Bedding bass: To Catch Them Or Leave Them?
This is a bit of a controversial topic, but I am not bringing it up to cause any waves. Of course it is not like the gun control issue or the stance on many other controversial topics, but it is a hotbed in the fishing community.
Should you fish for bedding bass?
Recently I fished a tournament on a local river and I came upon a bunch of beds that the bass had been holding on. The question popped into my head and the conflict started.
The school of thought is out on the subject and the opinions, facts, and truths are widespread and often times can create huge arguments in the fishing community. The issues that can be discussed are on both an ethical and scientific level.
Different bodies of water have their own issues when it comes to this. For instance, Lake Michigan's fishery has been greatly affected by the round goby and these fish can destroy a nest in a matter of minutes. Thus if a fish is not there to protect the bed the existing eggs could be compromised. Of course this is true if you catch the male guarding the nest and not the female that is getting ready to spawn. How do you tell the difference?
On other bodies of water, the removal of a fish off of the nest may not have the same detrimental affect, but in my case I was fishing a tournament and the fish would not be released right away and certainly not in the same spot. Do the males from other nests then take over? Does a younger fish come in to replace that fish? I am sure there are studies done to show this and I am just not aware of them.
I bring this up not to stir up trouble, but to get you to think. To get your opinions, facts, myths, etc. about the practice of fishing bedding bass. These will vary from person to person and even from region to region. For example, in Texas and California it is a common and widespread practice to fish for the big females while they are on the beds. This is the time of year that offers those record seekers the opportunity to catch that fish of a lifetime.
Is it wrong? Is it right? Does it affect you?
There is no right or wrong answer to the question. It is all a matter of opinion based on experiences, some facts, and some science. Take some time and think about it, and, much like the bracelets you may see people wearing that say WWJD, think about What Would You Do?
Good luck and Good Fishing.