Here is a statement from one of Scandinavians most famous and wellknown
profiles in Sportfishing from Sweden:
I'm working as a fully professional sportfishingguide, and allso writes books
and artikels and have produced more than 35 TV-shows about sportfishing. I'm
allso the one person who have registrated the most pikes over 12,00kg in Sweden.
This register is hold and kontrolled by the Swedish Sportfishingorganisation "Svenska
Sportfiskeförbundet / Sportfishingregistrator Håkan Brugård". Not every one of
this big pikes has been Catch & Released. But sins 1992 every one is! My clients
sometimes want to take a fish for a feast & eating. And that is ok for me. But
never a pike weight in more than 4kg. As fishing get more and more popular and
fisherman gets more and more skillfull in catching it is very important that
fishes puts back after caught. Otherwise our waters soon will be empty - both
talking number of fishes but allso when talking bigger spieces of fishes. When
writing artikels and books and making TVprograms and allso on daily basis when
working as a guide I have a very important mission - to teach my readers and
clients why we put fishes back - and how to do it proparly - for the care of
each special fish and for future growing populations. I only welcome clients who
accept C & R on this basis abowe.
Info in english and
I think the best way to approach these subjects is to start with the "why" of
catch and release fishing. It boils down to science. Actually, it is very simple
science, and it has to do with genetics. Just like us humans, fish are born with
a genetic code that transfers to their offspring. Think of it this way; when two
humans of large stature breed and have offspring, those offspring will also be
of large stature. The same goes for pike, although in their case it is the
female who carries the all important growth genes.
When large fish are taken from a body of water, those genetics are also removed.
And once most or all big fish are removed, the gene pool becomes depleated. Once
this happens, small fish will be all that is left. Possibly forever. And what
this means to us as fishermen is, if we want to catch big fish, we must work to
keep the genetic pool intact. In other words, if one wants to keep catching big
fish, he must release those he does catch.
With that being established, there is a right way and several wrong ways to
achieve successful releases. Having good intentions is all well and good, but if
the right techniques aren't used, the mortality rate can still be very high.
Even if you watch them swim away, they can still die. It's just a case of
There are several steadfast rules governing successful releases. The best case
scenario is to unhook the fish without removing it from the water. On smaller
fish, this is not difficult. However, large fish can be challenging. The best
way we\ve found to achieve this is with the use of a large landing device like a
cradle or a net. Both can be used as a "holding pen" to allow hook removal while
the fish remains in the water. However, this is not always possible. First, if a
fish is to be handled out of the water, make sure both hands are wet. This will
minimize slime loss. The slime that pike are coated with is very important to
their survival. It fights off harmful bacteria and infectons. If a pike is
handled with dry hands, slime will be removed and before long, it will develop a
bacterial skin infection. It may take awhile, but the pike's fate is sealed.
Secondly, if a fish is hooked deep, it is best to either back the lure out
through the gill flaps or to cut off the hook points with a quality cutter. We
like the Knipex cutters available through Esox Angler Magazine.
One important thing to remember is to minimize the fish's time out of the water.
You may ask, "How long is too long"? Imagine this: how long could you hold your
breath underwater? It is the same for pike out of the water, so if a photograph
is needed, the camera needs to be readied while the fish is still in the water.
Better yet, during the fight. Then the fish can be quickly held up, with both
hands wet and supporting the internal organs, while the angler's partner quickly
snaps off a shot or two. If additional photos are needed, lower the fish back
into the water to catch it's breath before snapping off more.
When releasing a pike, one must allow it to revive itself before turning it
loose. Hold the fish, still in the water, by it's mid-section. Don't pump it
back and forth. Instead, just hold it steady. Before long, one will feel the
fish tense up. Reach back and grab it at the base of the tail and give it a
slight squeeze. If it is ready, it will usually take off in a burst of speed
once it feels it's tail being squeezed. If not, support the midsection again and
give it more time to recuperate. One trick I've found is while supporting the
pike in the water with both hands under it's midsection, slightly put pressure
on it's underside with your fingers and run your hands back and forth, keeping
the fish stationary. This sometimes seems to resuscitate them quicker.
Another suggestion I have is a subscription to Esox Angler Magazine. We have a
column dealing with catch and release in every issue. Very good information on a
very important subject. Also, send us photos of your catches. We love to print
photos of fishermen and women holding their catches. Release photos are even
In North America, northern pike are one of the most prized of gamefish
species. Many anglers specifically target these great sport fish. Northern pike
are are a slow-growing fish -- at the top of the foodchain -- and therefore
present in low densities. In some areas, they share the "top-of-the-chain"
position with the muskellunge, another very prized species.
