to eat or not to eat...(2)

One of the first topics I thought about starting out fishing a few years back was the debate about Catch & Release, and where I stood on it. At the time, I don’t think I had a clear view on it, and after some years of strict C&R, when it comes to the debate, my view is still a bit fuzzy. It’s fuzzy in the way that I have read and discussed the topic enough times that I generally understand the argument from both sides, and while I practice C&R and promote it – my own argument for C&R can be easily broken down, and this has happened more than a few times. I’m not going to go through the fundamental arguments here or try to describe the proper way to C&R, as there are plenty of reading & debate on going. But I can say is that for me personally I practice C&R but I don’t have a black & white view on it. I believe there are some species and regions where C&R should be mandatory mostly because the survival of the fish is at risk, but for places where the risk is less evident – then I thinkit’s up to the individual to make the choice. There are extreme views on this, ranging from the concept that “one should not fish at all”, to “let’s fill this ice cooler to the top”… and unfortunately, there will always be people that express and behave that way.

Recently, a friend sent a link to a site where a group of fishermen caught cherry trout on live bait, using Tenkara style gear, & cooked the trout up … and all very well documented in photos. When I first saw this, I naturally cringed at the sight of the cooked cherry trout, but I sat there and thought about why I felt so bad, and why many of our friends were so pissed off at this. I went through my own mind exercise about the topic, pulled up a few old articles to read, and thought hard about this – but still like a wobbling soft hearted, no conclusion. I went through the other well documented entries on this link, to find that he is an active member of the Korea Professional Fishing Association (game fishing pros) and that he’s just as passionate about fishing as any of us. He respects and follows local fishing restrictions like the rest of us, except that he catches and eats the trout we catch and release. I guess the real reason for the uneasy feeling that I had was that I automatically felt bad at the sight of cooked cherry trout and wanted to talk down about this guy, the fact is that when I thought a little longer about it, he’s done what is within his right and what brought him & his family joy – and mostly, I agreed with it (the concept of having a good time, catching some fish, and the joy of feeding your family your catch).

Like I said from the start, I have a very fuzzy view on this and I won’t ever be able to be a spokesman one way or the other. Like other things in life, I’ll try to practice moderation and sensibility, and keep an open mind to fight the fight (whichever way I lean) when it comes time to do so.

(below are some links on similar topic & photos from the link with cooked cherry trout).


  1. my view is that its not worth getting angry at people that are practicing what is within their rights. Rather you should put that energy into lobbying for stricter controls on rivers with local governments. Teaching children to respect the environment and conserving the resource. Or as my father points out, all conservation or environmental issues come back to the same thing; our population. The more people there are the more we consume the resource. Unfortunately if all of us who enjoy fishing take everything we catch, every time we go, there will be nothing left in a short time. We can always restock the rivers but they(farm fish) are nothing like wild trout. So next time you see a bait fisherman just drive his ass off the road. ; )

  2. I am all for conservation but we have no rights to criticize any of them as that is simply their culture. If we are saying all that just to satisfy our way of thinking is better than their in egoistic way, I would like to ask how many times we held on to that trout a while longer just to get the right photo and how many times we neglected to ice up our hand, I mean REALLY ice your hand before we grab the trout and burn the shit out their bodies...

  3. Once I went to a seminar conducted by Al Caucci who is considered a legend in fly fishing community. He basically told us that NYC water consumption will effect the lives of trouts throughout the Catskill area as most of reservoir supplies tap water to manhattanites. After the seminar, for a short period of time, I found myself sitting on the toilet contemplating whether to flush freshly baked good or not. Then I realize you do what you can and when you can to conserve and that tiny effort we put in collectively will eventually make the difference. But Lee, let's face it, playing that fish with undersized rod and taking that trophy photo feels damn freaking good!