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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So while we anxiously await our impending trophy season regulations I ask you SRRKC bretheran these questions. I know this can be a touchy subject but here goes anyway, and BE HONEST.

How many trophy fish do you honestly kill during the season? Do you keep one for yourself, do you try and catch one for everyone who comes on your boat, do you keep more than you can honestly eat so that you can give some fresh fish to others who are not so fortunate to get out on the water, do you kill everythhing within your creel limit that hits the deck every time out, do you C&R big fish????

I ususally kill one fish for myself to share amongst my father and myself, but this year I don't know if I want to do that. If I have someone out with me who wants fish they obviously can keep their creel, but I try and let people know, especially if I there are 4 of us, that 2 fish will be enough to feed all of us, this will probably be where I get my fish for my father and myself this year. I usually tell co-workers who want meat that they have to wait until 18" season before I'll cough up any meat. I have C&R'd in the past out of necessity and just because but I am having second thoughts about that as well. I think if the rules come out as expected there will be more C&R involved, which brings me to my second question???

Do you trophy hunters always use stinger hooks? do you pinch the barbs, do you drop to single hooks?? I ask this b/c if a fish is going to sustain a mortal wound it is usually the direct result of the inhalation of a stinger hook deep.

What say yee.....

I ask these questions because I love the opportunity to catch these big fish. It is the one time of the year when we can do it in our own backyard. After having spent all winter chasing slimy green things it is nice to go out and smoke something that pulls. I'm torn, just like everyone else I want to get in on the experience, but for the past few years I have really started to not look forward to trophy season as much and its bumming me out.

Clancy
 

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Clancinator-

Now, you know I fish for meat, and since I don't catch all that many fish, I normally keep what I can get over the gunwales. Heck, I'll even solicit a catch of yours or Big E's if I still have an open slot in my fish box. And this past season was pretty good to me. I still have about 8 fillets in the freezer. :popcorn:

That being said, last year I got a nice 41"er out or Rudee in January and, while nice and meaty, it was a bit too fishy for my tastes. So, I'm confident that anything 40"+ is going back in the water for me. AFTER a pic! :yes:

Also, I got a 33"er in the spring , and he tasted better than the 41"er, but not as good as a nice 22"er! So, my personal taste isn't interested in fish over 34" or so. So, if a 'reverse-slot limit' is adopted, then it may help in deciding what fish go back to swim again.

As for stingers, most of my big trolling shads/bucks/chutes have double-hooks. Though I wouldn't classify that as a 'stinger' hook. And when trolling, its unlikely that a rock will get deep-hooked. That is more of a problem for LTJ fishing, when you don't react fast enough to a bite. :nono:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
John,

I agree, I like smaller fish better, and if and when I do kill something it is on the smaller size. I too like a 19"er the best but that comes later. I have never had good luck freezing fish for that long, even with a vacuum sealer they seem to smell funny to me after a while. I only have one summer/fall filet left so soon I'll officially be starving.

I only raise the question about the double hook rig because I have had a few fish that have absolutly inhaled a double hooked chute and the second hook has been buried deeply in the back of the fish's mouth usually somewhere in the pallet. This usually results in a nasty bleeding wound that doesn't look so healthy.

And yes, trust me fish get wounded the same way LTJ'in and it sucks when you catch a 14"er with the hook buried deep and you have to send it back bleeding profusly.
 

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The only time I keep a fish during trophy season is during my neighborhoods spring tourney, which generally has less boats signed up than a SRRKC event.
In 5 years of fishing that community event, I've only brought home one fish I thought might put me in the money.

Biggest fish for me was in 2005 when I brought home a 39" with an all-star crew.
That fish hit Old Yeller's rod, and by the time the fish was brought in, the bearings in Dannys reel were destroyed. :pinch:





I never use stinger hooks, though some of my bigger trolling tandem rigs and 'chutes do have double hooks.

