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Hiawassee, Georgia 30546
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As this young man was using light line and a loose drag, the big fish was already stressed and completely exhausted by the time it was finally boated. After weighing the fish on the Bogagrip, the angler was bent on creating a personal photographic portfolio with literally dozens of pictures of him with his prize. He seemed oblivious to requests to return the gasping fish to the water. “Just one more” was his repeated response.
The next day, other anglers came across the same fish – belly up and being gnawed on by piranhas. It was a sickening feeling to see such a beautiful – and valuable -- fish wasted to satisfy a so-called sportsman’s ego. This same fish could easily have soon been an all-tackle record 28-pounder!
Despite professing remorse, the same young man was later reported to have repeatedly requested to pose with other angler’s big fish, and then to have literally dragged a 17-pounder through the water with his Bogagrip while the boat motored to where he’d left his camera. How his boatmates and guide even tolerated this callous misbehavior, I really don’t know.
While these incidents are not the norm -- and reflect either inexperience or just plain vanity -- they’re an extreme example of abuse that goes on every fishing day in the Amazon.
Several years ago, when our company introduced the Bogagrip to the region, the idea was to eliminate the use of lure-tangling landing nets to get the fish weighed and back in the water quickly. However now, when even many guides carry digital cameras, I think it’s time we all reflect on what catch-and-release really means.
By all means, enjoy the moment and celebrate your big fish. But respect it as well. Next time you’re treated to a grande, take a deep breath and hold it until you’ve properly released your fish.
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