What’s the point of Catch and Release
I’m often asked by non fishing folks, “What’s the point of Catch and Release? You spend all that time and money only to throw your catch back?” My answer is simple, I love catching them and seeing others catch them! The exhilaration and heart pounding excitment of seeing a big Redfish take a top water plug or fly is what gets me out of bed a 4 am. Like most of my clients, I don’t fish for food. Simply put, I fish for fun and relaxation.
The catching part is just a small percentage of the fishing experience for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy catching and eating fresh fish as much as the next guy. If I want to take fish home for dinner it’s almost always flounder. Flounder numbers seem to be doing well. Two keeper flounder will yield 8 filets which is more than enough for my small family of three. With all that said, here are a few reasons why I practice catch and release or limited take on inshore species like Redfish, Flounder and Speckled Sea Trout.
#1 – South Carolina DNR’s last study showed RED DRUM NUMBER DOWN . Red Drum, also known as Redfish, are probably the most sought after inshore species from North Carolina to Florida. These fish receive a lot of angling pressure. Redfish are known for their aggressive bites and shallow water behavior like tailing . With studies showing Redfish numbers down either from bad spawning years or simply fishing pressure, I feel obligated to release ALL the Red Drum caught on my boat.
#2- THEY GET BIGGER. Once a legal fish has landed in the frying pan, it can’t grow bigger and spawn. We need spawning fish to make more fish. I have had countless discussions with other guides and recreational anglers that all agree our Redfish numbers are not what they were years ago.
#3- Catch and Release fishing benefits our kids and the future of our fishery. Let’s use the Southern Flounder and some simple math. If the average recreational angler fishes 20 times a year and keeps his limit of ten flounder, that’s 200 fish for one fisherman. Now consider charter captains who are logging hundreds of days a year! Limiting take for your clients or just taking what they’re going to eat that night can help ensure a healthy population and angling opportunities for others.
The Great Lee Wulff once wrote, “Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once.”
As a guide and an avid angler, I hope to continue enjoying and providing these opportunities for many years to come!