To catch sharks and releasing them has become a big part in my life. Since I was a kid I have witnessed many atrocities to wildlife. Some have made me stop fishing for a while but I always come back, this happens all the time to many of us, but we always come back to it because it is what we love to do. I do not go out and play in tournaments much any more; I used to love tournaments and tried to get in as many as I could. I enjoyed them until I started to see some of the wrongs in them. Many people were so desperate to go for the win that they would kill any big fish just for the sake of wining. When I was first involved in helping run tournaments like the Shorebound Shark Tourney in 2007 I tried very hard to get the tagging program involved. Unfortunately I was not able to succeed due to red tape, but was gladly able to get around it in the 2009 Shorebound Shark Tourney. Needless to say many things have gone wrong in many tournaments but we as humans recognize that is time to change. No more unnecessary killing of any animal. If we do any tournaments it should be in the name of preservation. Not a softy here, just a realist, not many big catches any more, and you all know it (meaning extreme as we used to see them in the 70’s or 80’s). I just don’t like to see sharks hanging. I am glad to see that tournaments now days do a tag and release format and I hope that they stay that way and honor the original intentions of the rules. I do hope that the rules these tournaments have are not just to keep away people that care about conservation but instead are rules to pave the road of real conservation.
Harsh to say, bait is bait, if it is scientifically proven that it is abundant and it is legal to use it in the country you are in then you have the right to use it, it’s your choice. Nature is cruel but we do not have to be, we do not have to kill animals unnecessarily. Cash money or perks should not dignify unnecessary death of any creature. Please never go out of your way to endanger a fish for a picture. Please know their limits of life. The rule of thumb is; if you can hold your breath as they are out of the water so should the fish. People that have experience with shark fishing would know that 3 minutes is a rule of thumb, unless the fight has gone beyond an hour, or you see the way a shark behaves out of the water (exhausted) it may be less. Please know that if current and or waves come into their mouth/gills the chance for their survival is much greater than in no water. Please know that rocks would hurt their internal organs and a soft wet surface will aid with their survival. Please understand that if they become pink under the sun, they are getting a sun burn and may not survive it. The biggest rule is “KEEP THEM WET”. This way you will know you did good to release them. Some of this also works for any other heavy fish.
PLEASE SUPPORT CATCH AND RELEASE, AND SUPPORT A BETTER ENVIRONMENT FOR OUR LANDS AND OUR SEAS! IF YOU DECIDE TO KEEP IT EAT IT RELEASE THE REST.