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Did I do the right thing or the wrong thing?

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  Discussion Boards > General Fishing Forum
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Joined: 04/26/2013
Posts: 5
 posted 09/21/2013 11:42 AM  

I like to fish from the beach, and I'm lucky enough to live up the block from the ocean. I went down this morning at 6am and was soaking some bunker and clams, when I spotted some guys (not locals) on the rocks catch something, and as soon as he got it off the hook, he climbed off the rocks and ran into the dune grass with it. He came back empty-handed. So I figure he's pretty much not playing by the rules, and more than likely, he's probably poaching my blackfish. (Yes, I do consider the Blackfish who reside on the jetty closest to my house to be my own personal stock of Tog, not to be touched or even looked at until Oct 5).

So I walk over to where I saw him head into the dunes and had a look around, but I didn't see any sort of bucket or anything. These three Latin-American guys quickly start packing up their stuff and scrambling off the rocks. I called over and asked what they were catching, "Porgies" they reply. I asked why they were leaving so quickly and they said something in Spanish and one guy said "seaweed", they literally jogged off the beach with their gear, and this hefty trio were definitely not comfortable joggers.

I stood there trying to figure out where they had hid their catch when I heard a rustling noise a few feet away, and I saw a black plastic bag half buried in the sand. I pulled it out, untied it, and sure enough, 4 Tautog, all dying, only 1 big enough to take if we were in season. I quickly ran to the waters edge, grabbed the largest one, which was the one on the top of the bag, and the one I thought had the best shot. I ran into the water, sweatshirt, jeans, boots and all, the walked the fish back and forth trying to revive it.

It twitched a few times, but each time I let it go, it just laid there in the waves, motionless. I tried a few times with a couple of the others, too, but these poor little Togs were just too far gone. The littlest guy was under 12", really sad.

I was pissed. This was the 3rd time so far this month that I caught some d-bag on my jetty, poaching my Blackfish. And now I've got 4 dead, illegal fish in my bucket.

I debated what to do, I'm all about treating the fish with respect, not wasting resources, but also following the rules and setting an example.

So I took out my knife and put all 4 fish down, (two of them were already gone I think), Ike-Jime style (knife at an angle behind gill plate, up and into the brain to kill, then down and thru the gills and throat to bleed).

Then I walked home, soaking wet, boots full of seawater, and filleted those 4 togs as best I could, and we'll have them for dinner.

So what do you guys think? Because they were out of season, (and 3 of 4 were short), should I have thrown them back in the ocean even though they were dead or dying? Trust me, I did everything possible to revive these critters (so they'd be ready for ME to hook this October, or next for the real little guy). I can see some validity in the argument that they'd be food for other fish, back into the food chain, etc. Or did I do the right thing, make the best of a bad situation, kill them quickly and treat the animal with respect by not wasting it and feeding them to my family?

I can honestly say I've never kept a short, or fished out of season, but today these poaching d-bags put me in a funny situation. I'd like to hear what you all think.


Joined: 03/25/2003
Posts: 39977
Location: Farmingdale
 posted 09/21/2013 11:56 AM  

You can't keep out of season fish regardless of how you get them.

Hey, it can't be Christmas everyday!!!!

Joined: 02/10/2007
Posts: 1416
Location: 'pequa'
 posted 09/21/2013 12:07 PM  

aside from the illegal alien aspect, this is not that different than badly gut-hooking a 16" fluke, and deciding to make it tonight's dinner instead of the dinner of a bunch of crabs. its illegal, but so is my way more evil paper killing AR-15 come April 16 unless I register it or neuter it. You are wrong, but next time when the three fatties return call DEC. Odds are they will have illegal fish.

bringing home venison is now as easy as a bay-caught keeper fluke !

betwixt FI and JI

Joined: 12/14/2003
Posts: 8943
 posted 09/21/2013 12:11 PM  

Fine with meup

I'd go back every time I seen them fishing and get dinnerup

The DEC is very understandingShades

Joined: 12/14/2003
Posts: 8943
 posted 09/21/2013 12:13 PM  

pequa1 wrote:

aside from the illegal alien aspect, this is not that different than badly gut-hooking a 16" fluke, and deciding to make it tonight's dinner instead of the dinner of a bunch of crabs. its illegal, but so is my way more evil paper killing AR-15 come April 16 unless I register it or neuter it. You are wrong, but next time when the three fatties return call DEC. Odds are they will have illegal fish.

