage the fishery. What that approach is, I'm not sure, plus that's an entirely different discussion.

"What's "I told you so from?" "
I have no idea, now I'm confused.

TerryW said:
"I for one believe that bait fishing kills more. Yes that is my belief. But are we only limited to acting on things
proven by well funded PHds over and over? Governments have been brought down over beliefs. There's nothing wrong with forming an opinion based on what you witness which is that the bait guys kill more fish. And there's nothing wrong with us grumbling about it in a Flyfishing discussion group. Long live the barbless catch n release fly fishermen!"

Hi Terry,

I completely agree with you on the right to have beliefs, especially on the right to grumble, and on the supposition that beliefs are what drive our actions. It would be foolish to say otherwise. Nonetheless, I am once again throwing dirt into the gears. At the public comment sessions of the various management councils, people are invited to take the floor and express their beliefs. By and large, however, the management decisions, in the end, are based on the science and the consensus of the members of the Councils. This is why I advocate a less polarizing approach.
Hey, I am also sickened by seeing another angler haul a fish up onto the beach or rocks, let it beat itself to death as he removes the hook, and then throw the half-dead and bleeding fish back into the water.

Aaron
 
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Fine, Terry. I'm the egg-head purveyor of bonehead semantics and sophistry. But the fact remains that one study isn't enough to convince anyone of anything (except those who hear exactly what they wanted to in it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I may have been guilty of spending only a drive-by moment on this thread earlier today, so I have just re-read it.

The crux of Aaron's post:

<i><font size="1">But remember that any research project is, just by the nature of the complexities of the system being studied, limited in scope. In large part, that is why biologists so often answer "It depends..." when asked a question about some aspect of ecology, etc. Nonetheless, we know that there is mortality associated with C&R, so studies like this are valuable in helping to incorporate this source of mortality into management plans.</font><!--1--></i>

No one denies that there is mortality associated with C&R, and total agreement that research is not an exact science. In fact I appreciate the savvy views from Aaron and expect to kick some flats ass with him this summer. http://216.71.206.188/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif" border="0" align="middle">

My reply:

<font size="1"><i>I think the 'meta' level significance of the study is that it captures that flies and lures kill significantly less fish than bait; and that bait fishing is best done with circle hooks. It also infers that artificial / retrieved methods (like flyfishing)represents a small portion of the kill problem - particularly when the design of the hook is simple. This is stated as a research observation with no elitism whatsoever. It's a matter of conscience in my book.</font><!--1--></i>

Trying to respond to the "across the board" warning in Aaron's post, I used the word 'meta' to abstract the general sense for what I observed from the research... essentially my "beliefs". In reading the MD DNR report again, I find plenty of reasons to hold beliefs.

Al's points:

<font size="1"><i>Juro -- Read what Aaron wrote again. I think you're missing his point. You can't point to one study and say, "See, I told you so!" There are a lot of questions still left to be answered. All we can say here is that fish that are shallow hooked on bait rods died less frequently than fish that are gut hooked. We don't know, for example, if the longer fight associated with landing a fish on the fly rod has any detrimental effect. Also, it's reasonable to assume that if temps above 95 degrees escalates the mortality rate of shallow hooked fish to more than 17%, there may be other circumstances and situations that do the same. It's way too early to say with certainty "that flies and lures kill significantly less fish than bait" You can believe it, as I myself do, but it's just a belief.....</font><!--1--></i>

I agree that there is nothing conclusive in the way of exonerating flyfishing. That was not my intent. Your point that there are many *other* factors that would weigh into a true comparison are well taken, in fact if stress (temps, salinity, etc) are one of the two mortality factors (the other being hooking) then there is the very real possibility that large fish fought in low salinity water in warm temps on a fly rod (or any combination of these) could be a very deadly combination. It warrants further study and I will make it a point to avoid such conditions (except perhaps the size of fish part! <img src="http://216.71.206.188/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif)

I think it boils down to two things: <b>belief and action</b> The rest is unsubstantiated, which is in effect what Al said (belief is all we can take away from it), and Terry emphasized (acting on belief is a good thing) as Aaron warns us not to be taken by research.

I say once again... good discussion!
 
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