Catch & Keep Erie Smallies?...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by CoolWater, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. CoolWater

    CoolWater Multi-Species Fanatic

    I'm not a 'tree hugging' hippie or anything that beleives you have to release everything you catch... and I dont mean to stir the ____ storm about catch & release vs catch & keep... but i ran upon this and it made me think and wanted to get some feedback from those of you that fish erie for smallies, especially the erie captains that are on the site...

    go to Port Clinton, September 2000, first pic...

    My questions are basically, is that typical for people to do? Do most Smallmouth Bass charters catch & release? Once again folks, not passing judgment just was curious- I may have completely been wrong thinking that smallies were pretty much catch & release exclusively. I don't target them often just was curious the trend.
  2. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    The only guys I've ever seen keep smallies like that are charter captains. Not saying that all captains do, or they are the only ones who do, but that's what I've experienced first hand.

    I was on a smallmouth charter 10 years ago, and the captain was kind of upset that we insisted he throw back the smallies. My assumption at the time, was the trip was over once you fill your boat limit, and he was looking to make an 8 hour trip into 4 because we would've limited out in half the time EASY (we caught over 100 between 4 guys). Now, I don't think that's necessarily smallmouth specific, but when's the last time anyone saw a charter captain cull a fish? I've never seen a captain cull an eye or a perch. If it's legal, it goes in the cooler seems to be the general mindset.

    I remember at last years sportsman show, seeing a bunch of pics at a charter captains booth with stringers FULL of big smallies, which I personally didn't care for.

    I guess the bottom line is this. As long as they are within the rights of the law, there's no legal issue involved. It's a matter of personal principal. I won't keep a bass, but I'll keep occasional eyes or crappie. I tend to put bass on a higher pedestal, probably because I have more time invested in fishing for them, and frankly, they don't taste as good :D I'm sure that can be taken as hypocritical, but that's just the way it is for me.

  3. rockbass

    rockbass Banned

    I am much the same way as you shake!

    I don't keep a single bass, but will keep eyes crappie and cats. Eater sizes of course, not the big hogs! I saw a guy with some bass on a stringer at salt Fork once. Nice ones too. 2 about 2 lbs or so and the other about 4 lbs. Drove me nuts. I almost started on him, but hey he was within the limits. I don't see keeping a bunch of bass or too many of any fish out of a small body of water, but maybe on Erie this is cool. I am Erie dumb, so I can't say about it up there!
  4. captnroger

    captnroger OGF Webmaster

    I don't keep bass because honestly, I don't think they are all that great eating. give me a walleye or good panfish any day.
  5. There are always individuals who use a resource or ability in an excessive way. This is true in all facets of income aquisition, sports or plain old self gain for any number of reasons. Some charter captains, not all, and I believe a very low percentage, fall into this group of self centered individuals that will ignore the long term consequences of their actions in favor of their short term gain or fulfillment of their ego. The same is true of many customers that book the charter. I see nothing wrong with keeping some smallmouths, say two per person and requiring that only one be taken over nineteen inches, but that will never happen unless the fishing is done on a inland lake with strict restristions to promote trophy status fishing. I for one feel the smallmouth is an inferior tasting fish and release every one I catch as there are other species of lesser fighting ability but better table fare to be caught and consumed.. Just my opinion. I also totally support the closed season on these fish and I only fish for them when they are in deep water prior to and after spawning. A rule on my boat is all smallmouth go back, regardless of size throughout the year unless special arrangments are made in advance.
  6. I'm surprised that this thread has stayed calm. I hope it continues to also. I was thinking about this earlier in the year when I was planning a chartered trip to Erie. Would I want to keep any small mouth? I decided that I was going to fish for Walleye and if we got our limit then we would go after perch and then if there was still time we would go after smallmouth. I have seen people keep LM bass but I have heard that it is not very good so I don't keep them. Like stated before I would rather have a plate full of panfish. I can't wait until I can hook into one of eries famous small mouth. Maybe next year.
  7. When we smally fish all fish go back with 2 exceptions. If a fish is bleeding it goes in the cooler, I feel that if a fish might not survive injury its gonna get eaten and not by the sea gulls. The other is if it large enough to beat the boat record (7.2) if they want to mount it, other wise they can take a pic and set it free. Now perch and Eyes watch out as I can eat till my arms get sore.