I C&R 99.9% of the time, and there was only one trip last year where I actually kept fish. It was a late July trip to the Love Point area for some LTJ with Blakesdad/Echo.



Catch, Photo, Release...



 

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During trophy season I only troll fully rigged 6-arm umbrellas. 12 shads with a single hook and a trailer with a double hook. Just don't tell the DNR........;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I guess I am a little confused here. Do y'all refer to a chute w/ a 9" shad and 2 hooks as a double rig?? I call the second hook in that rig a stinger hook. I am just thinking about pinching the barbs on the second hook or not having the second hook at all.

Kev - I am not to far behind you as far as keeping fish. My records show that I had a slightlly slower than normal year, only fishing a few more then 60 days, and kept less than a dozen fish.
 

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Kevin C&R's 99% of the time, and he has a spotless boat to prove it. My boat has its own designated "Bleed-out Chamber" which has seen its share of thrashing snapper blues and smallish rock. In April 05 Woody and I got 2 fish, a 36" and a 37", w/in 10 minutes down at the Tank, and they wouldn't fit into my bleed-out chamber. :censored: Which makes me winder if I need a bigger boat.....;)
 

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I catch and release almost year round. This is not entirely due to my altruistic nature. A better explanation is that I suck at catching big fish and don't usually have any rockfish big enough to put in the cooler. :wacko: Last year for example, I think I kept 1 rockfish less than 25" and several croaker -- that is all.

I suspect that if my catching success on big fish improved significantly, I would limit myself to fish at the smaller end of the legal range because of better flavor and less contaminants that have accumulated in their tissue.
 

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Technically, the aft hook is a "stinger hook" or "trailer hook". 9" Storm Shads have a smaller trailer hook, which I think helps to eliminate a throat-hook. They are good lures (if you can get them to swim straight!).

However, most of my lures I rig my own trailer hook with a 10/0 hook, and often its larger than the main hook on the chute/bucktail. I do not intend to crimp down any barbs. :nono: I don't think I COULD crimp down the barbs on a 10/0 hook. It would take a grinder to get it down.
 

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Hey Clancy... good topic for discussion.

Personally, I used to keep every big fish I caught because I only caught 1 or 2 a year, so it was a big deal. As I've grown more proficient at fishing this area, I have let more and more fish go.

That said, I generally only keep rockfish 2 times of the year: spring and fall. I really don't like the looks of the bay water in the summer, and the idea of eating something that's been living in that water doesn't appeal to me very much. Therefore, I prefer ocean-run rockfish for table fare.

During the spring, I try to avoid keeping any fish that is obviously full of eggs... any fish that is abnormally heavy or fat for it's length will undoubtedly go back immediately. If I can get a nice, slim 30-something incher it'll go in the box for one of our "fried rockfish feasts". Same thing in the fall at the CBBT... if I can get a couple fish right around the slot size (either just below or just above the slot) I'll put it in the box for our holiday gatherings.

The mass slaughter of fish we've been experiencing in the spring up here and in the fall in VA/NC has definitely had an impact on my desire to partake in that activity. Keeping only the heaviest fish in the spring (obviously a pre-spawn female) and every possible fish caught in the fall just isn't what it's all about for me.

Our times spent on Capt. Skip's boat bailing nice fish and watching them swim away with nothing more than a sore lip have become the most enjoyable outings... that and having a nice 20-something inch pickerel peeling 6# test off my ultra-light outfit has been pretty fun, too! :D

Oh, and I took all the double hooks off my trolling rigs a while ago... haven't really noticed a big difference in the hook-up ratio.
 

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My boat took (killed) about 70 fish this springtime.All were cleaned and eaten.

Stinger hooks do get swallowed sometimes but if you carefully reach in with needle nose-most times the hook will come out.Now/then we have to come in from under the gills.

