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MuskieJunkie

Can I preach cach and release and spear too?

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MuskieJunkie

I realize I am walking on thin ice with this one (pun intended) and completely understand if this thread gets locked or moved.

This is a question I ask myself every year, and would like to see what other people think. I am a active member in Muskies Inc, and constantly preach catch and release, proper handling etc.... But then in the winter I am out in the dark house trying to spear pike. Does that make me a hypocrite?

On one hand I think it does. Here I am in the summer telling my boat partners do this do that all for the safety of the fish and then I sit there trying to impale one with a metal rod later in the year.

Then on the other hand I justify it to myself by thinking, these are pike not muskies, and there is nothing wrong with selective harvest. I am not on a lake that has muskies and I would pass on the "20 pounder" that my iron range friends talk about getting, although I would not fault anyone for taking it.

I've actually gone through the scenario in my head a hundred times, if that big fish appeared under the hole I would take a picture of it and then gently tap it on the back with the spear and revel in the fact that I know I could have taken it. I can say that all day but the fact that I am out there with a spear in my hand trying to kill something speaks volumes over anything that I SAY I am going to do.

Tell me what you think of my moral dilemma, there has to be guys out there in my shoes, I am sure there are guy out there that would like to give me a piece of their mind, fire away I can take it.

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sparcebag

Personally I belive in C&R but I also Take fish to eat,smoke.So by spearing selectivly and taking eaters,smokers,bakers I see no difference as long as the fish are utilized.Besides their kinda hard to release with holes in em.I do like my one a year baked & stuffed 12-15 lber.I also keep a few2 or 3 pike 2-3 lbs filleted UMMM!If there was a restriction on keeping fish I will follow it!

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LABS4ME

Why does that make you a hypocrite? You choose not to harvest Muskies... you choose to harvest pike. No different than picking any species to harvest.

I still feel spearing is potentially easier on the resource than fishing. Ever watch a group of 6 guys tip-up fish? I've watched as they "C&R" 20 pike up on LOW looking for that one over 40". You think every one of those 30-39" fish is still swimming? With spearing you choose not to take that fish and just watch it. It's never handled, never has it's gills froze, can't swallow a hook, isn't dropped on the ice etc.etc.

When you take it, it is going to be put to use. There is nothing wrong with taking fish. We just have to watch that we only take what we truley need. That goes for any fishing... Spring, summer, winter, fall.

I too am a proponent of C&R, I do my best to handle any fish as minimally as possible and with respect. The future of our fisheries depends on it. I just don't get hung up on the fact that we 'take' a small amount of pike from a system by spearing... It's O.K.! Ma Nature will make a few more! grin.gif

Good Luck!

Ken

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Eric Wettschreck

If you're feeling hypocritical, stop saying catch and release and start saying selective harvest.

No, spearing pike and releasing muskies does not make you a hypocrite, or a bad person, or a big meany. It makes you a person that likes to eat fish. We're suupposed to eat fish. It's good for us.

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Stiff

The only thing wrong with your thinking is that you think there might be something wrong with your thinking.

I think you are right on the money and there is no moral dilema about any of it.

Catch and release in the spear house is just a matter of not throwing the spear, which several of us do all the time.

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fishcast

Yeah, I would say you can practive selective harvest as above posts have mentioned and spear.

However, it does make me mad that people just about worship muskies as gods, and get on anybody that kills a muskie even with an effort to release, and northern pike are treated the opposite, pretty much regarded as a "rough fish" since you can spear them, which I feel they in no way deserve. Also cause I think big northerns are much harder to come by than big muskie as a result (it seems I here a lot more 50" muskies reported than 36" northerns)

Back to if you can cpr muskies and spear pike I say yes it is possible mostly because Muskies are low in numbers in any water generally. Where pike can in certain situations (especially in smaller metro lakes where not enough people practice selective harvest) can be so numerous it becomes detrimental to the fishery. I think in many lakes it would be helpful to keep numbers of pike under 23 inches.

However, I personally have really grown to dislike spearing in recent years, because of the amount of huge northerns you see in the paper that have been speared. And I feel a number of lakes I fish would have amazing pike fishing if it weren't for the spearers who don't practive selective harvest. Cause from what I have seen the average spearer wouldn't be able to just take a picture of that huge northern like was mentioned above.

With angling, pike have the option to open there mouths. Many times I have witnessed while sitefishing nice pike come in to view out of what appears to be plain curiosity, then turn around and leave (especially the big guys). Those fish could be toast under a spear hole cause the only person with a choice is the person with a spear in hand.

I don't think spearing pike is bad (even though I personally would never do it) I just don't think most spearers practice selective harvest or "catch and release" like you do. I think it could set a bad example if people don't understand your spearing ethics.

You could try out sighfishing with a rod and reel instead, I would think that its more exciting trying to coax those big pike into biting while watching the whole thing happen just like spearing, and get to actually CPR.

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MuskieJunkie

Thanks for all the input guys, i think it makes for an intesting discussion.

