Are you killing those big cats by releasing them?

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by Nobody Special, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Nobody Special

    Nobody Special New Member

    Messages:
    614
    State:
    TN
    My wife brought home a pile of old magazines today and there was a Field & Stream with an article about Chris Harris fishing on the James River for big cats.

    They had caught a 35# and here's what a clip from the article said:

    The fish's stomach is distended and rock hard. Harris explains that many anglers assume they've caught a fish that just ate, but it's really just the air bladder, which expands when a fish comes up from the depths. "If you let him go like that, he'll die. We gotta burp him."

    Harris produces a 3 foot length of pvc pipe, inserts it into the fish's mouth and presses it gently until we hear a deep sigh, then another, and finally a soft belch. The fish's stomach softens and returns to normal size. "Good to go," says Harris.
    -------------------------------------

    What do y'all think of this? They were fishing in about 40 feet of water. I've pulled cats in from 40' depths and never noticed a "rock hard stomach". Another thing. I didn't know a fish's air bladder could be deflated by burping through it's mouth. I've heard of delfating air bladders in other fish, but I thought they had to use a needle.
     
  2. JMarrs328

    JMarrs328 New Member

    Messages:
    471
    State:
    York/Harrisburg, PA
    Yeah, I've caught smallmouth bass from deep flats on lake Erie, 50+ feet of water. When you bring them in, you have to use like a hypodermic needle to deflate their air bladder. I've never caught a catfish from anymore than 20 feet down or so, so i never had to worry about it.
     

  3. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    Ohio
    I've heard of this happening to perch quite often on Lake Erie.
     
  4. brinley45cal

    brinley45cal Active Member

    Messages:
    2,606
    State:
    kentucky
    Seems to me you could do just as much if not more damage by sticking that pvc down its throat.If its not done right you would probably mess up its insides,so to me i dont see the benifit from doing that.It would be safer just to release it like it is then to try something like that.
     
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    man, i think those that fish for winter blues need to look into that! thay usually pull them from deep water. i used to fish a gravel pit for crappie and they never came up shallower than 35ft, everyone we caught had to be kept because of the swim bladder swelling up.
     
  6. Mountain Cur

    Mountain Cur New Member

    Messages:
    171
    State:
    Missouri, Warsaw
    I'm not sure what air the article was refering to, but I do know if a fish caught at 25 or 30 feet or deeper and is brought to the surface slowly ( big fish or using light tackle) you will notice "bubbles" coming from the fish, usually in "burps." I don't know exactly how the fish expels the air, so it may be through thier stomach. My wife caught a 34# blue on a bass rod using 12 test line last fall (she has the pictures) and I noticed the "burps" of air as she brought the fish to the surface.
     
  7. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Grumpy there has been extensive discussion about burping fish here on the BOC.I have fished with Chris a number of times and that is where I learned about it.First of all you wont damage the fish if you use a little caution.I made myself a piece of PVC that I keep in my boat.I sanded the edges very smooth and rounded and all you do is open the fishes mouth and gently slide in down its throat until you hear the air rush out.Often rolling the fish onto its stomach and opening its mouth will do the job.It isn't unusual to bring fish up from 60-90 ft on the James and if they come in quickly they have this problem.We lost a 42 lb blue on Santee several years back even though we released it because it couldn't dive back down.We didn't have a clue what the problem was and tried everything.Finally the fish died.Ever since I burp them if the come from deeper water.The fish will try and expel the air, that is why you will see those bubbles come up during the fight,but often they rise to fast to get it done.If you release the fish in this condition it won't be able to dive down to equalize similiar to humans coming up to fast.
     
  8. gottafish

    gottafish New Member

    Messages:
    308
    State:
    Chesapeake, VA
    Jim, what's the diameter of the PVC? I had that problem with a fish down below Jordan Point a couple of weeks ago. He floated away with the tide and couldn't get off the surface. I threw the anchor and caught up to him. I managed to get it burped by getting him back into the boat on his stomach like you mentioned - so it turned out ok. This is the only time I've had an issue, but I like the idea of keeping a length of PVC in the boat for safety's sake.

    /Scott
     
  9. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    I think mine is 5/8ths.It doesn't have to be real big but enough diameter to make it stiff.Remember to round the edges.Often placing them on their stomachs will do the trick and I'm glad it worked out for you and the fish.As I said there should be plenty of reference to this subject in the BOC library.:)
     
  10. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,538
    State:
    Greer, SC
    Name:
    Pat Chaney
    I've seen several salt-water fishing shows in which a needle was used to deflate the air-bladders in fish brought up from the depths. Altough I have no experience in this area, the needle would seem to be less intrusive to the fish. I dunno :confused:
     
  11. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

    Messages:
    693
    State:
    Wilson's Mills,nc
    I used a simple sink supply line. It's small, flexible, and already had smooth rounded edges on the mushroom head. Only had to use it once. Darn!
    Got the same idea from the F & S article on Chris Harris.
     
  12. TIM HAGAN

    TIM HAGAN New Member

    Messages:
    1,236
    State:
    Walkersvil
    Well I have used a needle for years here and i hadn't seen it all that much. but it does happen and doesnt have to be just deep water. You can bring a fish up to fast in 15 feet of water and have it happen. Don't know about the pipe deal think i will stay with the needle
     
  13. FishMan

    FishMan New Member

    Messages:
    2,293
    State:
    Tennessee
    it is true and if you don't deflate the fish will die.I have seen two methods used. The pvc and the long needle. I have never had the problem in fresh water but have many times in salt water. I have even had the fishes air bladder come out of the mouth and it looked like a baloon. I have been surprised several time how the fish could live but they almost always do.

    Danny
     
  14. Randy

    Randy New Member

    Messages:
    64
    State:
    Trinity,Texas
    I use a floating live box, I put it out tied to a stump put the fish in it, they will float belly up. the box gives the fish plenty of room to keep there gills in and out of the water. In just a short time their fine, swimming around frisky and all thats when I turn em loose. Is this wrong?