by Jay Kumar
Didn’t hear from too many peeps about this but felt like I should outline my thinking on thumbing fish so here you go:
1. We’re talking ONLY 10+ (double digit = DD) bass here. Don’t tell me you’re going to mess up a 6-lber by lipping it. If you think that, you’re simply wrong.
2. How many DD-sized bass have you lipped? If you’re lucky, maybe one. Another way to say it: The % of the total bass population we’re talking about here is VERY low.
3. If you have lipped a 10+ fish, did it swim away okay? Do you feel like you messed up its jaw? I’m going to answer: yes and no.
4. How many DD-sized bass were caught and released since the whole “you can hurt its jaw” thing got going 5-10 years ago? Answer = lots. How many DD bass in the decades before that? Answer = lots. And how have our bass fisheries done before and after that “lip point?” Answer = fine, including DD fish. In other words, big bass have been lipped for decades and it’s never been a problem.
5. Is it possible that truly enormous fish (like the TX ShareLunkers) get held up more and longer — and thus their jaws could get messed up because of that? Yep. Happens, comes with the territory. I don’t feel sorry for the fish and I hope you don’t either. Be stoked! They’re fish and there’s more giants out there than we’ll ever know.
5a) What % of a lake’s bass population ever gets caught? Seriously…10%? 25%?
5b) If you’ve ever caught the fish of a lifetime, it’s crazy man. Time seems to slow down, speed up and stop all at the same time. When I caught my PB I have no idea how long I had it out of the water. But it made it back in fine.
6. Do I handle my fish carefully? You bet. Have I taught my kids to do the same? You bet. I’ve also taught them (I hope) to be aware of “accepted thinking” that can creep up on you, things that seem to be “normal” but really aren’t. So maybe I’m wrong here, but I believe the fish-hold police and the MLFers’ “treat the fish super-nice” deals are influenced by the animal rights movement’s influence on our culture over the last couple decades, whether you can draw a straight line to it or not. Just my 2c.
Other than that:
> If you haven’t caught or held up a DD bass yourself, please don’t tell people what’s best for those fish. C’mon, man.
> What’s worse on a bass’ jaw: holding it up for 60 seconds for pics, or slamming it with an 8-foot flip stick tied to 65-lb braid and horsing it into the boat? My point being…if the fish survives the hookset and fight fine, which it does, then the hold is no big deal….ASSUMING the hold is correct and the fish isn’t held up for unduly long, which probly is most of the time.
Like I said: my 2c. Who knows, I may be wrong. Maybe the MLFers are right. You don’t have to agree with me and I don’t have to agree with you. If you wanna get angry about it, see a therapist or get out on the water man, sheesh. Remember: We’re talking about FISH.