Fisheries managers have long ago come to the conclusion that because of the
characteristics of slow-growth and low densities, protecting these fish from
overharvest by any means, is not only vital to the overall health of fisheries,
but absolutely necessary to maintain any level of quality angling opportunities
for these species. Historically, in many cases, increased angling pressure (and
other harvest methods) have nearly completely decimated populations of Esox
Lucius (Pike) and Esox Masquinongy (muskie) to the point of nearly zero angling
success. Or, specific overharvest of larger, healthier specimens, has created
situations of overpopulation of smaller, slower growing esox, crammed into a
specific size-structure dictated by desirable harvest size. These situations
create more problems, as fisheries' forage base become out-of-balance and any
quality angling opportunities for the species are eliminated.
Depending on fisheries, near total protection (catch & release fishing) of the
esox species from harvest -- or specifically protecting the larger fish in the
size structure, has been successful in bringing these fisheries back into
balance -- and providing some of the best quality angling in decades. There is
little doubt at all these days, by fisheries experts or those who enjoy the
angling opportunities created maintained -- that practicing catch and release
fishing for esox species is a necessity for proper management of the species and
Greetings Fellow Esox Fan,
Having been fortunate enough here in the states to fish many pike waters
where few pike have been released as well as waters where pike have been
spared any significant non-release pressure, I can attest to the drastic
differences in pike populations and size structure in these two types of
waters. Substantial to heavy removal leaves pike populations either
over-run with stunted small pike where spawning success is high, thus
leading to poor quality, slow-growing, unhealthy fisheries with serious
impact on the balance of other species; or very low density populations,
even extinction of pike on waters like our heavily developed lakes where
spawning success is poor. These lakes also display poorer, unbalanced
populations of the fish pike prey on since the pike's population control
benefits are not present.
Conversely, waters with near total release of pike (or essentially no
pressure on pike like protected wilderness waters) feature good, but not
overly high numbers of pike of all sizes, very balanced fisheries with
healthy, balanced populations of the other fish native to those waters.
People who believe pike are harmful to other species have apparently not
enjoyed essentially untouched water where man has not affected nature's
balance. Pike and the other species in these waters have lived in harmony
for eons without wiping each other out, indeed quite the opposite has
occurred. Diverse, balanced fisheries that are just incredible and a joy to
Hope this helps a bit, good piking to you!
Professional Walleye Fisherman
This is a great cause to be involved with. In the United States we have seen
a tremendous gain in popularity of Catch and Release. Even in my lifetime, I
have seen anglers that were always “meat fisherman” change their attitudes to
one of “Selective Harvest”. Taking fish they are going to eat, releasing the
larger “breeding” fish and in some cases (like big Pike/Musky) going to a
complete C&R program. Two things that have helped with this tremendously are
digital cameras (so instantaneous bragging can occur) and excellent graphite
replica’s (for the wall hangers).
Because of this, there has also been a dramatic improvement in overall fish
populations. We might have some of the best Pike, Walleye and Bass fishing ever
experienced in the United States right now. I think a big part of that
improvement is from Catch and Release or Selective Harvest attitudes.
One of the important aspects of a program like this is to make sure anglers are
educated on the correct way to handle fish to be released:
· Proper holding methods for big fish
· Quick Set rigging
· Quick fish handling
· Efficiently handling fish by using the right tools
· Using wet hands to reduce slim loss
After all releasing a fish is only part of it, the fish must also survive.
For the small percentage of mortality that might occur - nature will take care
of that . Scavenger fish, birds and animals will take care of fish that don’t
survive. These fish will not go to waste and the fish that do survive the big
bonus - obviously they would not be swimming any more if ever fish must be
I am a strong proponent of Catch and Release and Selective Harvest and suggest
that your organizations support it also.
Professional Walleye Fisherman
The Next Bite TV
It has been proven by
scientific study here in the US, that catch and
release of muskellunge (first
cousin to the pike) works exceedingly well
with proper handling, and
contributes to the future fishery. Several
re-captures of tagged fish
clearly document that the species Esox continue
to grow and get re-caught
again and again, providing additional sportfishing
for all anglers.
