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Seems like a lot of the guys here who catch the big ones will put most of them back, which is great. A photo is good enough proof - you don't need to drag it home and kill it just because you can.

Personally, I don't really like to eat fish enough to keep everything I catch. And I *really* don't like to clean them. So unless I catch a bunch of fish, I usually release them at the end of the evening -- no sense in cleaning just one or two.
 

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I practice CPR(catch-photo-release).I think that it is only fair for me to turn the big gals back.I've started my on tagging program as of lastweek.I've toyed with the idea for 3 years and decided to give it a go.I just want to see how many of them get caught again.I know I'll never hear from alot of them again,but I know I've caught the same fish in the past.I want to see where the size starts making a difference.I know I've caught small flatheads(15lbs and below) more than once.I want to see if say a 25-30lber is as easy the second time as the first.I still think a bigger fish is unlikely to goof up twice as quick as a small fish.I'm trying to make my catch and relaese program a little more fun.I still put my table fare in the freezer,mans gotta have a fry every now and then.You guys be nice now, because we all know how post like this trun out :D :D :D :D
 

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I've released more this year than any year in the past, mostly as a result of being too lazy to clean them than the need/want to put them in the freezer. I've got nothing against catch n release (or C-P-R) and I may even participate at some point. Sounds like a good experiment with the tagging, to see how often you catch the same ole' cat! Let us know how that turns out...I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in that.
 

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I rarely keep fish, unless I intend on keeping them for dinner, then I may keep 10 fish a year in the 3# range.

Even if I plan on keeping fish, I've gotten in a habit of bringing an ice pick with me and punching a hole through their bottom lip and running the stringer through that hole. That way if I don't catch enough fish to keep, I can safely release them. A fish that has had a stringer rope or clip in it's gills has less of a chance of surviving.
 

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I keep as much as I can. Like I said in the other thread, I fish to eat. I won't keep real small ones, and I probably wouldn't keep a monster if I managed to catch one (though with my 10-pound line I don't think that'll be a problem).

Here's a quote I like from an old Mother Earth News:
"The industrial working man's sport of catching fish out of freshwater canals, lakes and streams, weighing them, and throwing them back again, is as puerile as pulling wings off flies ..." -- From here
 

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I eat alot of fish, but I will throw my fair share back as well. I, too, tag them by clipping a fin on their belly slightly to see how many I catch again. Out of the many thousands I've caught this year, only a couple dozen or so have had clipped fins. I won't keep more than I can eat, or my friends can eat. God bless.
 

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I keep most of what I catch. Mostly out of spite. Rarely to I get my monies worth out of a fishing trip. Figure gas, lost rigs, bait, etc. I almost always go in the hole. Don't get me wrong, I don't fish for food so I have no problem going on a few dry runs now and then. I think it's bad luck to throw back the first fish of the day, so, I'll keep him no matter what. I've been known to come home with one sorry little 2lb'er and fry him up. I should be fishing with Mudhole so I catch enough to tag and catch again. But hey, I'm in it for the challenge, peace and quiet, and if the fish gods are willing a little something for supper. If I ever caught a monster cat,(50lb+) I'd probably take a picture (like I ever have a camera) and turn him loose. I really respect these fellers who practice CPR. If it came down to it, I think it'd be pretty tough to turn a big'un loose, especially if one didn't have a camera.
 

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I personally will keep a few fish for the pan or the freezer but always release larger fish (over 10 pounds) immediately after removing the hook, getting a weight and a picture. I allow my clients to keep what fish they want, but encourage them to release the larger ones after a weight and picture are taken.

The larger fish are obviously more mature and have more coarse texture of the meat. This does not affect the flavor of the meat, but requires a thinner section for more thourough cooking, especially if a marinade is used to enhance the flavor.

I don't hold fish on a stringer in my boat. My homemade livewell is fitted with a circulating pump, filter system and injected O2 system to keep the fish alive for the tournament weigh-ins. I release unwanted or undersized fish almost immediately to keep down mortality.
 

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Well as crazy as they may sound i dont even eat fish or any type of seafood just dont like it. The only thing i may eat is Tuna fish but thats probably maybe once or twice a year and i cant stand the smell of seafood it drives me crazy. When mom use to be frying up fish i would leave the house and come back a few hours later then head straight to my room. I release every fish i catch. Plus they are health advisory warnings in the place i fish at. Ocassionally i will give one to an on-looker but thats about it. I also dont ever carry a camera and would be hard pressed to throw in a lunker as i was today but i gave in and throw him back. The sad part is sometimes when a cat is hooked in a bad area i tend to wonder thus this guy even have a chance of surving. Does anyone think that way.
 

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I pratice catch n release and require all clients I have out fishing to do the same on all trophy size cats. Sure I've kept some large fish in my younger days to eat them, but It allways gave me a feeling I didn't much care for.
I believe the smaller pan size fish make the best eating fillets. There's nothing as good as a pan full of fresh fish fillets, but just try to remember that trophy catfish are few and far between. And like Mudhole, I can only hope that future generations of catfishermen have a chance to land those true trophy Catfish!
 

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First off i think its a personal choice if you want to keep them or release them. I'm not gonna condemn anyone for keeping a fish. With all that said i used to keep all i catch. We'd eat them and share with neighbors. Nowadays though, as many catfish as we catch i see no reason in keepin any goodones as the smaller ones are the best table fare, not to mention i only like fish once every six months or so anyways.


I hear it all the time about throwing them back. I can't take something from something i care about doing so much. In todays world its more about sport than anything. Its just flat cheaper to go to the supermarket and buy a nice package of fillets and probably safer too considering all the chemicals that pollute the river these days. And beyond popular belief i don't think anyones gonna starve either. :D

Its all in good sportsmanship and good fishing ethics. I'd like to give my children the same chance that i have now if not better. The first of this year i got to try fishing the mississippi river with rod and reel(my first time for both river and rod and reel). Within an hour or so i'd landed a fish that woulda went 30 pounds i'm sure. I just couldnt bring myself to keep it even though i didnt have a camera. Why should the fish die for me not having a camera or my own vanity if i'm not interested in eating him? I wrestled with my interself for a bit before finally releasing him. It gave me one of the best feelings in the world to lock horns and give him the respect hes due.

All in all you never know, one of these years with luck i'll latch into one of the ones that i had earlier released for the fight of my life and i'll be waitin, because you can't buy a fight like that!!!!!!!!!
 

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i keep cats unless i have my freezor full or its just to big to kill. i don;t see the reason to butcher 4-5 flathead in an eve. ill keep 1. but there is a few catfisherman i know around here that toss back every one. i eat fish and like it so i keep some to eat. to each his own. its your right. if there is a limit obey it if not then i suppose some folks will keep em all. ive seen guys keeping 7" fish. but clinton has no limits on cats. but the answer is ya. there is a growing catch and release going towards catfish.

hey good to see ya danny.
 

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I have provided fish for a number of fish frys with 1-2 pound fiddlers. If someone has a special need for something bigger, I have occasionally provided bigger fish. But, for the most part, the big ones go back. I have some nice cats to where they are wise to lines and hooks. It makes catching them even more fun.
 
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