Winter’s approach means less time on the water for most anglers in the northern hemisphere, and more time in front of the fire, contemplating this and all other seasons past. It also means more time in front of the computer, discussing our “sport”. Erin Block has kicked off our more philosophical time of year with a very interesting conversation on her blog about ethics, specifically casting to spawning fish.
Every angler has his or her own justifications for fishing (or not) the way they do (or do not) and I am glad to see Erin’s post take off the way it has, even if I prefer to save such heaviness for the dark cold blue of deep winter. Her words, and the comments they have spawned (pun intended) are definitely worth a read.
The fact that anglers are willing to discuss their fishing ethics is encouraging to me. It is certainly better and more productive than some of the stuff non-anglers throw at us, as pointed out by Marc Fauvet of The Limp Cobra in his post, My rod’s bigger than yours. PETA has adopted a strategy to eliminate fishing by relating the torturing of fish to penis size, referring to the penises of the anglers, not the fish. Never mind the fact that many of the world’s finest anglers have no penis at all. Check it out and see if you have something to add to the conversation over there, before it turns completely to goats.
Personally, I still sometimes wonder why I feel the need to drive a hook into a fish’s mouth and reel him/her in, just to let him/her go. Or why I set traps for beaver, muskrat and mink. Or swat flies, kill wasps and poison mice. I do, however, know why I do not fish for dogs and I wrote about it once. You can read my story here: Fishing Hurts.
Meanwhile, I’ll be blowing out water lines in the camps and trying to get stuff picked up before it freezes to the ground. It’s going to be a long winter.
I think N.O.W should go after PETA for leaving women out of the equation. That, would be a hoot and a half!
Long winters are good times for such discussions — and as you say, both are just starting…
Fishing when trout are spawning unethical? Here’s a twist on that. Some years ago I was fishing from the bank of the White in Arkansas in the fall. The browns were on their redds. I had a wonderful day of fishing there. But I disturbed not the spawning trout. The redds were quite identifiable from the bank, and I fished several yards (maybe 20 or 30) downstream of them for the large rainbows that were feeding on the drifting eggs. To me, that was okay, even though I would not have considered fishing for the spawning browns.
I blatantly fish for bluegill on their beds, and even seek out such places for casting. Yet, I would not do so for their close relative the bass. Go figure. Maybe that is for the same reason that a caterpillar slayer would protect a butterfly.