“Many men will go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after”
I have been mulling over this for some time, should I or shouldn’t I express my opinion because I’m pretty sure that I will take a lot of flack. But, feeling strongly about this issue and seeing many photographs of fish out of water posted on social media, in magazines and elsewhere, I have decided to bite the bullet and say it – what the hell!
I find actions like oxygen-deprived fish out of water, grip-n-grin photos, fish-in-the-grass with rod and reel for scale, in fact any ego-trophy hold of any kind, improper and unacceptable. I will keep this short because it needs little explanation. I have no doubt if you happen to read this you will get my drift, I didn’t say you would agree, but I stand by it.
I’m not alone in these thoughts and I know many who share the same view. To quote a line from an American friend, Les Booth, on the subject, “There are no longer any valid reasons to continue this purely, ego-driven-action. I do hope all who enjoy and love the outdoors will see the good-sense in this change – and make it a priority in their fishing activity. The chance – no matter how slight you or I may believe it to be – a fish will incur – either injury or some other adverse effect – through direct contact with a human hand – is FAR too costly for the ‘egotistic pleasure’ derived!”
If you do happen to lift the fish out of the water for a photograph and I do, make sure it is for a few seconds to compose and press the shutter, or keep it in the net submerged until you are ready, get it done quickly and make it your business to know how to hold a fish with wetted hands without causing injury, and gently cradling without squeezing it and fingers around the peduncle to avoid damaging internal organs. If you are taking for the pot administer the last rights and do it humanely the moment the fish is brought to hand. If it’s wild, I’d prefer to see C&R!
Take a few seconds to admire each catch, the beauty, the wonder of nature, a precious resource – pursuing our fishing passions is a privilege – respecting life is a moral and ethical responsibility.
Out of the water they will suffocate – underwater in the cold, liquid atmosphere of the stream, wild, speckled shapes move the way of the flow – skin ripples and gives against the current, bound only by the limits of skeleton the literal stretch of the skin is close to being made of river. Gills move with the slightest motion, mouths open and close almost imperceptibly, fins hold them in perfect balance between water and sky. And then, at the slightest hint of anything unfamiliar, in a heartbeat, disappear – there, but momentarily gone, a kaleidoscope of gold and rainbow colours, liquid patterns that seem to melt in and out of reality like illusion in the stream.
Leave them in the water!
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2014. All rights reserved.