Don't sweat if the fish is bleeding some-it's like a nose bleed-looks way worse then it is.Some tagged fish that I thought would die were recaptured 14 months later.:clap: If everyone follows the laws and common sense-we should be able to enjoy these fish a long time. Skip
 

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I actually kept decent logs the past few years (which is both nice and ego deflating after reviewing what I actually caught). Also, by "trophy," I assume that you mean 28" or larger. Given those parameters, here is what I have caught (more a function of limited time and skill than some heroic conservation effort):

2004
29"; 30" (both kept) - July
28"; 30" (kept the 30") - October
28"; 31" (both released) - November

2005 - boat was out of commish. much of the year
36" (kept) - July
~36" (released) - August

2006 - don't have log on computer here, so may be incomplete
34" (released) - late April/early May
29"; ~40" (released big girl...probably the largest I've caught/seen) - June
28" (released) late August/early Sept.
28" (kept) - October (I think)

I think that, as Marylanders, we (both recs and legal commecials) do a pretty decent job of limiting the big fish that we catch, ASMFC's opinion notwithstanding. It's hard to get more conservative - without a moritoirum - than one fish per person.

Oh, and I have not removed stingers but have the barbs mashed on all hooks. Even for catch & keep, it makes unhooking so much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the info fellas. I am not trying to implicate anything here, or make anyone feel as though they are doing right or wrong. I think that I am going to mash my second hook barbs this year. That will make it easier to get a fish with a nose bleed back sooner.:cool2:
 

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Wow Clancy you really must be bored. As many of you know me I am guy that is a fairly large advocate of C&R however I do keep a lot of fish, well in my opinion. I usually don't keep more then 2 fish every spring. Clancy, it seems as if we keep at least 1 or 2 on opening day and another couple for during the tourney, exculding last year where we couldn't compete with Billy. However as Clanc said the spring trips usually have 3-4 guys out with us so we all usually never go home with more then 1 fillet. Now during the regular season I find myself keeping about a fish every week or two. Basically when i feel like having fish for dinner. I will not freeze Rockfish if at all possible and usually will eat fish 2 nights in a row in order to do so. I will say this however. While I may keep about 20 fish a year I release an ungodly amount, many of which are "keeper size" no matter what the time of year and/or venue. I guess what I saying is I get out and fish a lot, most then the average person, and proportionately I am a huge C&R guy. I also am staright up and down against stinger hooks and dummy lines.

-Evans
 

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Personally, I would never freeze fish. If there is too much to be eaten on the day/evening of the catch, it is too much to keep. I keep one or two fish a season.
 

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I will have to say I have kept fish that were over the 28" and they where caught at the CBBT and also in North Carolina. I don't get out for the trophy season that much, not much on the trolling thing. Now I do keep the smaller ones in the summer for my brother to eat but I'm not a big fish eater. I like to CPR (Catch Photograph & Release) the fish I catch. It was good to catch my first 40” fish last year on the flats and put her back to see her swim away. Even the 42”er I caught while fishing with Jack at the CBBT last December it was good to put her back as well. Clancy this is a good topic and a lot of different options…..
 

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I also am staright up and down against stinger hooks and dummy lines.
-Evans
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't last year's big Tri-State purchase a couple of dummy lines? :nono:

Big E releases less fish when he's on my boat. But that's not any fault of his. I like feesh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
John,

We used those things once, and when Chris "if-it swims-and-its-big-enough-then kill-it" O'meara refered to them as "smart lines", I put them in the attic where they are collecting dust as we speak. I'll sell 'em to you CHEAP!!!
 

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John,

We used those things once, and when Chris "if-it swims-and-its-big-enough-then kill-it" O'meara refered to them as "smart lines", I put them in the attic where they are collecting dust as we speak. I'll sell 'em to you CHEAP!!!
I thought his name was Chris "if-its-light-out-its-late-enough-to-drink-bourbon" O'Meara. And technically speaking, those lines were brilliant compared to the person who made the comment.....:wacko:
 
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