Sunday, November 18, 2012

Disgruntled Reader Offensive and Way Off Base

My blog reaches thousands of fishermen a week.  Most are appreciative of the information I post about techniques, reports, spots, trends, lures, etc. I meet hundreds of fishermen a year who thank me for the information I post. However, every once in a while, someone who doesn't like what I write comes along and wants to spew false information.  I got an e-mail from one of those guys this week.  Here it is:

I find that your tips and info on catching 12" striped bass to be irresponsible - if not pathetic. A person in your position shouldn't be exhorting the taking of these baby fish. These fish are easily damaged and should be left alone to go on their journey down south. It miffs me as to how someone over the age of 13 could enjoy catching 50-100 baby fish and then telling 100's or 1000's of others how to do the same. Even if you enjoy the challenge, you should have a bit more respect for these juvenile fish that are easily injured. I see from your own pictures that they are usually torn up in the mouth - and who knows what other harm you have done to them.

Please start respecting these fish and leave the the hell alone. If not, then please try not to influence others as they may not be as careful as you or I as far as release. Although after reading the SOL RI forum, it seems you aren't very careful afterall as you have been seen dragging fish up on the rocks. With all due respect - grow up.

Well,  let me respond.  I am not "taking" baby stripers.  When I cast my lure out, I am hoping for a big one also, but sometimes, small ones are what you have in front of you. With light tackle, they can be sporty to catch AND release. It's part of fishing and you see many of the best fishermen in the state out there fishing for schoolies and releasing them in spring and fall. Highly respected magazines run articles on schoolie fishing.  You are lecturing a guy who released EVERYTHING this year including countless keepers.  I haven't kept one striper.   I also go to great pains to try to minimise damage to the fish.  I often use single hooks, crush the barbs on trebles, and try to handle them with care.  You are way off base and don't know me if you think I don't treat them with respect.  I don't know where the "dragging fish up the rocks" came from, but that also is totally false.  Yes, sometimes when you are fishing high rock perches that happens, but once again, most experienced fishermen try to minimise that rough treatment as I do. Finally, I find your "grow up" comment to be highly offensive and unwarranted.  You are lecturing a guy who is 62 years old and has been fishing all his life and has made a lifelong commitment to conservation in my writings and in my actions. I've released over 50,000 stripers in my career with fish that reached all the way to 50 lbs. Very few fishermen out there will unhook a 50 lber., revive it, and watch it swim away.
Your e-mail was way, way off base and highly offensive.