Monday, June 15, 2009

Taking Trophy - Thoughts on Loving, Then Leaving the Big Ones

Here in the NorthWest, the fish are big. Some of them are REALLY BIG! The whole purpose of fishing is to get the biggest one, right? The NW has bigger fish than anywhere else we've lived. So how to take or make a trophy of that big 12 foot sturgeon you worked for 3 hours to release? Of course, pictures and video are snapped as fast as the memory card will allow. But besides the pictures, are there other options to memorialize the day?

Be careful kissing these dudes - especially in the Willamette below PDX! This guy was sick for three days after his "magic moment"...

Some of the ideas we've considered is to tag a released fish. You leave your mark, and can have your 5 minutes of fame.

Some websites sell small plastic tags to leave on a fish, and you can update the database on-line to see when and where the fish is recaught.

Here is an example of the tagging. Problem is, some of our oversize sturgeon can live for decades, and are the main brood-stock of our fishery, so we want to PROTECT them, and treat them with CARE!
It would be almost shameful to see these huge fish brisselling with plastic tags from all the times they were caught and released. Not cool...

The state fish and game agencies on the Columbia often tag fish with these stainless tags. When you keep a fish you can send it in and they will tell you details of where it was tagged. Kind of fun... and doesn't seem to harm the fish when there is only ONE.

We've also talked about carving a trophy of our catch. My personal SOLO best is a 70" sturgeon. We measured it's length and girth, then carefully released it. I went home and carved (with my chainsaw - after all, this is the NW!) a replica to put out in the yard. Its kind of a fun way to remember the fun.
My wife likes it better than having some huge plastic fish hanging on the wall... so long as it is way out back in the yard where she can't see it... oh well - when she releases a big one, maybe she'll let me put it out front! Any ideas out there? Let us know!