If there’s such a thing as a zany ichthyologist, U Cal’s Dr. Milton Love would have to be top dog of that club. After all, he’s the author of the recent, very comprehensive (650-page) reference book, Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast, A Postmodern Experience (in which he describes himself as a “moderately well-respected marine biologist”). Love is of course also Sport Fishing’s longtime Pacific Coast Fish Facts expert.
Now, Milton Love has embarked on a new project, part of a unique effort to save the lives of innocent fishes. He just alerted me to a “rockfish recompression rap.” It is entertaining but — most of all — a particularly informative video entitled, “Is Barotrauma Keeping You Up? Try Getting Down with Recompression!” (written and performed by Ray Troll and Russell Wodehouse).
So while it’s offbeat and droll, this video is also vital information for all anglers who often or occasionally drop baits or jigs into 80 to 100 feet of water or deeper. That’s because many species of fish they bring up will be suffering from barotrauma — the rapid expansion of gases trapped in their swim bladders. You know the signs: a fish’s stomach protrudes from its mouth, and its eyes often pop from its head.
If they’re going into the fish box, it’s not really an issue.
But if they’re going to go back over the side, it’s a big issue.
Simply tossed back over, they float away. One-hundred-percent mortality.
That in fact, is what fishery managers assume when formulating those stingy red snapper regs.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
And that’s why Love’s video is important. It shows us that there are, now, quite a number of very effective and relatively easy means to release such fish, when not wanted for food, alive and in good shape back to the bottom. And anglers are all about ethical release of fish.
And that’s further why I strongly urge you to click on this video. Beyond the chuckles, its message is important and one that everyone who fishes fairly deep water should know.