The Catch-and-Release Obsession

Stealph Viper

Well-known member
Definately a controversial topic for many anglers and for many reasons.

Is it the taking of fish for food that upsets anglers?
Or is it, the illegal taking of fish for food that upsets anglers?

Trout and Salmon anglers regularly take fish for food, but a poacher would be scorned upon.

If a fishery allows fish to be taken for consumption then i think that this is fine, However, if the fishery rules say that no fish are to be removed without the owners permission then that should be that.

Londoners still fish for eels for consumption for there beloved Jellied Eels.

I'm not a Lover of Fish as a Food, i like Haddock and a bit of Cod, but i dislike Trout, Salmon as a Food.

Catch and Release should be in place to protect the unnecessary taking of fish, by that i mean, people taking more fish than they would need for consumption.
When i used to go sea fishing as a young boy, i used to regularly see fishermen take far more than they ever needed to eat, and i often found bags of stinking fish lying on waste grounds because someone took more than they needed. Back then i had no idea the affects of taking more fish than we ever needed would have on fish stocks at Sea, i just thought that fish would always be in the Sea.
 

Graham Whatmore

Senior Member
A very reasoned argument Mark and one I have 'some' sympathy with because I too am old and creaky and I remember when the taking of fish wasn't an issue.

An uncle of mine always collected the eels that were caught in a contest, he loved them and no one thought to say "you shouldn't be eating fish out of the river". Many anglers caught and ate the perch (even though it was full of bones) and some even ate roach and dace, god knows I could never do it but it was quite common even in the 50's and 60's. It was an accepted part of angling in those days probably because their fathers and grandfathers did it to feed the family when time were hard which was most of the time.

It was never an issue in those days and no one thought to miscall an angler because he had taken fish for the pot and more to the point no one ever thought it was having a detrimental affect on angling stocks because, as we all know, there were more fish in the rivers in those days so taking fish for the pot couldn't be the cause of dwindling fish stocks.

Private fisheries are a different matter entirely because the owners have to buy the stock of fish initially and though anglers are given permission to fish they are not given permission to steal the fish therein.

In taking fish for the pot these Europeans are doing something they have been brought up to believe is their right just as our forebears thought it was their right but using multi hook handlines does not descriminate in what takes the bait and for that reason alone should be an offence. To catch and take a fish for the pot in a river by the use of a rod and line is to my mind not an offence just as sea anglers take fish for the pot and put back what they don't want.
 

MarkTheSpark

Senior Member
Something's gone slightly wrong with the article, and I've asked Graham to sort it out; but I'm glad you could make sense of it anyway.
 

Paul H

Well-known member
Well written Mark, I agree with every point you've made there.

There is no problem at all taking occasional fish, if the club rules allow.

Aside from the toxins they may contain of course.
 

dezza

Well-known member
Very interesting Mark. In my life I have eaten just about every British coarse fish. Some are horrible, others like the perch, eel and tench are very tasty indeed.

It is a shame that the numbers of fish in our rivers are not what they should be, although some stretches of the Trent are packed with fish of all species.

Perhaps the day will come when we can take the odd fish for the table and not be stoned and castigated by the self-righteous amongst us. In the meantime I shall take and enjoy a few rainbow trout and the odd brown brout where they are numerous.

Don't fancy barbel however.
 

J K

Well-known member
Good article Mark.

Could one of the reasons that catch and release is frowned upon be that we have become more "sanitised" and that people don't associate food with live animals in the way we used to.

I still live in the village where I grew up. When I was a lad, many, many years ago, there were eight working farms and two slaughter houses in the village plus three or four what could be classed as smallholdings. As youngsters we saw life with animals in the raw. It was commonplace to watch beast being slaughtered and butchered and to play on the farms.

Today there are no working farms or smallholdings and one slaughterhouse still at the local butchers. There is no chance of kids hanging around that one anymore.

Most of the meat and fish bought these days will be from supermarkets.
 

preston96

Well-known member
Good article Mark.

Could one of the reasons that catch and release is frowned upon be that we have become more "sanitised" and that people don't associate food with live animals in the way we used to.

I still live in the village where I grew up. When I was a lad, many, many years ago, there were eight working farms and two slaughter houses in the village plus three or four what could be classed as smallholdings. As youngsters we saw life with animals in the raw. It was commonplace to watch beast being slaughtered and butchered and to play on the farms.

Today there are no working farms or smallholdings and one slaughterhouse still at the local butchers. There is no chance of kids hanging around that one anymore.

