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Overheard a couple guys at my local Bass Pro the other day and they were getting into a rather heated discussion about keeping or releasing fish, and of course I had to get drug into the middle of it. It had started out with one of the guys saying he would like to have a blue (they were standing at the aquarium) like the big one in the tank mounted on his wall. They had been going at it for a couple minutes when they asked me what I thought and I told them I wouldn't mount a blue or flathead but wouldn't have a problem with a channel as long as it came out of the river. That didn't sit too good with one of them and I tried to state my position that here in the KC area our one big lake, Smithville, probably didn't have very many trophy blues, if any, to be honest, and the Mo River is still trying to rebound from all the commercial fishing in the past. As of flatheads, 10lbs max regardless where it's caught. There's three mid to small lakes in the KC area, Jocomo, Blue Springs and Longview I've never fished so I can't speak about them.
I have three rules I go by in regards to weight and size: I don't keep anything 15" or below, 10lbs on blues and flats and with channels it's a judgement call when I catch them. I'm 66, happily retired and fish at least 5 days a week from March to October so it's fun for me if I get skunked or not. After listened to those guys I'm not really sure what to think, any opinions?
 

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Neill from NW Arkansas
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I grew up fishing the Gulf waters and brackish bayous in south Louisiana. The limit on speckled trout was 100 and no size limits. I don't recall other limits but they were similarly ridiculous. The thinking was that the fish were an inexhaustible resource. We know better now. For sportfishing to survive for my grand and great grandkids, I have to model responsible fishing ethics. Any fish I catch over 15 lbs I'm releasing. Channels over ten.
Just my opinion.
 

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Steve from Mississippi
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I have no problem with people keeping just enough to eat. I would prefer all larger cats (15+) to be released. They are a valuable resource to be cherished. The smaller one eat better any way. I have friends that keep large flatheads because the enjoy having people over for fish fries. I encourage them to release the larger ones but it kinda falls on deaf ears.
 

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It falls to being each persons choice in the end. I very seldom keep any. If a person catches a lot of fish and wants to keep a few, I would recommend keeping the smaller fish and letting the bigger fish go. That is also keeping the fish that are healthier to consume. If a person was really hard up and need a bigger fish to eat or feed his family, I would totally understand. So, the answer may very but if we do not take care of the catfish population, we will eventually lose it altogether. I see no reason to have a catfish mounted when a picture is all the bragging rights that are needed.

But it is still the choice of the individual that catches the fish. Just do your best to take care of them and get others to do the same.

Just my opinion.
 

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Maybe it wouldn't quite be the same as the actual fish hanging on the wall but a good option for the guy wanting to have that Blue mounted might be to take detailed photos, measurements (girth and length), note and photo any scars or deformities then release the fish and have a resin replica made.
We keep quite a bit of fish every year and have kind of set a limit of under 5 lbs. on keepers.
 

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I'm a big advocate of Catch, Picture and Release. I won't keep any cats unless I'm gonna eat them, and I won't keep anything much over 10 lbs to eat. I have harvested a flat head and actually prefer their meat to a blue, but I love catching flatties so much I kinda felt bad. One day if I have a space big enough I'd like to do a replica of a big blue and flathead, but that won't be anytime soon.
 

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No need to kill a fish for a mount, measure it and have a plastic replica made of it, they are perfect and you cannot tell the difference unless you take it down and examine the backside!!
As far as table fare the flathead is the best in my opinion, blues are next and now I just throw back all channels, they eat it all and I]ve seen 50 channels lined up eatin a dead hog that I could smell a mile away and they just took turns in about 6 at a ti me, never seen nothing like it, was early spring. As far as size I limit ourselves to 10# and under, those big one are our spawners as far as I'm concerned, will all will do what we do.
 

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speckled trout down here on the gulf coast just went down from ten to five
and out of that you can keep one big one but I dont

I keep plenty of eating size dinks I have no problem with that and it in fact may help the population but im no expert
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Personally I don't have any desire to have a mounted fish whatsoever and that worksout fine because the Mrs doesn't allow any mounts whatsoever. Since I can only bank fish and mainly in a lake I usually don't worry about trophy size anyway, plus I don't rig up for them. In the not-so very-often I fish the Missouri, I only fish upstream of the city. We got to talking at dinner yesterday and a friend says when he fishes Smithville, he uses the daily limit for a weight guide, 10 channels, 5 each of blues and flats.
 

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All of these are good comments but I echo the idea that our sport is one we all love, and common sense should prevail as it is not an inexhaustable resource. It is important to me to pass my love of the outdoors on to my children and grandchildren and I do feel responsible to be a good steward of the resource. I am mostly a catch and release guy but have no problem with a guy taking a few home for dinner. I do not keep anything over 5 pounds and my thinking is that I can eat a lot of bluegills or crappie for table fare but will return the bass and cats to the water.
 

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Overheard a couple guys at my local Bass Pro the other day and they were getting into a rather heated discussion about keeping or releasing fish, and of course I had to get drug into the middle of it. It had started out with one of the guys saying he would like to have a blue (they were standing at the aquarium) like the big one in the tank mounted on his wall. They had been going at it for a couple minutes when they asked me what I thought and I told them I wouldn't mount a blue or flathead but wouldn't have a problem with a channel as long as it came out of the river. That didn't sit too good with one of them and I tried to state my position that here in the KC area our one big lake, Smithville, probably didn't have very many trophy blues, if any, to be honest, and the Mo River is still trying to rebound from all the commercial fishing in the past. As of flatheads, 10lbs max regardless where it's caught. There's three mid to small lakes in the KC area, Jocomo, Blue Springs and Longview I've never fished so I can't speak about them.
I have three rules I go by in regards to weight and size: I don't keep anything 15" or below, 10lbs on blues and flats and with channels it's a judgement call when I catch them. I'm 66, happily retired and fish at least 5 days a week from March to October so it's fun for me if I get skunked or not. After listened to those guys I'm not really sure what to think, any opinions?
Truth be told: All sport fishermen should know by now that the majority of fish that are ever caught and released - often DIE for multiple reasons, shortly after they are returned back into the water (e.g., proven research studies) ! Doesn't sound all that much like a sport to me after all.
 

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Big Sam Arkansas
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Well we could argue all day...but for me it comes down to my choice on what i want to do with the fish "I" caught...... In my thoughts all big fish matter.......when i eat i eat below 8lbs.......usually 5 and below......
 

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Eric from Traders Point, Indiana USA
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If you support release of fish caught for sport, you owe it to yourself and the fish to understand proper handling procedures to ensure the fish has the best likelihood of surviving after release. There are many things that can be unknowingly done to injure/harm a fish during the catch and also while handling the fish.
 

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Neill from NW Arkansas
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Another thought to throw in is that the older a fish gets the more toxins are in the meat. When i was about 16 I caught a 40 something pound blue on a trot line. Brought it home and it made a lot of catfish strips. I wouldn't now cause who knows what your eating. The swamp I caught it in was disgusting but at 16 who thinks about that.
The creeks I fish in are pristine to look at but I doubt I would drink the water.
 
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