As per the request at the end of my “Clarification required” thread, I contacted Captain Kenny Oliver at the VMRC, Lewis Gillingham the director of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament and Jason Schratwieser, Conservation Director at the IGFA regarding the potential four pound test line class world record Spadefish caught by Julie Ball and this is what I took away from the conversations I had with them.
Before I continue I want to reiterate that this is what I gathered from the conversations I had with the three agencies listed above and certainly may not be the official point of view of the above agencies again, this is simply my interpretation of those conversations.
After talking with Captain Kenny Oliver of the VMRC it was quite clear to me that if an individual shows up at a scale or weigh station with more than four Spadefish they are in violation of the possession laws regarding that species. If you are caught with more than four Spadefish in a cooler in your car on your way home you are again in violation. Now it was also made quite clear that if an individual show up at the dock with more than four Spadefish in the boat and they have a friend that claims to have been fishing with that person it would be very hard to prove a violation occurred because of the “common hold” statement in the regulations. Fairly straight forward.
After talking with Jason Schratwieser from the IGFA it was clear to me that as long as a violation of the law did not occur the record or a record would most likely stand however, if the state had a problem with the way the fish was weighed in, for example an individual weighing more than the individual bag limit for a particular species then the IGFA’s decision would most likely mirror that of the state’s.
After talking with Lewis Gillingham from the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament it was clear to me that the if fish are kept in a “common hold” of a vessel then it would be impossible to identify a specific fish as belonging to a specific angler, a basic requirement for any record or citation. Once an individual claims a fish or several fish as their own then no longer could the “common hold” statement apply. I feel that Lewis and I were on the same page regarding how a common hold is defined and that if the fish in the “common hold” of the vessel were somehow marked to identify which fish belonged to which angler then a common hold does not exist.
Here is a hypothetical situation, Lewis and I discussed: If a friend and I go to the Norfolk Canyon in search of Snowy Grouper, possession limit; one fish per person per day. My friend already has a citation or a record for this species and is not interested in another award. On my first drop I hook up on and boat a small Snowy, too small for an award so I give the fish to my friend and continue to fish, on the very next drop I pull up a citation or record qualifying fish. Should I get the recognition for that catch, the bag limit for two anglers was not violated?
In short it seems a bit of a catch 22 if the fish are actually in a “common hold” of a vessel then a claim to a specific fish by an angler cannot be proven, if the fish are not considered to be in a common hold and an individual claims possession of more than the law allows a violation has occurred.
I will be writing an e-mail to all three agencies in an effort to get them to discuss this situation and encourage them to inform me of their decision and how they came to it. If and when I get that information I will post a follow up thread for you all to read.
Using your hypothetical situation lets say you were trying to break a Snowy Grouper record and both of the fish were very close to record size. Should you be allowed to bring both fish to the scale in your record attempt? I say NO. In normal everyday fishing the common hold would apply for a boat limit however in an attempt for a record this would give the angler an unethical and unfair advantage over someone that followed the per person daily limit.
Let's look at it another way. Say you are out fishing for stripers. . Good day lots of 36 to 40 inch fish and one that comes in at about 60 inches. Further if no one puts more than two fish in the common hold. Clearly if the fish are in a common hold but also clearly you know which is the 60 inch fish that you caught. No mix up there.
You guys can get in a nit over what happened on any given trip but on the one described above clearly the person in question should get the citation/record/whatever.
I also would not have cared if the guy that got the bigger fish put six fish in the box so long as they did not exceed the vessel limit.
With respect to in your truck. How are people supposed to bring home the crews limit? That is legal harvest also. Also the law is very clear it says individuals that are eligible to fish not people who actually fished. . . . A two year old is eligible to fish. . . I have been given a moderate hard time (your basis ya ya ya and a roll of they eyes) when I told him that my 4 year old son was one of the 4 people on the vessel. The fact is that he put more in the cooler than anybody else as we would hand him the rod and do the old "Hold this rod, my goodness you have a fish reel it in" bit.
Below is what the law says on spadefish. It says the same for more or less every other species. You are either fishing (A) as in individual where the limit is 4 that go into your personal cooler; (B) as a vessel where N*4 go into a common hold; or (C) fishing with a commercial hook and line license were the limit is 6 per licensee.
I missed the part that it says that each angler is only allowed to keep their limit of fish. Could somebody point that out to me?
The only question regarding the written law and the award in my mind is did anybody else throw their fish into the cooler and how could someone distinguish them from the ones that were weighed.
