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So went out today to fish the 10-15mph from west wind....that didn't work out ended up at about 25-30mph with solid 3+ foot waves....trolled from Thomas point to bloody point from 6am-11am pulling a 10 rod spread. Around 9am we finally hookup, white single parachute which makes for a nice fight. 32in in the box. Around 10am we hook into a much nicer fish which is where my problem comes in....get the fish to the boat and I immediately notice its hooked deep as I can barely see the lure head. I immediately get the long pliers to get the hook out since I know this fish is going to be right on the 40 line. Now for those of you who say measuring the fish is easy have never attempted this with a fish bleeding all over the deck and 3 foot waves. I did my best woth the measuring and determined it was 39in....now I have a problem this fish is bleeding everywhere and is not going to make it....broke my heart but back she went. This to me is why the slot does not work by law I cannot keep it but conservation says I should have. There is a fish that could have fed my family but now will die for no good reason.

If DNR wanted to reduce the take by 25% and the current season is approximately a month long (4 weeks) why don't they push opening day back a week? This would allow more fish to the breeding grounds and shorten the season by 25%.

Also to make matters worse I get back to the ramp and there is no less than 15 DNR officers but not one of them came to check me. Why are they there then? Is the state paying them to clam bake? If were going to have these rules and the state is sending officers to enforce them why are they all standing around doing nothing. The whole thing is BS and the season should be floated or pushed back but they can't do that because the charter captains will cry. I am tired of this state protecting the commercial and charter business rather than the wild game. Another example is crabbing I can't catch females but the commercial guy crabbing 200ft away is catching all he wants.

OK now I am done....
 

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I hear ya!! thats a tough one.. No right answer... Them officers should have been all over everyone..
 

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Rules is rules. What about a bleeding 38-incher? Or a 37-incher? How tough is it to make 'em bleed if you really want to feed the family? Or just keep the fish?

Who is this "conservation" that says you need to keep an illegal fish just because you don't want to feed it to the gulls or crabs? He doesn't fish on my boat, or at least he wouldn't if I had it back from the shop.:cool:
 

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Good post. I agree with you when it comes to a gut hooked fish, we should be able to keep it, very hard to throw them back. I guess they assume with the slot limit that the majority of fish caught and then released will survive. Still hurts to throw back a dead/dying fish.
As far as pushing back the season, I do not agree. Only because we in MD have such a short time to catch these trophies (I know they are pre-spawn) but any size breeder caught anywhere along the coast at any time of year will not spawn again, so if it's 2 days before she spawns or 364 days, still a dead breeder. That being said I never take more than I need, I may have my wife and 4 kids on the boat and we will only keep 1 or 2 fish, if I think they are carrying eggs I put them back.
Not trying to start an arguement, just my opinion.
 

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Just because a fish is bleeding does not mean it will die. The cold water will stop the bleeding fast and there are no predators in the bay right now to attack a Rock that is slowly recovering. One biologist told me it is similar to a human with nose bleed - looks fair worse then it is.

I've caught Rock with all sorts of healed scars , one eye missing , twisted up back , gill raker exposed , etc - they are fairly tough fish.
 

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mlawler, i agree with you entirely!

On Saturday, it was pretty calm, and after pinching tail & closing mouth it was 39" & real hard to truly measure. But she went back.

The economic-political nature of the season as managed by DNR does the fishery no good.

i'm sure all the C & R proponents will say they will all do fine. But, I have yet to see a recent study of spawning rockfish mortality rates gut hooked.
 

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You did the right thing. And yes, there will be cases where you have to throwback a fish you think might die. If you'd like to advocate for a rule that better reflects what you want, there were plenty of opportunities. Did you do everything you could have to help craft the rules?

And there will be more opportunities to modify the rules, I'm sure. JUMP IN!
 

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There are no rules that are perfect and that will satisfy everyone. There are fish that are going to die no matter what. If we were allowed to keep an illegal fish that was gut hooked you can best believe almost all rockfish caught would wind up gut hooked whether they were, or not. One fact we do know is that if you keep a fish it will die. It may be slim but a released fish has that chance to make it.

Thanks for the nice fishing report. Your Problem is one we all face and it's tough. Even though we don't agree with DNR all of the time they are reacting faster now and listening to us more then ever. Thirty years ago we were talking to a wall in Annapolis.
 

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Nice report and I understand your frustration. Follow the rules but if you don't like them then make efforts to change them. Best way to go. Not worth the headache and fines for a fish. Bent tips to all.
 

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There has to be some arbitrary in all rules, but it does seem perverse sometimes. What about banning the tournaments and moving the start back a week?
 

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If the DNR is keeping people at SPSP, why not just bring the fish in and give it to them. Seems like some people had fish confiscated and taken somewhere to feed somebody. Throwing it away to die needlessly sure is wrong.
Just remember, the dumb rules were made up by certain people, they created the dumb rules. Blame them for not thinking about gut hooked fish.
 

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Moving back the season start based on spawning data or simply shortening the season would have seemed the simplistic way to go. But when has a government ever taken the sensible route.
 

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I personally spoke to Tom O'Connell and Gina Hunt, the DNR MD Fisheries Director and deputy at length about another subject, my business, but spoke in detail about this. Here's all I'll say: the DNR has the fishery and sustainability of all of MD's wild resources as their focus; the interest of any single group does not drive any decision.

Recreational fishing brings somewhere around roughly 60 times the total revenue to the state in comparison to commercial activities in totality. Meaning that if MD totals all monies associated with recreational fishing it is 60 times (roughly) the amount that every single piece of commercially (legally that we're aware of) caught seafood in MD waters and the commercial sectors' expenses on boats, fuel, etc...

This being the case, the argument is hard to make that the DNR and state cateers to the coms. We all know our state loves its revenue... All residents have a vote and the ability to influence. However you decide too is up to you, but I can guarantee you that Tom and Gina don't spend their evenings trolling TF in order to decide what policy to put forth for approval next... They're an email and phone call away. Let them know your opinion, they're receptive and surprised me by how much time they took explaining to me in person how things like this slot come to fruition.
 

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Go to a few meetings that have guys on the advisory committee and you hear a different story about who's moving the needle. They were advised by the committee to have a max and not a slot limit. They caved in due to MSSA Tourney and Commercial pressure.
 

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And if you had kept it would be dead anyway. At least now there is a chance it might survive. Was that fish hooked on the primary or a stinger? If you're worried about it, pinch the barbs and keep steady pressure on the line.

The southern states with the protect the big fish limits on redfish have proven they work. In parts they get tired of catching 36" fish, when was the last time you said that about rockfish.
 

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Just because a fish is bleeding does not mean it will die. The cold water will stop the bleeding fast and there are no predators in the bay right now to attack a Rock that is slowly recovering. One biologist told me it is similar to a human with nose bleed - looks fair worse then it is.

I've caught Rock with all sorts of healed scars , one eye missing , twisted up back , gill raker exposed , etc - they are fairly tough fish.
Looking at it that way, I can't think of any reason why stinger hooks would be a problem.

I understand the OP's point, the slot limit is a very difficult to enforce and a shorter season would accomplish the same reduction in catch, but from the charter's boats view, that would also mean a 25% pay cut for them. I think the DNR made best compromise that they could come up with to keep everyone happy. I would've rather seen a raise in minimum size.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out this year and the changes they will make next.
 
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