Releasing undersized rockfish (w/picture diagram)

Discussion in 'Private Boaters and General Saltwater' started by Fomen, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Fomen

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    I just saw a thread that was recently posted regarding a 1/2 day trip on a sportboat where a limit of bocaccio were caught. Then as more began to come up from the deep, DFG rules mandated their release (only 2 per angler). Of course with an inflated swim bladder, this is a death sentence for the fish.

    This is a rig that anyone can make for dirt cheap to ensure a safe release for any size rockfish that you don't feel like keeping. Of course you'll need heavier weight for larger fish, but 2 pounds should be just the right amount to send back the majority of species you'll catch locally.

    You'll also need a spare setup (pole and reel) aboard dedicated to sending back undersized fish. With all the PETA, Greenpeace, and MLPA activists floating around (looking for fuel to add to their ever growing fire), this is a good way to get them off your backs. Plus you're actually conserving species for the next generation or two. Thos little rockfish can grow up to be big rockfish.

    HPIM0628.jpg

    After reviewing the pic, I noticed it was tough to read the print. So I'll tell you what it says.

    The top print says, "Tie fishing line directly to curve in hook. When the weight drops down about 100', give a sharp jerk upwards to release the fish."

    Items you will need:
    1. Extra large hook with barb filed or smashed down.
    2. 16-32oz weight.
    3. 12" of heavy mono to attach weight to hook.

    Make sure you put the hook facing downward thru the fish's top lip.

    Tight Lines everyone.

    Fomen
     
  2. Shyazn8boi

    Shyazn8boi New Member

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    Hey Fomen.. Is the limit of Boccacio for each person is 2?
    Why did the deckhand only let us have 1 boccacio each person then?

    Thats a nice diagram, I will sure do this for next month!

    Thanks
     
  3. Fomen

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    I need to check my DFG rulebook. I could have swore that it was 2 per angler..............

    I just checked it. You're right. It is just 1 fish per person. Don't ask me why. Those things are EVERYWHERE!!!! I had to run from them one year during the Southwestern Yacht Club Bottom Fishing Tournament. We were down in Mexican waters. You can keep 5 of them if you catch them in Mexico. Just make sure you have your declaration form handy. But in the US, it's apparently one per angler. I think they're less abundant the farther north you go, so where we (in SD) catch them aplenty, that may not be the case in central or northern Cali.

    WHATEVER!!!! I think they should open up season on Gharabaldi. Current Gharabaldi population: 9,673,899,564,633 (or so it seems).

    ~Scott~
     
  4. SD Waterman

    SD Waterman Active Member

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    good idea, it's better than driving away from a school of floating fish.
     
  5. fishman007

    fishman007 New Member

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    Awesome post Fomen! I'll give it a try on my next rock trip.
    I usually pop the smim bladder with a jig head for shallow water fish, the deeper species have always been a challenge. I hate to see the red line of floating fish going to "waste"
     
  6. Jimmyz123

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    That post is great. I never thought you could release the fish after the bladders inflated. That's a good thing to keep handy. Thanks man for the lesson.
     
  7. scortch

    scortch Active Member

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    That looks like a good system and I will give it a try as I too hate to see the red line.

    I have always wondered what the mortality rate is for fish returned to the deep in such a manner? Anyone ever heard? Are the effects of the trip up irreversable?
     
  8. Jimmyz123

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    Well, I'm not sure if the damage from what happened is reversable, but it's possible for the eyes and bladder to go back in. the deeper you go, the preasure sucks inward, so I can see that the eyes may pop back in, but without seeing it for sure, I couldn't say for sure.

    Does anyone have more info on this? Fomen?
     
  9. Fomen

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    I'm thinking that the eyes, stomach, and swim bladder return to normal. Those fish are resiliant. They were designed to ascend and desend from a range of several hundred feet- just not that fast. Fortunately the pressure from the water is evenly applied throught the fish's body as it desends. I'm pretty sure stuff pops back into place. The best thing you can do (and I know this is hard for allot of people) is to crank them up real slow from the bottom. That way if they're little guys, or a species you can't keep, you only have the swim bladder to contend with, and not the swim bladder, stomach, eyes, ect.... This method is a better alternative than the orange, swath of destruction behind the boat (which seems to be the norm). You want to piss off the MLPA, PETA, or Greenpeace..... let them see that orange ribbon of death behind a party boat or private boat- chucking back baby rockfish that don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of making it back down to the bottom. These people already have an agenda to shut us down. We need to start complying with certain conservation efforts. If everyone used this rig, we could save the lives of hundreds of thousands of rockfish annually. Those rockfish will grow up, spawn, and make LOTS MORE for our kids, and their kids.

