Prompt Release Critical to Fish Survival

by Tony Bishop on January 24, 2008

Catch and release is promoted as a way to enjoy angling for years to come. Catch one, take a picture and set it free. But two recent studies, including one by researchers at the University of Illinois, concluded the practice works only if fish are released promptly.

In the journal, “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A,” researcher Cory Suski suggests that keeping a fish out of water for even 4 minutes might be too long to ensure its survival. Variables include the length of time it takes to land a fish, Suski said. The longer it takes, the harder it is for a fish to recover from even short periods out of water.

Water temperature also determines whether the fish lives or dies. The warmer the water, the longer the recovery, he said. Meanwhile, the fish is easier prey for predators looking for a meal.

I go along with the ‘hold your breath’ guide to how much time a fish should be out of the water – as you lift the fish out of the water hold your breath – when you need to take a breath put the fish back in the water.

For more on releasing fish see this.

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Looking at Water

by Tony Bishop on January 24, 2008

Ok, so you are a fisherman driving alongside a river or sea – how hard is it to keep your eyes on the road?

Nice little piece of philosophical writing from Flyfishmagazine…

“My wife just doesn’t understand why I always feel compelled to look at water. Many times as we drive down a road that just happens to be running along the bank of a small stream or river, I have to be reminded to keep my eyes on the road and not glued to the creek to our left or right…” [More]

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Wading Woes Overcome

by Tony Bishop on November 18, 2007

It was not a big river, but bigger than a stream. The water was around mid-thigh deep, pouring downstream at a fair clip, over a solid rock bottom, strewn with smallish boulders.

A strong wader would take about five or six strong, surging steps to cross the deep bit with little or no trouble. My fit, 30 something, son went first and made it look easy, so off I went, but not with Jason’s confidence, unfortunately.

About 3 years ago a got a bionic hip and a marvelous piece of engineering it is too – I now have much more flexibility, and no pain – a wonderful piece of machinery. The only side affect is a slight but occasionally noticeable decline in balance when all my weight is on the titanium equipped leg.

I allowed this small factor to become a big factor over several months and my wading prowess had declined rapidly, to the point where I stuttered and fumbled my way, tentatively feeling for good footing while trying to balance on the leg not shuffling.  It was of course odds-on that my lack of aggression in tackling the water would lead to my downfall – and fall down I did.

There I was doing my impression of a tightrope walker, sliding my forward leg ahead tentatively ahead, when my anchored leg slid and I sank down on my bum into the water. The river moved me a metre or so downstream, before my feet reconnected with the riverbed, and I lurched to my feet, spraying water hither and thither.

A couple of steps and I was home – and dry!? Jason was preparing to help me back across the river, back to the car and back into dry clothes, but his concern and help was not needed. I was wearing a rain jacket over my waders, and as I fell with my back facing into the current, the water pressure must have pressed on the jacket effectively shutting out the river. So we fished on, and the crossing back over the river proceeded without incident.

On the drive back to our accommodation, Jason gave me a few well-meant observations on my deteriorating wading ability with strong emphasis on my feeble, foot-fumbling. “Wade like you used to, full head of steam and keep going”, he admonished. I made some excuses about age, my tin hip and so on – but with only a little conviction.

The incident and conversation was not forgotten. So, last week I took off by myself for a couple of days of river thrashing, and a really good fishing it was too – spectacular in fact.

But the really good thing about the trip was the fact that I made many river crossings in fast flowing, and deep water, and sometimes both. The excellent thing was I took my son’s advice and strode out with firm resolve, and kept my legs moving at all times. If my feet caught briefly on unseen traps my momentum kept me balanced and moving ahead.

I read somewhere that walking is the process of thrusting your legs forward to stop yourself from falling forward. By maintaining motion and momentum, we maintain our balance. If like me you are pushing your body through the barriers that ageing is imposing seemingly on a daily basis, don’t give in to temerity, meekly doddering about will almost certainly get you wet and cold, and in a worst case scenario, dead.   Stride out with purpose and stay dry, and alive.

But, and it is a big but, the chances of you tipping over as you get older does increase almost exponentially. Investing in an unobtrusive, and activated only when you need it, flotation device such as the SoSpender, is a wise and safe move. A wading staff helps enormously too, and should be a must-use device. This is especially true given the less secure footing non-felt soles provide.

