SRC--Semi Madness Returns-Hood Canal


MA-9 Beach Stalker
Between Larry dragging his fish up onto the rocks and Kelvin giving them the ninja death squeeze, these cutthroat don't stand a chance. Is there any way we could tie this fish handling problem into a climate change thread to spice things up around here?

By the way, those were some nice looking cutties.


"Chasing Riseforms"
I have reviewed and practiced a number of fish handling techniques while fishing for cutthroat along the salt. (I think this different than landing a rainbow in a warm lake somewhere) Some guys on here claim to hurry up and land the fish, and then quickly release them. I have found that sometimes a fish quickly landed requires applying a good deal of “pressure”. This pressure put on playing a fish, in my opinion and experience, has taught me that it can hurt the fish easily and make it bleed, particularly if hooked in the tongue, but I have seen it happen at the corner of the mouth also. I’ve done it. So, unlike other guys, I “play the fish” until it is somewhat tired but not exhausted, let the fish lay on it’s side on the edge of a smooth rock/gravel beach in a couple few inches of water or less. It is much easier to detach your fly and release when they are a little tired. I have tried releasing in deeper water and when they have not been played out fully. When I grab the fly for release, they have still too much spunk in them, sometimes “twisting” as I have the fly in my fingers trying to release. It can make them bleed and jamb that hook around in their mouths with detrimental effects, especially if it is near the eye. I’ve tried it. Sometimes even tho we are using barbless hooks, that hook can penetrate in serious places in the fishes mouth and can still be difficult to get out. I do use a catch and release net, but not all of the time. It is probably a wiser choice. I think there is a distinct difference between playing a fish to exhaustion, tiring a fish out, but not exhausted, and horsing a fish in thinking that you are doing it a favor. I don’t normally take pictures of all the fish I catch anyway, but for this winter report, I felt like maybe I was helping brighten someone’s day in their work cubicle! I do, on the other hand, like to take photos and have practiced on how to do it quickly. Oh well…just my opinion. Tight Lines!
Between Larry dragging his fish up onto the rocks and Kelvin giving them the ninja death squeeze, these cutthroat don't stand a chance. Is there any way we could tie this fish handling problem into a climate change thread to spice things up around here?

By the way, those were some nice looking cutties.
I knew sooner or later someone was going to bring up Kelvin's kung fu grip issue.. :clown:

Thanks for the beautiful post and pics Larry. Keep it up!
SeaRun Fanatic--

The fish was left in the water and wasn't "dragged" up onto the rocks. It is left in water and barely handled before a quick release. You will notice by the photos that these are "smooth" rocks and not barnacle type or oyster shell rocks. I avoid those. I don't believe these type of beach rocks will hurt a fish with a couple of inches of water covering them as seen in the photo. My camera is in my wader pocket with easy access if that makes you feel a little better. Hero shot? Oh, give me a break fella. Anything else I can help you with feel free to spout off.
Funny, I see barnacles and/or oyster shells in pretty much every picture. I've also fished Hood Canal my fair share, and most beaches are pretty "oystery". I just don't believe in a shot of every (or even most) fish and definitely don't drag them onto the beach (sorry, sliding a fish onto the beach vs dragging is just semantics). The topic of release comes up every once in a while, and general consensus seems to be that a well-crimped fly and a quick flip of the wrist with the fish still in the water, possibly cradled in a knotless net is the way to go. Why do you think they are now requiring knotless nets in many fisheries? Abrasions DO impact survival rates, so that's my .02 worth. I appreciate your willingness to post a report and enjoyed hearing of your success, we just have differing opinions when it comes to release.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanks for torturing us with another great report complete with pics, Larry! I'm nominating you to be inducted into the Beachbum Hall of Infamy! And I ain't waitin' for March, either.
I agree that its easier to release a fish that has been played out a bit, but not overly exhausted. The ones I tried to release after horsing 'em in too soon were still too feisty and uncooperative. They even flop around too much in a net when you horse 'em in too soon. I might get a lightweight rubber mesh net to take with me on the beach (my boat net is too heavy).
And my useless 2 cents...

Great report Larry, and it's great that you are out there getting into them. But the words do more for me than the pics because I know what a sea-run looks like. I personally don't make a habit out of taking pictures of most of the fish that I catch, but I respect a guy's right to do so if he isn't doing too much damage. I have held up a few larger fish to take pics of when a friend is nearby with a camera, but I have never pulled one up on the rocks. I just don't think it's a good idea.

Is a release in deeper water without handling the fish the best way to minimize the damage? I think so.
Does handling them or laying them on rocks in or out of shallow water do more damage than not? I think so.
Does it make a huge amount of difference? I don't know.

I wanted to throw out my opinion here because this issue is surprisingly one-sided when it does come up (or maybe those on my side of the issue are just afraid of getting raked across the coals so they keep it to themselves). But there are new guys out here who are getting started in this sport based on this site (I know because I'm one of them) and I think it's my right to give them my opinion too. We are all pretty set in our ways and I don't think any of us are going to change each-others' opinions, but I'd love it if the new guys who have not yet formed those opinions saw things a little more on the safe-side.

Derek Young

Emerging Rivers Guide Services
Mumbles and I tried to follow in your footsteps - but the skunk was on. Similar conditions but just didn't find them today. Thanks for the report and great pics!

Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
I also appreciate your report Larry, nice early cutts; you gotta love that fjord. It’s been my favorite searun and silver haunts for a very long time.
Some would say it is fanatical, but I suggest learning to use one of these is better than beaching a fish:
I don't think that's fanatical at all. I use a home made version of the same tool, and it works equally well in knee deep water, or within a knotless net. This issue is one that really seems to get the hackles up on this board. I choose not to touch or beach my catch, and believe that it likely reduces stress in the long run. While the increased mortality that may result from beaching, squeezing, and delaying release to take pictures is debatable, we can probably all agree that it certainly doesn't do anything to promote survival either.

I do know that in the next round of regulation proposals, there will be one to restrict removing coastal cutts from the water, like for steelhead and wild salmon, so this may become a moot question. In the meanwhile, it looks like we all do agree that the fish should be stressed as little as possible after water boarding, even if we don't agree on what's always appropriate.

When we post pictures here we're volunteering to be judged in the public eye, it's not like some paparazzi caught us with our pants down, so be prepared. Some of us are more open to that scrutiny than others, you'll notice my back's turned in my picture.

I'm fairly new to the SRCs in salt water, so thank you for the info. Between this post and the one in a previous thread with the popsicle recipe, I took a few steps up the learning curve.

Great looking fish

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