    Fomen
     
  10. jigstick

    jigstick Guest

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    The only way we`ll truly know how well these fish recover from bulging eyes, bladders is if we used cages & video. I`ve worked on Boats for years & I`m happy you guys are trying to conserve, or save what you can. It`s the right thing to do.
    I`ve always just popped the bladders, with a small incision & tucked it back into the mouth. It usually works, at least they swim down as opposed to floating. Often the crew has an empty tank, that`s full, ask if you can put fish in there, see if they`ll recover. Technically, "transport" of fish isn`t legal, so make sure they get netted out. ALWAYS ASK BEFORE YOU USE A TANK, FOR ANY PURPOSE. 10-15 years ago, you wouldn`t believe the Trail of floaters we`d leave behind. Glad things are changing.
    Sean
     
  11. Fomen

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    Sean,
    If you're popping the thing that's potruding from the fish's mouth, it's not the swim bladder. That thing is the stomach. Popping that could have catastrophic consequences to the fish. I suppose it's going to die either way, and it stands a better chance of survival that way then it does bobbing like a cork on top of the water. This rig is the best way to get them back down. I've caught small rockfish before and watched them bob on the top of the water. I watch them struggle to get back down, and I've even seen a few break the surface, dive down 5-10', only to float back up. If you can get them down to 100', their swim bladder and organs will decompress, and they'll make it down the rest of the way.

    ~Scott~
     
  12. lethalinjection

    lethalinjection Active Member

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    that's why I don't like fishing shallow water rockfish,It's like fishing in a nursery,most of my offshore haunts average between 550 and 750 ft.much better quality fish. I don't feel so bad.
     
  13. Fomen

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    Unless you're using an electric reel, that's WAYYYYYYY too much work. I've never fished deeper than 400', and my shoulder was BURNING by the time I got my line back up to the top.

    Also, it's a misconception that the more shallow you go, the smaller the rockfish are. I can guarantee you probably never catch lingcod or sheepshead at that depth. Two species that are normally taken between 75' and 250' of water- that when full grown will get a heck of allot bigger than a vermillion, or even a cowcod.

    When I fish for rockfish, I use inshore gear with 20lb spectra. I start with 3oz to get to the bottom. If I hook into something big, I have to earn my keep. I can't just winch it up from the bottom.

    I've caught small fish in 350'-400'of water as well. You fish in 550' to 750' though, so your average fish may be larger. I've never fished that deep, so I can't say for sure that you don't haul up small fish also. I would try fishing that deep, but I would have to use an electric reel.

    ~Fomen~
     
  14. pucker

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    Unfortunately the reason why Garibaldi are illegal...They are California's State Fish. Its actually a felony to keep them.

    Any scuba diver will tell ya, especially when working underwater in the kelp, that Garibaldi are the biggest pains in the butt.....Not being a saltwater fisherman, I can just imagine the nuisance they cause when trying to catch kelp bass or whatever.
     
  15. Fomen

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    I know they're the state fish. The Golden Poppy is the state flower too, and although there are billions of them, you'll get in trouble if caught picking one. Gharabaldi SUCK!

    ~Scott~
     
  16. Anonymous

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish

    What a great post. My Dad and I have tried everything from hypodermic needles and more to try and save these fish. Thanks.
     
  17. viras

    viras Active Member

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    Re:Releasing undersized rockfish (w/picture diagra

    GREAT IDEA!

    BTW - your handwriting is very gangsta :huh:
     
  18. atfish

    atfish Well-Known Member

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    Going on a 1 and half day soon.. Got any weights you want to give me ?( 16 plus)
     
  19. Fomen

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    How about investing $3.50 for a 16oz weight to save the life of a fish, and preserve the industry?

    Fomen

    :)
     
  20. Jimmyz123

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    This has got to be one of the best posts I have read on here. I have always thought that once you brought them up from that depth, you couldn't release them. I'm glad to see that we're at least trying to help them out. Let's you catch 100 small ones and some of them die anyway trying to release them, at least you know you have tried.

    Great post!
     
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