4 VAC 20-970-30. SPADEFISH POSSESSION LIMIT.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing with recreational hook and line, rod and reel, hand line, spear, gig or other recreational gear to possess more than four spadefish. Any spadefish taken after the possession limit of four fish has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.
B. When fishing from a boat or vessel where the entire catch is held in a common hold or container, the possession limit shall be for the boat or vessel and shall be equal to the number of persons on board legally eligible to fish multiplied by four. The captain or operator of the boat or vessel shall be responsible for any boat or vessel possession limit.
C. It shall be unlawful for any person fishing with a licensed commercial hook-and-line to possess more than six spadefish. Any spadefish taken by a licensed commercial hook-and-line fisherman after the possession limit of six spadefish has been reached shall be returned to the water immediately.
Chumlord - I think you could make an argument that there was some breach of the rules by weighing six spades for the record but I don't think it is worth bringing up or pursuing. Julie occasionaly makes some great posts on the site and I would hate to see them end. We all have been on boats where one angler catches more that his limit and others catch less but you bring back the boat limit. This is common practice for charters where the captain and mate aren't actually doing any reeling but you get the boat limit.
As far as the unsportsmanlike insinuation I think that is a little bit of a stretch. We all break some fish off and we have all deephooked fish that were released dead. The line class thing tends to promote that but any way you look at it landing that size spade on 4 lb test is a good accomplishment and if someone wants to pursue line class records I say go for it. There was a recent thread where Tred Barta caught a billfish of some sort by hooking it, backing down on it to the leader, and then breaking him off and calling it a release. To each his own I guess....
Somehow I think her thread rubbed you the wrong way. I liked your other response with the picture a lot more - that was hilarious.
How about option D where an individual looking to break an IGFA world line class record, brings along a buddy, maybe two, maybe ten, the buddies don't fish so he/she can put six, ten or perhaps even forty Spadefish in the cooler of the boat, claim possession of all of them and consequently weigh each fish until you find one that is heavy enough for a record?
As of right now I believe the VSWFT feels that if an angler is weighing several a fish to see if one qualifies for an individual achievement like a state record, world record or even a citation then the individual possession limit for that species should limit the amount of fish to be weighed.
Man you have fricken lost it! This is fishing quit being so serious. Who really cares how she did it, if she used a trebble hooked and snaged the thing who really cares. Congrats to the angler now go beat her your way!
The question that you are asking is it OK to game the system. . . not what is legal.
I don't see anywhere in the regulation where it says that if the fish are marked or tagged, etc. that they are no longer in a common hold or container. It just talks about the container and the fact that fish are in the container.
IGFA said legal to catch so I guess you could game the system by taking along 3 or 4 of your buddies and abide by their rules.
Does the VA tournament have any rules about individual possession limits versus boat limits?
This is what the brochure says:
"(d) All catches must comply with all applicable regulations and laws, including size limits, possession limits, open and closed seasons, closed waters and areas, and the waters must be open to public fishing?"
It does not say individual possession limits in this case it is a vessel limit not an individual limit. Is there more rules somewhere else? Maybe the rule needs to be changed. If so you should bring that up next Oct. when the committee meets.
In my opinion the fish in a common hold legally caught and legal to posses once you get to the dock. Otherwise it would be illegal for a charter captain to give his and his mate's limit to the customers which is a common practice.
Also the fact that some folks have multiple trips worth of fish in their cooler in the back of their truck when they stayed at a hotel over a weekend would have to be made illegal. I don't think that anybody wants to go in either of those directions. Oh and don't forget the stretch of what have in your possession in your freezer at home. A law either applies to everybody or nobody.
I think we’re all clear concerning the number of fish in a vessels hold in relationship to the number of folks “fishing” onboard. The issue is what happens at the dock.
If one takes above the legal possession limit for their personal use for citations, awards, records or to cart around town to show folks…look what I caught. To me and hopefully most folks…… this violates the possession limit.
Look, several years ago I took a friend out cobia fishing. We each got two nice ones. And we decided to keep both. He forgot to put his cooler in the truck. So I took both home with me, dropped mine off, and then delivered the other one to his house. Sure I was in violation of the law....I guess. But there was no intent to keep both or drive to OE2 to weigh both as mine to see if I could get a citation. That would be shallow. And in my opinion…highly illegal.
I think this good discussion for the board. Hopefully we all will be a little smarter concerning our states fishing laws.
Nobody cares??!! OK, cool. I guess I'll drop some cherry bombs in LC inlet this fall, then throw a 20' cast net to retrieve them in pursuit of a spot record. That would be an incredible accomplishment. Don’t ya think?