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Had this discussion on the boat yesterday. Do fish shrink or get bigger after several hours in the cooler?

Does the DNR give you any break if the fish is off by 1/8 or 1/4 inch?
 

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I've had fish shrink on me when they die,
Small fish I keep in a livewell.
It would be interesting to see a before and after pic of a rock, when fresh on the deck , and after a day on ice.
 

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I can't see a fish shrinking that much in a cooler on ice, but if left in the sun (which would spoil the meat) I see it drying up and losing weight/inches.
 

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Best to err on side of caution. I try to keep fish about 3/4 to 1 inch longer then minimum size limit - as a buffer.

Slot makes it tricky - I plan to keep 29 to 35 inchers and release any over the 40 inch mark.

Summer will be interesting with new 20 inch min. - have to remark my cooler lid at 21 inches.
 

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Keeping it in the live well alive is not a good plan, i used to do that and was warned by a charter boat capt that said it would be viewed as culling fish which is illegal with stripers
 

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Fish definitely shrink in the cooler. I think you could get away with keeping one 1/2" over as it would not shrink more than that..........Gary
 

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I trust myself, and no one else. I made my own "ruler" for trophy season. The marks are 1/4 inch off the mark for the slot. Anyone who measures a fish on my boat (including myself) has a 1/4 inch margin of error:)
5th
 

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Had this discussion on the boat yesterday. Do fish shrink or get bigger after several hours in the cooler?

Does the DNR give you any break if the fish is off by 1/8 or 1/4 inch?
Last year I got stop by DNR I measure the fish off cooler it was 18 he measure off his it was 17/34 he let me go but told me get a ruler like his
 

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I've had live fish shrink. I have done plenty of tournament fishing for largemouth. Many places it 12" min. I have had close fish at weigh in time not make the mark, when I clearly saw that it was over 12" when caught.When striper fishing I always give myself 1/4 inch margin for shrinkage.
 
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