Catch-and-release: The practice of selective harvest

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013 12:00 am

Pull up a chair with any group of anglers sharing a few beverages and telling stories nowadays and it's a good bet that at some point the words “catch-and-release” will come up. Depending on the group, the discussion may become a little more animated at that point – some anglers practice catch-and-release with religious fervor, while others “catch all they can, and can all they catch.” Is there a happy medium to this debate?

There are many examples of the benefits of catch-and-release sport fishing. To qualify for a Nebraska Master Angler award, a largemouth bass has to weigh five pounds or measure at least 20 inches if it is immediately released. If it isn't, it can only qualify for the award by meeting the weight requirement, which is harder to do. Because anglers consistently release more than 80 percent of the Master Angler bass caught in Nebraska, there are almost always more largemouth bass entered in the Master Angler program each year than any other species, proving how released fish can continue to provide angling excitement for others.

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