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hawkeye43

Life is about choises. If you fish muskies and release them, thats great. If you got a fish of a life time and keeped it, thats great too. Some people will give you grief no matter what. Its your choise. If you spear, you have a choose drop it or not to drop the spear, so be it. I see nothing wrong with your thinking. cool.gif

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Stiff

Fishcast, I pretty much agree with you too. I think once a northern turns the corner around 25 or 26 inches, he's (she's) pretty much in a new class of fish and should be regarded differently than a 22 incher.

I also agree that most spearing guys do target bigger fish that should be passed up, which is how we get a bad name - taking too many fish and too many big ones.

It pretty much boils down to personal choice and ethics, which has been fairly well represented here on this thread - not that it nessecarily reflects reality for everyone.

I'm hoping that this year some guys get a chance to post some pics of larger pike that they chose not to spear. That would be pretty cool.

That said - I aslo have no problem with a guy taking a big pike, but if that is what he wants to do, he should really make an effort to take it from a system that can handle the harvest of a few big ones. Those lakes are typically subject to slot limits (which poses a different problem) or from outside of MN.

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mskyfshntchr

I practice C&R on any northern over 28". They are the big ones we need to let grow and make more big pike.

Do people catch them bigger than that with rod and reel and keep them? You bet.

Do people spear some bigger than that and, obviously, keep them? You bet.

Which number do you think is much, much higher? The angler caught or the spearers?

Well, I think spearing is in decline and there are not a lot of people that do it. Way more people fish with a rod and reel in this state than spear. I am sure someone has the numbers from last year. It is not even close. Probably not even 5% spearers vs. anglers.

I am not for keeping the big ones, no matter how you catch them. Pike over 40" seem to be more rare than a 50" musky, at least in MN (except for Red). Sure wish that would change, because pike sure get a bad rap. Not sure why? Fast action, great fighting and SUPER tasting! Give me a pile of pike anyday!!

I have never speared before, but really want to try it. I have sightfished for pike using big jigs and that is a BLAST! Watching them come in out of no where and just slam the jig! Quite the rush and I bet spearing is the same.

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delcecchi

I personally don't approve of allowing spearing of northerns. But it is legal, so suit yourself. Just don't give me crap about eating some bass.

Northerns just don't have the prestige and economic value to be properly protected by the dnr.

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bassNspear

Quote:

i don't think spearing pike is bad (even though I personally would never do it) I just don't think most spearers practice selective harvest or "catch and release" like you do. I think it could set a bad example if people don't understand your spearing ethics.


]

As i said in the podcast that i did with dietz, is that there is alot of people out there that believe that spear fisherman are out there all day, throwing the spears as many times as they can. I dont believe that, and the reason that i dont is becuase for myself, i go out and see on some days, 20-30 fish, and by harvesting them, is not by making sure that your going to throw at the biggest fish, or at everyfish, but when you see that many fish, i feel it is awesome to just be able to see them. I dont have to throw it 5-6 times, 1-2 is more then enough.

I also think that alot of people are not only out there to get a monster everytime, but to be able to harvest smaller fish as well, where there are lakes that will not get over populated.

I feel that you can spear and catch and release at the same time, how, by letting the fish swim away. You seen them, its just a matter of watching them and letting them swim away and not having them in your hand.

All in all, spearing has been a generation of time in the world. I believe that spearing has falling down becuase there is less and less people doing the sport. Its a sport that has to be shown to people, in order for them to understand it. People always see people fishing through a 10 inch hole.

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cjac

Good post B'n'S......

I'm an avid muskie guy but the very fact I'm in the spearing forum is because it's interesting. Two years ago I may not say this, but today I will.... I'd love an invite from B'n'S to join him for a few hours in the dark house to watch and see what it's all about first hand. Yes, that's a not very subtle hint for an invite, remember the info I gave you on 'tonka? Time for payback! grin.gif

Really, I'd love to experience it! As in any form of fishing/hunting, there are "good and bad guys", if you will. Credible spearers fall on the "good guy" side and in many cases help the lake's ecosystem and balance.

Chris

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bassNspear

Of course. Let me know when you would like to go, and we can try and fit something in.

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cjac

B'n'S,

I will definitely take you up on it, I really want to go and try it out and experience it first-hand instead of being a couch talker on the subject at hand. We'll do a 'ski evening come open water in my ride and with my gear in return. We're both west side, shouldn't be hard to connect. We have some good water over here for 'skis.....think hybrids.....fun stuff.

Much appreciated and I'll admit, I'm excited to go!

Chris

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bassNspear

awesome man. That would be great. I am going to be gone from Dec 26-Jan 6, but other then that, we should be free game. Just have to find some time over boat show season, but other then that, bring some diet dew, and we will be ready to rumble.

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spearchucker

I think most of the people that hate spearing know nothing about it or have never done it. It is a very primitive sport, no electronic or gadgets, just a piece of steel and some handmade decoys. I don't understand why spearers get a bad rap. Many of the muskie guys are against it because they think people will spear muskies. I believe that there has never been a citation issued for spearing a muskie. Ask a CO how many tickets he has written to spearers. There are a few bad apples in every group, but there are a lot fewer bad apples among spearers.

