Originally Posted by tennswede
I'm not really looking for a debate, I'm more in need of counseling.
Hans, although I haven't had the pleasure of meeting you face-to-face, I have very much enjoyed your posts over the last couple of years and have a lot of respect for your insights. They have always been very informative and have helped me immensely.
While I have improved in abilities, I must confess I'm starting to have some of the same thoughts. I had never thought much about it in the past (probably because I wasn't catching that many fish), but the more I catch, the more I have started thinking about the fish, as well. Very few, of the fish I catch seem much worse for the wear, but every once in a while, I'll foul hook one, and it bugs me for a good while afterwards. Even using barbless hooks, we are still harming the fish, even if only slightly.
I caught part of a movie my wife was watching a few months back, called of all things "Catch and Release". The movie was quite forgettable, but what stuck with me is what one of the characters said-something to the effect of: "Catch and Release fishing is about the cruelest sport I can imagine. You hook a fish and play with it until its exhausted. The whole time the fish is fighting for its life, it doesn't know you are going to release it. You'd be better off killing it and eating it, at least the fish wouldn't be scared to death, suffer and be humiliated all in the name of fun
I'm not sure I agree completely with the quote, but at times I also feel like we are causing suffering in the name of fun. Sometimes I prefer to not catch anything, or am happy about long distance release a fish. I enjoy being out in a stream, finding fish and getting them to rise, more than the actual catching part. I know that must sound lame to a lot of folks.
One thing that always changes my thought process about it, is knowing that there are 2-4k trout per mile of stream in the park. And that we all are very concerned for their well-being and do more to improve the lives of those trout than if there wasn't anyone fishing. Had no one ever engaged in fishing, we probably would have never seen the resurgence of trout in the Park (even if it is different species). Also, I know that there are also many folks who belong to Ducks Unlimited. That seems more of a stretch than TU, because, in the end, we are trying to not kill the fish (unless we are eating them). There isn't really any Shoot&Release programs...
I can't wait for the temps to come down...I think I've started losing it...