Die irischen Bestimmungen zum Schutze des Hechtes, ihr Ursprung und ihre Auswirkungen
Irland galt einmal als schier unerschöpfliches Füllhorn, was die Hechtfischerei anbelangte. Leider sind diese Zeiten schon sehr weit in der Vergangenheit zu suchen, als quasi jeder Wurf einen Hecht brachte. Den Iren galt der Hecht nichts, für sie war nur das sogenannte Game-Fishing interessant. Also das Fischen auf Salmoniden. Daher griff man teilweise zu unglaublich brutalen Mitteln. Durch Netzzüge, Elektrofischerei und gelegentlich auch durch Gifte (z.B. Rotenon) wurden ganze Seen völlig fischleer gemacht, um sie mit Salmoniden zu besetzen.
Auch der aufkommende Hausboottourismus tat sein übriges. Hechte wurden von den Urlauber aus dem Shannon-Erne Waterway und den anliegenden Gewässern in unerhörtem Maße entnommen.
Bis dann Ende der 80er Jahre der Einbruch und das Umdenken kam. Die Touristen wurden unzufrieden, da jetzt die Hechte knapp wurden. Die Bestände der Weißfische explodierten im gleichen Maße, wie die Räuber weniger wurden. Ebenso erreichten sie nicht mehr die gewohnten Größen. Es drohte ein ökologisches und ökonomisches Desaster! Daher entschloß man sich, zum Glück, dem mit gesetzlichen Maßnahmen gegenzusteuern. Hier im folgenden der originale Text:
Conservation is vital to protect the quality of Ireland's pike fishing.
Anglers should use strong wire (20 - 30lbs test) for trace material, and a reel line of over 12lbs test, with small strong hooks in the terminal tackle. When fishing static baits, the tackle should be closely attended and a reliable form of bite detection used. A run should be struck sooner rather than later to ensure that the pike does not swallow the hooks.
When landed the fish should be laid flat and the hooks removed with a suitable tool such as long handled artery forceps. Anglers may find it useful to wear protective gloves. Sometimes it will be easier to release the hooks by working carefully through the gill covers. The use of pike or carp sacks is recommended for the retention of fish prior to weighing or photography before they are returned.
Pike Fishing Legislation
Pike angling is covered by legislation which stipulates:
1. It is illegal to fish with more than two rods.
2. It is illegal to transfer live roach between waters.
3. The use of live fish as bait is prohibited.
The 1990 pike conservation bye-law prohibits:
The taking and killing by any person of more than one pike on one day.
The taking or killing by any person of any pike exceeding 6.6lbs (3 kilos).
Any person having in his possession more than one dead whole pike or, alternatively, more than 3.3lbs (1.5 kilos) weight of pike flesh or parts.
The above mentioned prohibitions do not apply to specimen pike (as defined in the bye-law). A specimen pike from a river is over 20lbs (9 kilos) or from a lake 30lbs (14 kilos). This means that only one such specimen pike may taken and killed by any person on any one day and that only one such pike, in whole and ungutted form, may be in the possession of any person.
Besonders die Entnahme von Fischen ab 3 kg, deren Besitz und die bereits vorhandenen Fänge werden mittlerweile sehr streng und gründlich überwacht. Bei Verstößen auch sehr empfindlich geahndet. Unter den irischen und britischen Angler ist es eine Selbstverständlichkeit, sich und die Urlauber zu kontrollieren. Zudem ist es durch die wirklich mehr als zahlreichen Hinweisschilder, die für jeden Bootsfahrer ersichtlich sind, sehr deutlich erkennbar, daß der schonende Umgang mit der Resource Hecht freiwillig über die gesetzliche Forderung hinausgehen sollte.
Aus meiner eigenen Erfahrung kann ich sagen, daß dieses irische Modell mit seinen stringenten Entnahmemengen und -größen ein voller Erfolg ist und sich die Bestände der Hechte auch in den sehr stark frequentierten Bereichen des S-E-W signifikant verbessert haben. Selbst die sogenannten Specimen Exemplare, also Fische von mehr als 20lbs (Fluß) und 30lbs (See) sind wieder präsent. Obgleich sie legal, aber in der Menge beschränkt, entnommen werden dürfen, greift hier der Schutz des Hechtes aus besserer Einsicht. In gleichem Maße hat sich natürlich auch die Situation bei allen anderen Coarsefish verbessert, was besonders die britischen Matchangler sehr zu schätzen wissen.
Letztendlich hat sich der "act of pike conservation" als ein Segen für die irischen Fische und die irische Fremdenverkehrsbranche gezeigt! Ein Beispiel, dem der Kontinent in jedem Fall Folge leisten sollte.