Most of the meat and fish bought these days will be from supermarkets.
A tought provoking read Mark........as was your post JK,

todays kids, mine included!! think it all grows on trees!!
 

MarkTheSpark

Senior Member
Thanks for having a read and for your comments, chaps. It is perhaps down to us to educate our children about the origins of our food and reduce this problem. I resolve to buy an air rifle and take my daughter rabbiting this winter. As if I didn't do enough rabbiting already....
 

Graham Marsden

Editor Emeritus
Only the other week I overheard a 30 year old woman say to her friend, "I'm not eating lamb any more, I found out last week that they really are baby sheep. How disgusting!"

Don't ask me, I can only assume that previously she thought that the meat known as lamb was just a name for something that wasn't really a baby sheep.
 

Fred Bonney

Banned
Banned
I have never taken a freshwater fish, apart from an eel or two when a kid for my mum, they have never appealed to me as a food item.
Sea fish and general harvest of the sea are a different matter and I would eat that produce in preference to meat & veg.

So I have read Mark's article and can find no disagreemnt with his views.


This following though is a point Mark made, is in my view is very much worth pushing, because in the overall scheme of things, it is more important that this is where we anglers should be more voiceiferous

Good waters support literally tons of fish which can replenish themselves (in terms of biomass) in a matter of months. The effect of pollution, inadequate flow through abstraction and poor habitat is far, far greater on them than the effect of predation - by humans, zander or even otters. To a large extent, predation is self-limiting, in that the predator moves on if success is poor. That’s not true of pollution and habitat damage.
 

klik2change

Well-known member
I wonder what a fishery owner would have to say about the idea of eating its fish? The carp fraternity have obviously not read this thread - or they can't be bothered to post. Is anyone suggesting we change the catch-and-release culture?

I remember the very first outing, on the upper severn, with the first club I joined. I was about 13, the year about 1965. On that day, a young man of 18 - 19 caught a truly magnificent 24lb pike. We all saw it because he took it home with him to get it stuffed and mounted. I daresay the river could bear the loss of one pike, however fine a specimen. I do not know if he ever actually got the pike stuffed. What a waste if he didnt!

I ate a pike once, out of curiosity. I was about 17 at the time. My mum was appalled and thought I should have put it back, because it was only about 3lbs [Early parental conditioning]. It was quite tasteless - unlike the several trout I took home, which were wonderful!

My mum fed the family right through the war; skinned, gutted and plucked every kind of game, poultry, fish, or meat [most of which was honestly acquired]. She always hated skinning and gutting even though she did it hundreds of times. She could never get used to it.

I gutted and cooked the pike myself - and all the trout.
 

elliottwaters

Well-known member
Couldn’t agree more

The catch and release philosophy creates the bogus impression that Angling is “doing something” about declining fish stocks rather addressing the real issues of pollution from agriculture and industry and water abstraction from our rivers. It’s on a par with the driver of a 4X4 gas guzzler justifying driving his kids 150 yards to school because he fills up with lead free petrol.

The reluctance to eat freshwater fish (or for that matter any fish that isn’t filleted and in a sanitised cellophane wrapper from a supermarket) has more to do with how distanced most of us from where our food comes from than any conservation motive. As for me, although a townie born and bred In the 1970’s as an impecunious student living near Teddington I used to regularly supplement my diet with fish from the Lower Thames when my grant had run out after being dissipated on fags, beer, LPs and other essentials (student grants – that dates me!) perch. pike, gudgeon and eels were highly prized, bleak were acceptable if a bit tasteless, but roach and dace had too many bones.
 

klik2change

Well-known member
I think the "obsession" came about from clubs originally, but was reinforced by carpers. Pet names for fish followed...
 

dezza

Well-known member
I think the "obsession" came about from clubs originally, but was reinforced by carpers. Pet names for fish followed...
The first carpers were monks.

I have a picture somewhere of our Monk with knife and fork held over a twenty pound fish after baking which took 6 hours.
 

r1paul

Well-known member
Definately a controversial topic for many anglers and for many reasons.



Londoners still fish for eels for consumption for there beloved Jellied Eels.
Here`s one Londoner who don`t .:eek:
Provided its just one or two for the odd meal and the rules of the water are not being broken , thats fine .
Carp ? not a problem , unless they have cost someone money to stock them , but then again , just the odd one .:cool:
 

Bill Cox

Well-known member
We dont need law changes or a softening of outlook we just need to abide by the rules of wherever we are fishing. If you are in a free stretch of river that allows for taking the odd fish all well and good but if your in a private stretch or a lake run by an organisation then you abide by the rules in place.
 
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