Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Have you ever been made to feel like a criminal for keeping your catch?

 There are a number of fishing forums and Facebook pages that I read and participate in. Today I've dropped all of them except this one and one other.

I've noticed a growing trend on vilifying those of us that eat fish. I don't keep many the last few years, mainly 'cause I'm just too lazy to want to clean 'em after all day or night on the water.

I read a posting this morning on a catfishing Facebook page labeling keeping fish for the table as 'disrespectful' , 'outdated', 'ruining the fishery', and several other negative labels.

Am I just getting old? Or does this give ammo to the Anti-fishing crowd? It looks to me to be causing divisions among fishermen in general when we should be united in our sport.

What are your opinions and/or experiences in this?  

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This is what I recommend also. Identify the top size bracket (per species) in the BOW that you frequent, and try to release most of that size fish. Use a smaller size class to provide table fare. That's not to say that a true trophy should be released either......keeping one for the wall is also a time honored tradition in my book. My problem, is I don't know what I would consider a trophy.....I just want ONE for display, not an entire wall full of ever-increasing sized Bluegills.

Which may explain why I don't have any on the wall. I can't decide what constitutes a final, never-to-be-topped, personal best trophy Bluegill.

Like most have noted, keeping fish in moderation is not only fine and traditional, but essential to some BOW. Like Jim said, it depends on the body of water, some lakes have an abundance of fish that could support a higher limit or a higher legal size. I think you got it right on Tony about identifying the top size bracket, in the BOW per species, instead of lumping all sunfish into one category. I would like to see more limits on panfish for public waters in my state. There is still no statewide limit, size or number, for bluegill in Ohio. Limits for crappie were just put in place within the last 5 years or so, so I'm hoping limits for bluegill and other sunfish will follow. There are only a few public waters with site specific bag limits, but none of them have limits on size. I'd like to see some kind a split limit for gills like some of the bass lakes have in the state; you can keep a certain number of fish between this size and that and less for fish bigger than that slot. One example of a split limit for bass in Ohio for certain BOW is 2 fish under 14", and one over 20", allowing for most of the big breeding fish to be released, while at the same time, allowing for the one big one to be kept for the wall if the fisherman so chooses. Now I'm not a huge fish eater, my Dad still makes fun of me for it, but as far as I can tell a 7" or so bluegill tastes the same as a 9-10" bluegill, but the 9-10" bluegills are more fun to catch to me anyway. That's why I like the idea of the split limit where you can keep larger numbers of the fish in a smaller size class, which are also usually more abundant, and less in the bigger size class. The less trophy fish kept the more there are to catch again and pass on their superior genetics, just my thought on this.

why would you care what other people think If you want to keep fish to eat that is your right I don't think somebody should keep everything they catch  PatL

I can only speak for Bluegill and Redear… The limit where I fish is 25 per person… I usually keep about 10  Hand size fish (that's 20 fillets) more than enough for the Family, and more than enough cleaning. I must admit when I see fisherman with 5 gallon buckets full of fish so small they are almost transparent… I get annoyed but for the most part, those of us that fish these days, do so with thoughts of future fishing trips and preserving our fisheries for the good of all (especially our Grand children)...

I have a couple of rules I apply to myself…

1. Anything over 1.5 pounds goes back to preserve the gene pool… (Absolutely has to happen)

2. I never return a fish that has swallowed the hook and is bleeding.

3. The Grease should be 375 or a tad higher and the batter should be cold… bon apetite.

Great advise, Rob...especially that 375 tip on the hot oil!

I guess there must be a whole bunch of people who don't like me I keep quite a few fish I like eating them what I don't do is supply the whole neighbourhood I keep enough to eat then they go back I also throw the big ones back (big fish breed big fish )

GOOD ONE PAT and if ya can't eat your fill send em my way, I"m not afraid to eat lots of fish , and the only way to do that is keep a bunch . As long as you aren't hurting anything what's the difference anyway. GO GET EM PAT!

In Hawaii, your made to feel like a criminal if you practice Catch & Release.  I remember the first time 20 years ago I showed releasing a fish on our TV show and the station got death threats and loads of hate mail.  The station told me if I wanted to release fish that was fine… just don't show it on TV again.  Things have slowly started to change since then, but not much.

About the only thing I've heard is "if you don't want that fish I'll take him".

Earl I dont feel a bit of remorse when I fish. I have long ago accepted that no matter what I do, someone will fetch and complain. Some folks have nothing better to do or have theirs priorities and values out of balance.  In the end I do what I feel is right and what I would want my kids to do, I am after all leading by example.

 

I lean toward keeping the runts, taking pictures of the larger ones.  Sometimes I may keep a larger one but not the largest.  I keep only what will fill my appitite and enjoy the fight I get from the others.

 

I see nothing wrong with eating a few fish or releasing them. People have been eating fish since the beginning of time and they're still plenty of them swimming around.

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