    PS I actually have had smallmouth cooked up on the grill that was as good as most other fish I have eaten but a fish that fights like a gladiator should be left to fight again.

    pss If you read about the reproduction rates dropping drastically due to predation by the round goby and how serious of a problem it is I would hope that most would not target them during the spawn.

  8. catking

    catking Banned

    I echo PapaScott . I also will add that I went to Erie on a smallie charter about 12 years ago , and we kept a few smallies that were fouled hooked. I cooked them up and thought they were some of the best fish I've ever eaten. But then again, I was raised on LM bass & gills ...... CATKING
  9. Hey Rodger, I recall seeing a pic of a whole bunch of cumberlad stripers on a picnic table. Do you normally keep them, or was that an exception?

    I personally would only keep a smallie if it was a wall hanger! Ive yet to get one over 4 lbs. It would take alot more to keep one. But I agree they dont taste good, infact the 1 time i kept them i went thru 1lb of blackening season to eat them. My mouth was on fire and that is really all I could taste!
  10. crankus_maximus

    crankus_maximus Crankus Baitus Maximus

    I would have to agree with Shake and Papascott. If I booked a smallie charter, it should be my choice what i do with the fish. I paid for the service of getting on the water and getting "put on the fish." Once the fish is hooked, its pretty much my call (WITHIN THE LAW). Of course the one captain was ticked when he had to fill the 8-hour charter. Half the time equals more money in his pocket.

    I think this is going to be a pretty good discussion where almost everyone shares the same basic opinion.
  11. shadowman

    shadowman Supreme Being

    i have kept a few for the wall, my 1st 5 lber my 1st 6 lber and my 1st 7 lber one smallie was from a local river and 2 other smallies are from erie other than that they all go back, i have never ate one but i hear they arn,t that good of table fare but i don,t know cause i never ate one, its a choice between keeping or not and even though it gets me mad sometimes seeing what some people do i just bite my tounge and look in a different direction, if everything is legal and they are not taking more than they are allowed oh well they just don,t share the same principals as a lot of us do...... :cool:
  12. LOL I throw back all the cats I catch :) .
  13. If it were my boat, and I were the Captain, then I would make the rules and I would let those that disagree provide their own transportation back to the dock. I would happily part company in the middle of the lake and refund half of their share of the trip cost. Heck, I might even donate a flotation device. :eek: I find imposing such personal preferences on others very offensive. Throw them back if it rings your bell. Let others ring the bell in their own way as long as its within the rules.

    As far as taste, it just depends on the the water it lives in. They can be the best tasting fish, and they can be the worst also depending on the water in the area where they live.
    What you do with them after the catch is just as important. For instance- the 10 minutes on hot cement for a photograph at the dock, and trying to save on the cost of ice for the trip home. Bluefish is a good example of that and so are White Bass. Clean them immediately and get them on ice and they are great. Leave them in the cooler all day and they will not be fit for the table.

    Getting lively. It must be the weather.
  14. ShakeDown

    ShakeDown OGF Staff Staff Member Admin

    If I'm paying for a service, I would expect that service to cater to my wants (within reason), as the consumer. Even more so on a charter, considering the catch is mine, and not the charter captain's. If the captain wants to keep or release any fish that they personally caught, I have no problem with that...I just don't want them making that decision for me, if I'm paying.

    A charter captain requiring you to fill the cooler if you don't want to, also constitutes "imposing personal preference".

