The old chestnut of seasonable and 'unseasonable' fish rears its head every so often, and it is perhaps appropriate to air a few views at this time of year towards the end of the salmon fishing season when many of the fish in the rivers have been lurking sometimes since spring & biding their time before spawning in ?December -ish?
There is clear guidance, nay regulations, by the EA and the Scottish regulatory body(ies) as to returning ALL coloured and 'unseasonable' fish, including gravid hens, kelts, baggots, rawners etc whenever such fish are landed.
However, there is always a debate, or certainly differing views of what constitutes a 'coloured' fish [all fish are 'coloured', but the best colour is silver!], and similarly, but more confusingly, what constitutes an 'unseasonable' fish, or even a gravid hen.
There appears to be no similar guidance / regulation by the relevant Irish authorities regarding such fish (none that I can locate online, anyway), their mantra simply concentrating on licence fees, logbooks, tags, and the maximum allowable fish per day / season.
With the prospect of the use of tags in England, Wales, & ? Scotland ? not far over the horizon, should such tags be 'coloured' appropriately, as suggested elsewhere, to match the colour of fish which acceptable to take home to eat, ie silver?
Should there be clearer guidance & enforcement by the ghillies?
Up there for further discussion....
"Be you most gentle with your fishing, and even gentler with those you are fortunate enough to capture, as, for a fleeting moment, you will be handling the future parent of the fish that you would wish to cast a fly at tomorrow..."
I personally think that when we are forced to arrive at a situation where we need some sort of colour coding system in order to determine what is "seasonable" and what we may keep and, conversely, what is deemed "unseasonable" and should therefore be returned, that indeed, we need our heads looking at.
If you, I or whomever are going to kill a fish then we can assume it's "for the pot" - agreed ? In which case, let's treat ourselves and scoff the best quality available - why ? "because were worth it". For reasons of culinary excellence the same criteria should be applied to any wild edible resource - mushrooms, berries, game etc. For me, the "best eating fish" would be something in the 4-5lb class, plump and straight in off the tide - a grilse !!. Alternatively, a translucent wee seatroot in the 2lb class would be hard to beat - especially if it was oven baked and wrapped in a streaky bacon 'parcel'.
Thereafter, and this is what I am really trying to get at, ALL fish should be returned regardless - the exception being genuine bleeders.
Discount 'springers' - they are an endangered species - end of ! Discount anything after August - the spawning season approacheth !
I am all for a bit of colour generally in life ...... but not sticking out from an adipose. regards STip
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