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so i found a 15-20lb flathead full of eggs, tied up in a little creek out in the boonies this morning, and i always get po'd when people keep those things so i drove it back to the river. did i do the right thing though?
 

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if no one was around to claim it then i say good job and right thing. could not think of any reason why someone would leave a flattie tied up in a creek though.
 

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It wasn't your fish to make that decision.
Well the better question is was it a public land or private, was it your land or someone you know in which case you can be perfectly justified in doing so. and with public land just as much, as nobody "owns" a fish let alone tied and unattended. "Moral of the story if you are not by it, possession transfers to the one who is" my dad taught me that long ago when I would tie up my stringer too close to him. On a side note depending on where you found it I would have left a note and left a bluegill or something as trade:)
 
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:) Assuming that you wasnt tresspassing you done the right thing man. To keep a big flattie like that is just stupid and it must have been a very uneducated person to have stringed it and left it in the first place. Good job on saving a trophy fish!
 

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no,you did not do the right thing.
and i always get po'd when people keep those things
it is not your place or mine to take it upon ourselves to play "save the fish" just because we don't like people keeping them.or for any other reason,unless you have reason to believe a law was broken.in which case,the right approach would be to contact law enforcement.unless you left something out,you have no clue as to why the fish was there,or who caught it,etc.
 

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im on both sides of this...i really dont like when people keep flatties that...One, its nothin to brag about so why get it mounted? and two, its pretty much too big to eat. I wouldve done the same thing, but only if i knew it was on public land and someone just left it there...but if it was on private, thats kind of a different story, but good job. = )
 

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I think it was a job well done. A fish that last 2 meals, or a fish that will produce a new generation. so the guy comes back and gets PO'ed next day hes fine. the fish isnt comming back the next day.
 

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hrmmm....Funny story especially with at least 3 or 4 catfish tourney comeing up this weekend!!! I dont think it was your place to release the fish but, I dont see any reason to keep a 20lb flathead either...


PS...Any info on the location that you found this Flathead?
 

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I am with Misfit on this one. It was not your decision to make on the fate of the fish. You don't know what the purpose was of stringing the fish. If it was to eat then whoever strung it is totally in the right legally to do so. Many will say that you should not harvest large flatties and that is fine but the fact is there is no law against it. If the guy had cheating on the mind then releasing it simply gave him the easy way out. If you would have contacted authorities perhaps they would have found a way to monitor whether the fish was used in a tourney and thus could have nailed the guy.
 

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Some Old Timers Say That If You Catch A Cat Out Of The River You Should Tie It In Some Fresh Water Hole To "clean Out" For A Few Days Before You Eat It. You May Have Stole Some Poor Mans Dinner.
 

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Laws weren't made to allow you to substitute them for your own personal repsonsibility. Anyone who believes that either lives inside or has no experience with actually living. They were also made for people, not disembodied stringers. Point in fact, it is illegal to tranport fish between bodies of water in Ohio...(uh oh!). I'm SURE that flathead came from the creek where you were....maybe. You just do what your conscience tells you to do and see how it works out. Believe what you want, welcome to America, but don't expect "laws" to get you off the hook for doing the right thing. If somebody staked it out there and wasn't around to claim it, there's no guarantee that you wouldn't find it 2 weeks from now as **** bait on the bank. I have seen enough breaking of the "laws" where wildlife is concerned to know that ODNR is understaffed and in some cases not motivated to uphold "the law". I wouldn't hold my breath for them to track 1 flathead staked in a creek by who knows. If the guy who did it wanted it, he should have been there to raise the point. If he was going to eat it and doesn't have a refrigerator, he's got other issues. If you were on his land, you should have known better....IMHO.
 

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Good points on both sides of this issue. Many possibilties surround why the fish might have been left tied up. Under the circumstances, I think I would have done the same thing. I can only come up with two reasons that I think the fish might have been left. 1) the person actually forgot and left it there or 2) the person was keeping it for tournament use. Either way you did the right thing.
 

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i understand that lots of catfishermen(and others)are strictly ooposed to anyone keeping big flatheads(or any flatheads at all),and even understand some of the reasoning for thinking he was in the right.i personally don't keep any flatheads i catch(which is very very few lately,LOL)and definitely don't like cheating in tournies.but that still doesn't make it right to take it upon one's self to prejudge and take things into your own hands to.
my biggest problem here is the real(and only) reason that was given.that in itself makes it absolutely wrong.
i always get po'd when people keep those things so i drove it back to the river
that's the most asinine reason of all.
 

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I think ya did the right thing personally. I don't like when people keep flatheads but you are allowed to legally. The underlying question is, why was it in the creek and how long had it been there? I have heard about letting a fish stay in fresh water out of the river to help decontaminate it but you could of did that in a barrel much easier. I would venture to say it was someone trying to cheat a tourney. If there was no identification on the rope I would look at it as an abandoned fish and release it. I would do the same thing if I saw a trot line with a catfish on it and it didn't have the proper identification. A 20lb flathead isnt that big anyways so if he was trying to cheat he picked a poor fish to do it with.

Jake
 
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