    Here's a question...has anyone ever seen large/smallmouth bass on a menu? Perch/eyes and saltwater fish you can find at the grocery and in restaurants, but I've personally never seen bass, nor have I ever heard of commercial bass that legal or practiced anywhere in the states?

    I hope no one takes my statements as a bash on charter captains. I've used them in the past (last year even) and have always had great experiences, and only had that one 10 years ago that gave us a hard time about C&R. Wish I could say that about car salesmen ;)
  15. crappielooker

    crappielooker The Corn Chucker

    yes..i have seen bass swimming in tanks waiting to be select and eat..
  16. Elamenohpee

    Elamenohpee Banned

    I always thought those were the one you HAD to throw back :eek: :eek:

    Lake Erie smallies taste like mud.

    I was in Canada years ago and after we drove for aboot ;) 10 hours and hiked for another 2-3, I wet my line in a nice hole in the river. My first cast yeilded a nice 1 1/2 lb. smallie which was promply filleted and tasting fish I ever ate....seppin fer thems brookies :) :)
  17. crankus_maximus

    crankus_maximus Crankus Baitus Maximus

    Shake - you and I agree. TheKing - you and I disagree. Thats just the way it is.

    As a consumer I pay a price for a product or service. As a Charter Captain, the service/product provided is transporting me to a fishing location to attempt to catch fish. IF (and thats a big IF) I choose to catch a fish and release the fish, and it is within the limits of the law (not the charter captain's opinion, which I am not paying him or her for)...then that is my choice. By paying for the service/product and the service/product being provided I enter into an impromtu contract with the service/product provider. Unless specifically stated (which I have NEVER seen), I do not have to keep the fish.

    Threatening to leave me or any other paying customer in the middle of the lake because I chose not to keep a fish is absurd and irresponsible. Not to mention the fact, if I make it off the lake - I know who you are and where to find you and how to affect your livelihood in a very meaningful way. I would guess that would not be a wise choice.

    That being said, I really hope you were jesting. ;)
  18. Here is a link to an article describing the commercial largemouth fish industry. Largemouth farming looks to be a highly profitable industry and the food value is proven but underexploited due to inadequate supply....not enough smart farmers. Industry in the same league as catfish farming is in the cards in the future. The profits per acre are phenomenal. Not to mention the commerce related to large corporation tournament sponsorship.

    My charter captain for the last 20 years does impose a preference or two on the fly. He doesn't like to keep small walleyes and doesn't like to waste the perch. He encourages keeping the smaller perch rather than throw them to the gulls in hopes of a bigger catch. I really think his preferences are intended to get us the best fishing possible while maintaining and improving the fishing for the long run. He asked us last time if it was okay for him to keep a few of the smallest perch because those are the best tasting ones. It doesn't add up that a charter captain would risk damaging his livelihood by keeping an endangered species, but maybe there are some that would.

    Oh Crankus....I did not know you were talking about releasing a fish that you caught. I thought the issue was requiring the captain to release the fish that he caught. Though, it would seem like common courtesy to oblige a request of someone to keep a fish that would be put to use. Unless of course, there were some special circumstances... like you knew the fish personnally (first fish, personal best, etc) or it was endangered. I actually did catch an endangered fish species myself years ago and someone convinced me to release it right away.
  19. crankus_maximus

    crankus_maximus Crankus Baitus Maximus

    We're square. Just a misunderstanding, is all. Captain can keep any fish he likes- my fish, another story. I keep walleye and perch. Everything else goes back, even if its a wall hanger. I would take photos and get a replica mount.
  20. Here is my two cents; I think if you contract with a charter you should check out their "rules". I have always asked when going with a new charter what and how etc.... about the days fishing. I understand it's their boat and their rules and I'll abide-not much difference than abiding by the TOS here is it? As far as keeping and or eating smallie's . I have done both and I think if kept properly, cleaned properly, and cooked properly they taste pretty darn good. That said I only keep smallie's that I think won't survive.