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Central Bassman

Well said Spearchucker

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pisces

To MuskieJunkie, I would like to know: do you ever keep any Northern Pike while open water fishing? What would you do if you hooked a 36" Pike while Muskie fishing? I think I know the answer: you would handle it gently and release it only after you knew it was ready to swim away. Could you see yourself slowly canoeing through the shallows stabbing Pike with a pitchfork? Why is it different on the ice? I am not berating you, nor am I attacking spearfishermen. I am posing a question for introspection. I think it is a part of the question that has been posed on other forums on this site regarding the "attitude change" over Catch and Release on open water vs. ice fishing.

Secondly, I would like to expose that (my opinion) spearing should not be confused with fishing. It is not FISHING, any more than gill netting, snagging, bowfishing, or noodling are FISHING. It is a different, though closely related sport. It is legal. It is fun and exciting. It is not intrinsically any more harmful to the resource than hook and line. I propose that your moral dilemna come from not making this distinction. Once you accept that spearing is not fishing, but is different sport targeting the same resource in a different fashion for a different purpose (at least for you)I think the moral dilemna disappears.

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spearchucker

Quote:

To MuskieJunkie, I would like to know: do you ever keep any Northern Pike while open water fishing? What would you do if you hooked a 36" Pike while Muskie fishing? I think I know the answer: you would handle it gently and release it only after you knew it was ready to swim away. Could you see yourself slowly canoeing through the shallows stabbing Pike with a pitchfork? Why is it different on the ice? I am not berating you, nor am I attacking spearfishermen. I am posing a question for introspection. I think it is a part of the question that has been posed on other forums on this site regarding the "attitude change" over Catch and Release on open water vs. ice fishing.

Secondly, I would like to expose that (my opinion) spearing should not be confused with fishing. It is not FISHING, any more than gill netting, snagging, bowfishing, or noodling are FISHING. It is a different, though closely related sport. It is legal. It is fun and exciting. It is not intrinsically any more harmful to the resource than hook and line. I propose that your moral dilemna come from not making this distinction. Once you accept that spearing is not fishing, but is different sport targeting the same resource in a different fashion for a different purpose (at least for you)I think the moral dilemna disappears.


What is "fishing" then...? According to the dictionary fishing is the sport or business of catching fish, and spearing sure seems to be a method of catching fish. What does paddling a canoe and "stabbing" pike with a pitchfork have to do with darkhouse spearing?

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pisces

Hello Spearchucker. First, let me again state that I am not anti-spearfishing. Now, to answer your response. As to the definition of fishing, we would have to arrive at a definition of "catching". I think it is commonly accepted that hook and line is catching, but is spearing catching? I will propose that it is more closely described by the term "hunting" as follows: You position yourself at a location the target is likely to travel, you use some kind of decoy to lure the target within range, when the target is sufficiently close and unaware of your presence , you raise your weapon and take the animal. He has no choice in the matter. There is, of course, no option to release. It is taken for food, for sport, possibly for trophy display. Does this not describe Deer hunting more closely than Bass fishing? Do we "catch" deer?

Again, before anyone gets their hackles raised, I am not denegrading spearing. I am merely trying to suggest to MuskieJunkie that if he separates his "Muskie fishing" from his "Pike hunting" as two different sports with different methods, and different purposes, he may come to an understanding.

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spearchucker

I guess we will agree to disagree. As for there being "no release option" with spearing, I will submit that with spearing there is no need to release because you only take the fish that you want and never have to touch the ones that you don't want. Just because a spearfisherman sees a fish doesn't mean that he is automatically going to spear it. Many spearers that I know will sit in the house just to watch fish. I would guess that a lot of spearers pass up more fish than they take. The beauty of this is that there is no release mortality to worry about. When you release a fish from hook and line, no matter how careful you are, there are going to be a percentage that will die (I've heard 20% once, but can't remember for sure). You are assuming that every fish that a spearer sees, he is going to spear.

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LABS4ME

On Sunday morning we took 3 fish and passed on 7. Of those 7, 3 more could've been harvested, and a marginal throw could've been made on a low 30's fish, but we passed on it, and we saw a couple others we decided to pass on too. We waited for just the right throw to take our third fish. I wanted 3 to put a batch of pickled pike together. I didn't want more than 3 and we were content to just watch the rest. My friend's darkhouse has a 3 1/2' x 6' hole and it's better than watching a giant plasma screen TV!

Good Luck!

Ken

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MuskieJunkie

Quote:

What would you do if you hooked a 36" Pike while Muskie fishing? I think I know the answer: you would handle it gently and release it only after you knew it was ready to swim away.


HA, that's funny that you chose 36 for your example, I did catch a 36 on a double cow girl this summer and you're right I let it go.

[image]http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8df23b3127cceb3442ade11ba00000020101CbMmzNm5Yk[/image]

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