The thrill of the bite is probably the best part about fishing. Sure the rod bending, reeling, and the holding of the fish are all awesome, but the initial bite is what we are really after. It sends a rush through the body, knowing the possibilities. It could be the catch of a lifetime for a replica mount or a smallie to put back for future bites.
The inital bite is like opening a present. You don’t know what it is or how big it is until you spot it in the water and see it for the first time. You get to see and feel the tug of what your thoughtful rigging efforts produced. Most of us may loudly say, “I got one,” “fish on” or “it’s a big one.”
I noticed, on social media, when an angler posts pictures of his/her catch on a stringer, his/her followers are quick to respond to the catch. They are either highly criticized for keeping small fish and/or an abundance of fish. Sometimes even congratulated for such a great catch. Personally, I feel like some people are just not educated on the proper size of fish to keep and they don’t fully understand what keeping small or large fish means to the conservation and future of fishing.
When our fish are caught, we take special care using a plastic net and good fish handling techniques. We keep the fish in the water or close to the water trying to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. We always enjoy taking picture of our catch, but we also make sure everyone is prepared with camera in hand and by leaving the fish in the water and net until it’s time for the shot.
There is a general rule for anglers. If you are asking yourself, “Should I keep this one?” If it is small, put it back and let it grow. If it is a BIG fish, catch and release. There is a chance it could grow into a trophy and be caught at a later date.
Keepers should be medium-sized fish within the legal limits per state regulations. Never keep more then your limit. Think about how many you can eat in a few weeks. Fish does not keep for a long time and gets freezer burnt easily. Only take what you can eat. Help conserve and preserve these beautiful fishing areas, no matter where you live, for yourself and future anglers.
Life is Better When You Fish and Catch and Release!