For a while now I have been following the argument between anglers who follow the “C&R” rule and those, who take the fish they catch home for dinner on facebook and other social media platforms. Both sides are fully committed to proving their point. The C&R people say that they are the only ones truly passionate because they fish for the adrenaline and not for meat. The other side maintains that it’s inhumane to stress fish out and hurt them if you’re not going to eat it. I personally believe that every angler has to decide for themselves when it comes to medium-sized fish. However, when it comes to really big, impressive specimen? You shouldn’t take those out of the fishery. Why???
First of all, it helps out the sport. Everyone wants to catch the biggest fish and the only way they get a chance to grow is if you release them and take pictures home. I personally get more pleasure from looking at photos with big fish in the evening then I would from eating them for dinner. More importantly, these fish got this big and strong due to their superior genes, dexterity and caution and they should be the ones to pass on their genetic material to next generations to make them healthy. Another reason to release big fish is the joy I felt when I caught the same fish for a second time and it was a few centimeters bigger. “Matylda” is what we jokingly called a female pike that I managed to outsmart twice using an artificial lure in the span of one year. I met Matylda in March of 2017, when she was 102 cm long and slightly overweight - 14,5 kg.
We met again on late January 2018. In that time she grew 5 cm and los 2,5 kg.
My friend Damian and I joked that she didn’t trash around in the landing net and during pictures because she remembered us and knew she would be fine - a kiss and she would be back in the water in no time. Of course, I didn’t recognize her in the moment on the water. The realization came later, when I was looking through my photos at home. If I had eaten her the year before I would never have had the chance to see her again. It was an awesome feeling - pure, concentrated happiness. I was jumping around and yelling.
I hope that Matylda’s story will help you make the decision to release big fish so you can feel the same happiness I felt. I hope I get to see Matylda again and I think she wouldn’t mind seeing me either. I wish all passionate anglers a similar adventure.
Mikado Fishing Team