The Catch-Release principle of research.
Recently, with the spread of the catch-let-go ideology, more and more pikes gain freedom after capture. Moreover, according to the very same “theory of the dissolution of the hook”, the leash is simply cut off. Due to the introduction of catch limits for large pike this year on Lake Ontario, large specimens have been particularly exposed to this unpleasant procedure. After all, law-abiding Canadians, having caught a maskingong larger than the allowed size, of course, they release him by cutting off the leash and leaving the hook in the fish’s stomach.
The studies discussed above were launched in 1998 by a Canadian fishing public organization based on Lake Chippewa Flowage. These works deserve interest both in their results and in the manner in which these results were obtained.
So, in the first year 47 pikes were caught. 9 of them were caught on live bait and deeply swallowed the hook. The rest were caught on spinning lures. Special RFID tags were hung on the pike, which made it possible to monitor their movements for a rather long time (up to 3 months).
4 out of 9, marked with pike radio transmitters, died on the very first day. They were all found, an autopsy was performed and it was established that death had occurred due to wounds to the stomach wall caused by a swallowed hook.
The remaining 5 tagged pikes sailed away safely and remained alive until the batteries of the RFID tags were exhausted. The further fate of these fish remained unknown.
All pikes caught on spinning lures, and then released, showed a 100 percent survival rate. Only one of them, caught on a jerkbait, died. But at the autopsy it turned out that in her stomach she had an old hook and a piece of leash – a trace from the capture of live bait.
In 1999, the local Native American tribe, which funded this study, decided to complete the project, considering its results sufficient. However, John Dettloff, a fishing guide from Wisconsin, did not agree with this. He decided to bring the matter to the end and make sure finally whether the pike die due to live bait hooks or not. To this end, he invested 5 thousand dollars in the continuation of research.
In the fall of 1999, John and his team caught 14 pikes on live bait. This time, the RFID tags that tagged these fish had batteries rated for 600 days of continuous use. 3 out of 14 pikes soon died. Dettloff’s team continued to monitor the movements of the rest.
Later, in an interview with a local newspaper, John said: “The news is not comforting. By the end of May, at least half of the tagged masking people had died. 4 or 5 continued to float on the lake, but by July they were all dead.”
Using RFID tags to search for dead fish, John and his colleagues managed to figure out the fate of these pikes. Several corpses were found at the bottom, two others were washed ashore, and the bears dragged them away.
Then two more tagged pikes were caught by spinning. One, 86 cm long, the fisherman who caught her, having found the mark, immediately released her. “She looked fine,” he said, “maybe she was a little exhausted.” After a month and a half, the flashing icon of her mark on the Dettloff equipment display stopped and no longer moved – and this twice released pike died.
The second pike, 106 cm long, was caught by another spinning player on July 4, 2000. She managed to be delivered alive to the laboratory. In 1999, when she was tagged with a radio tag, she weighed 9.5 kg. Now, after 8 months, she was exhausted to the extreme – “thin as a rail,” according to Dettloff. Released, she died two weeks later.
Thus, in less than a year, 100% of pikes died. The death of all 14 tagged pikes finally convinced John that fishing for live bait with a single hook, which does not imply immediate – before the pike swallowed the bait, is hooking, unacceptable.
“On some lakes, up to 100 large mascinongs are caught and released with a hook in their stomachs a year,” says Dettloff. “People do this precisely because they are convinced that the hooks are dissolved and that all released fish will survive. Usually, learning about our the results, they completely stop using this method of fishing. I myself, an old-school fisherman, used this kind of pike fishing for many years, and I managed to catch a lot of record-breaking masking. I was really shocked when we found out that in reality hiding behind this method. I refused him immediately and forever. “