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Should You Keep Your Catch?

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Catch and release fishing is a common practice among anglers, one that is credited for aiding in the conservation of fish and preventing overharvesting. There are plenty of tips about proper catch and release techniques, from fishing with barbless hooks to using rubber-coated nets that minimize damage to the fish. With catch and release so common a practice, what should you do if you want to eat your catch? Here, Tom Keer explains how to keep a fish in the catch and release world.

Keer recalls catching a nice striped bass that was legal by his state regulations.

The-release-300x199 Photo by TakeMeFishing

I passed a number of anglers while I headed to my truck. The unanimous response was either “nice fish” or “way to go” or something along those lines. But one angler approached me as I was placing the fish in my truck and he said “a good gamefish is too valuable to be caught just once.” That was a comment that the venerable Lee Wulff made in the 1960s and 1970s, and it was one that launched the catch-and-release ethic… If the angler was trying to make me feel guilty for keeping a fish it didn’t work.

Photos: USDA Forest Service (top); Take Me Fishing (above)