What illegal aliens??

Joined: 04/26/2013
Posts: 5
 posted 09/21/2013 12:45 PM  

I guess I care.

I'm all about following the rules, because I think they are important. As an example, I caught the biggest blackfish of my life (20.5") last year on Oct 13 (two days before the start of the season) while fishing for Striper with clams. But he went right back in the water, alive and kicking, because it wasn't Blackfish season, period.

Those fish shouldn't have been taken from the water in the first place, on that point we're all in agreement I think. Once I discovered them, I'm pretty sure I went to far greater lengths than 95% of fishermen would have to get them back in the water safely.

The decision point comes once I realized that the resource couldn't be replaced alive. I felt I had to make a choice between minimizing the waste from someone else's bad judgement and following the letter of the regulations.

From your responses, I'm hearing I ought to have just left the fish there in the plastic bag in the sand and walked away. I don't think that's how we should treat any of the gifts the planet (or our Creator) gives us.

"You can't keep an out of season fish no matter how you get it" is the kind of answer one expects from a Gov't employee, like the lady behind the glass at the DMV perhaps. If I made a bad call, I'll accept that. It's not my first, and it certainly won't be my last. But I think the situation required a bit more thought than, "if you kept a tog before Oct 5 you did wrong no matter what."


Joined: 04/13/2008
Posts: 498
 posted 09/21/2013 01:11 PM  

Well if you ask a question be prepared to get answers you like and ones you don't. I hate to see poachers stealing for their own good. If the DEC happened to walk on that beach the second that they left and happened to check your bucket you would have been fined for your actions. Highly unlikely that they would happen to show up but its still a chance its almost the same odds as me hooking up with Megan FoxToungue. I don't really see anything wrong with it even though its against the rules but its a risky chance to take. Best outcome would of been the DEC to show up ticket them and he lets you keep the fish. Nextime call the DEC right away and watch them closely and don't scare them away so they get caught.

This post edited by RedWolf 01:11 PM 09/21/2013

Joined: 03/14/2003
Posts: 621
Location: Glendale (Queens)
 posted 09/21/2013 01:12 PM  

If the biggest blackfish of your life is 20.5 you should probably scout out some better tog spots as opposed to playing citizens border patrol / dec

Joined: 04/26/2013
Posts: 5
 posted 09/21/2013 02:07 PM  

Answers are 100% against me, so I'll accept that the situation is not at all as gray as I thought, and that I am clearly in the wrong. The only person who felt I did the right thing didn't want to say so in the open, he PM'd me.

And the fact that I actually thought I did the right thing to make the best of a bad situation shows just how poor my judgement can be I guess.

Not the first time I've screwed up, and almost certainly not the last. Apologies to the community as a whole.

This post edited by Hunt n' Fish 08:08 PM 09/21/2013

Joined: 09/30/2002
Posts: 89
 posted 09/21/2013 02:35 PM  

LEGALLY , did you do the LAWFUL thing - NO..... BUT I believe you did the right thing ethically, and morally, and you should be proud of your decision. Your INTENT was not to catch and keep these short and out of season fish, that was someone elses INTENT, and YOU attempted to return the resource to the water with no success. Considering the totality of the circumstances (if your story is 100% truthful), in my opinion, by keeping the fish you did ok by me! Stand proud brother angler!
flukerr Club Member

Freshwater Forum
Posted Reports

Joined: 11/09/2001
Posts: 1692
Location: Massapequa/Lindenhurst
 posted 09/21/2013 02:42 PM  


You did what you thought was rite...In the "exact" letter of the law, it was wrong....Yes, the DEC would have gave you the ticket.

You made the best of a bad situation.. The fish did not rot in the sand....Thats a good thing...

Take with a grain of salt what is preached on a web site...

Just keep a look out for the "real" poachers like you say you do...Kudos for that!

Good luck with your fall season....

In search of 11 lbs 5 ozs....

Fluker Float Rig....Floating high above the rest !!!

Joined: 12/14/2003
Posts: 8943
 posted 09/21/2013 02:50 PM  

Logically and morally you did the right thing. When it comes to the law it don't matter.

P.S. In case some of you don't know it....A Latino does not automatically equal an "illegal alien" Roll

Don't listen to the zimmerman comment it was deleted and no one listens to that guy/gal anywayShades
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