One thing that getting older tends to teach us is that being wise before the event is a proven method of avoiding trouble.This knowledge put into practice is even more effective.

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Artist Stephen R. Smith :: Trophy Fish Carvings

by Tony Bishop on October 22, 2007

From Moldy Chum comes this link to some really staggering carving and painting of trophy fish.

woodsalmon

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Loop to Loop Line Connections

by Tony Bishop on August 29, 2007

The MidCurrent site has a very good video and step by step photos on tying the Perfection Loop, a must for loop to loop connections.

Once you have tied the loop the diagram nearby will show how to make a loop to loop join that will result in a perfect ‘figure 8′ connection every time.

Learn this way of making a loop to loop connection and you will never suffer from a break-off at the loop. Take the fly-line a few centimetres behind the loop lightly held between your forefinger and thumb. Take the leader just behind the loop in the same way. Then push the fly-line loop through the leader loop until the leader loop touches your fly-line thumb and forefinger and pinch them together. With your other hand take the end of the leader and thread it through the fly-line loop and pull it all the way through until just like magic the two loops form a perfect figure-eight loop-to-loop connection.

This method avoids the possibility of the end of the leader-loop flipping over the end of the fly-line loop, and effectively acting as a guillotine on itself, when the join comes under load.

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Bottom trawling damage seen from space

by Tony Bishop on August 23, 2007

If you want to see the damage bottom trawling can do, have a look at these photos taken from space – scary stuff. 

blogfish: Fishing seen from space

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World’s shortest fairy tale

by Tony Bishop on August 23, 2007

I know it is so old it wears a bear-skin and carries a club, but there must be one other person on the planet who has not seen it

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The Winterless North

by Tony Bishop on March 24, 2007


The Taupo region, central North Island, is best known as a winter (May – August) fishery. This is the time trout move out of the lake into the many rivers to spawn.

But this ignores the wonderful fishing that is available over summer, when the restriction on sections of most rivers to allow uninterrupted spawning are removed. It also ignores the fact that many fish enter the rivers to spawn all year round, although in nowhere near the numbers of winter. It is also true that there are far fewer anglers as well. A couple of weeks ago I fished the upper regions of the one of the most popular rivers and saw not one other angler, on a Sunday, and 7kms each way up and back.

The fish in general will be smaller than the winter on average – but big fish do lurk in deper pools. From Febuary on, browns move up river, some of these fish are really big.

There are also so-called ‘resident’ fish. These are fish that have moved up river to spawn and then stay upriver.

The only real annoyance is likely to be hordes of 8″ to 12″ fish, last winters crop feeding up before heading down to the lake in Autumn.

As an idea of the fish available, here are two photos of fish caught by my youngest son a few weeks back. The silver fish is a maiden hen on her way up to spawn. She would be close to 18″. The other darker fish is a hen that has very recently spawned and is on her way back down river. She would have been over 20″.

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Harvey Clarke has an excellent article on the stringent steps being taken to try and halt the spread of Didymo (Rock Snot) in New Zealand.

There is some good news in this story – a test on a chemical being undertaken on a small river is showing positive signs of killing Didymo, and with no apparent effects on other flora and fauna. The results will be out in a month. New Zealand is leading the world in research into this pest that is a world-wide problem.

There may be a bad news to go with the good though, there is a theory that Didymo may be spread by birds, especially wading birds. The consequences of this, should the theory be true, are simply not worth thinking about.

If you are an angler going fishing in the South Island please adhere rigidly to all the measures in place to restrict this problem.

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The Very Famous Fisherman’s Dirty Little Secret

by Tony Bishop on February 27, 2007

I recently wrote an article on Fishing Cheats, and it sure added to my email burden. Most were incredulous at the lengths some fishermen will go to, to massage their egos.

There were a good number of stories of cheats, swindlers, and con-artists of the angling persuasion, that people had encountered over the years.

But one comment on the fishing cheats blog-entry asked if the the cheat with the small rod was a famous fly fisherman. Actually he was not, but it did lead me down the memory path on some of my experiences with ‘famous fishermen’.

So I take a leaf out of the sensational magazines and tell a story about a very famous fly fisherman, and how the camera can, an often does, lie. [More]

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