Catch & Release Works!

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Mike Ward
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Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 25th, 2016, 6:42 pm

Some of you may remember the story of a fish I caught in 2011, double tagged and release that was then caught just over three years later by our buddy Nathan's son, Ethan when fishing with Tyler back in 2014.

Well, she showed again - unfortunately for her last time. Confirmed by the combination of double tags (this was only fish we double tagged back in 2010-12) and the scale pattern markings near the gill and also just before the tail. Guy from Richmond caught her earlier this month on a Zara Spook and weighed it at 30 lbs and 42".

Hate she's not still out there for someone else to get another time - 38" to 42" in 25 months (and 9 or so lbs) - that fish had turned on the growth machine - but it's cool to have followed it for 5 years across multiple catches.

I'm not hatin' on the guy nor am I looking to bash him for keeping this fish - was a legal fish and a trophy by most folks standards. But rather it's a great reminder that if you want to catch 30 lbers - then you gotta release the fish in the 20's when conditions allow it. And if you want 40's you gotta release the 30's. CPR works!

Oh, and they do make great quality replica mounts these days ;)

2011 - 34.5" and 14 or 15 lbs
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2014 - 38" and 21 lbs
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2016 - paper says 42" and 30 lbs
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Dustin Pate
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Dustin Pate » May 25th, 2016, 7:36 pm

That is a great testament on catch and release for sure. I know that one is bitter sweet for sure considering the history with that fish.

travis mabe
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by travis mabe » May 25th, 2016, 7:48 pm

Mike are those tags visible ?

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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 25th, 2016, 8:41 pm

Dustin - yeah - funny feeling about it - cool to have seen it three times over 5 years but sort of have this "why we bother" feeling a bit tonight. But, using this as a way to get the word out where I can and make a positive out of it. And, like I said, it was a legal fish and I can't call the guy out - especially not knowing the full story - caught on Topwater so had to be a heck of a fight and who knows what shape it would have been in for release.

Travis - yep, you can see the tags in the newspaper pic - two "straw" like objects coming out of the fish just behind the dorsal fin. The tagging we did in 2010/11 have them all there - yellow tags about the size of a coffee stirer - though likey covered in green algae now. A rare fish out there still with a tag near the fish's anal vent from tagging done years earlier. It was a 13 lb tagged Striper that I caught inJuly of 2009 casting a fluke on a rental pontoon with no electronics on my first vacation to SML that set me down this crazy journey - and I kept that fish not knowing what I know now (though I caught it on a 6' bass rod in early July with water temps in upper 70's or low 80's and fought it for 5 or more minutes so unlikely it would have survived anyway)

Here she was when Ethan released her....

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travis mabe
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by travis mabe » May 25th, 2016, 9:14 pm

be nice to know the fish that started it all was still out there tough

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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 25th, 2016, 9:57 pm

I actually reached out to the guy to share its history - call it "closure" :mrgreen:

As I expected with catching it on Topwater, he said the fish was pretty much dead which is why he decided to keep it. Had fished SML on vacation for a lot of years since a kid and they never really caught any and this was his biggest - can't fault him in the moment.

Learned something cool though - he caught it 200 yards from where Ethan caught that fish 2 years ago :o
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Troy Roberson
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Troy Roberson » May 26th, 2016, 12:46 am

Cool story. Thank God he wasn't from NC! Can you imagine?
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Dean Harris
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Dean Harris » May 26th, 2016, 5:53 am

I recently caught a tagged 18lb striper in Carters Lake down here in GA. It had a red tag that looked like a short piece of string trimmer line. It was released to grow even bigger. Question: when we encounter a tag is there any action we should take like informing the DNR?

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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 26th, 2016, 6:22 am

Troy Roberson wrote:Cool story. Thank God he wasn't from NC! Can you imagine?
:cool2:

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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 26th, 2016, 6:28 am

Dean Harris wrote:I recently caught a tagged 18lb striper in Carters Lake down here in GA. It had a red tag that looked like a short piece of string trimmer line. It was released to grow even bigger. Question: when we encounter a tag is there any action we should take like informing the DNR?

I don't know about GA specifically but in VA our tags have a number and an address. We'll get the number off the tag of the released fish and then send the details (length, date caught, approx location) to our biologist. They encourage you to clip the tag close to the fish's body if you're not harvesting the fish and mail it in with the info and doing so enables you to receive a random $5-$50 bounty (in VA) but we'll just leave the tag in place for the next catch and get the info back to our biologist.
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will hackney
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by will hackney » May 26th, 2016, 10:31 am

That is cool to see it survived multiple releases.

Ralph Myers
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Ralph Myers » May 26th, 2016, 2:45 pm

Great story Mike.

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Troy Roberson
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Troy Roberson » May 26th, 2016, 4:30 pm

Mike Ward wrote:
Troy Roberson wrote:Cool story. Thank God he wasn't from NC! Can you imagine?
:cool2:

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You remember that time that guy kept that baby striper and you and Tyler had to be transported to the ER?
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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 26th, 2016, 4:57 pm

Troy Roberson wrote:
Mike Ward wrote:
Troy Roberson wrote:Cool story. Thank God he wasn't from NC! Can you imagine?
:cool2:

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You remember that time that guy kept that baby striper and you and Tyler had to be transported to the ER?

yeah, yeah.... but that "baby" could have turned into this 30 :paci:

And if you only knew what I had to hold back from others... :vik:

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Ken Sato
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Ken Sato » May 26th, 2016, 8:28 pm

That's great info Mike!!! I noticed that it was caught during cool/cold weather. It may have died in warmer conditions.

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Mike Ward
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Ward » May 26th, 2016, 9:21 pm

Yeah - temps have been in the mid 60's still so not too bad - but around the spawn which could have added stress - not to mention being caught onTopwater in what I expect was a bass fishing setup.
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Jim Davisson
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Jim Davisson » May 27th, 2016, 11:13 am

Very cool tracking of that fish's growth!
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Mike Meeks
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Re: Catch & Release Works!

Post by Mike Meeks » May 27th, 2016, 12:13 pm

Dean Harris wrote:I recently caught a tagged 18lb striper in Carters Lake down here in GA. It had a red tag that looked like a short piece of string trimmer line. It was released to grow even bigger. Question: when we encounter a tag is there any action we should take like informing the DNR?

I know Georgia used to collect them. Not sure if they still do. And like Mike said there was also a bounty on them. I had caught several green bass out of Allatoona that had tags. Just released them back to fight another day.

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