The catfishing is great right now on the Mississippi River in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish just south of the Empire Locks, apparently.
Five Mississippi anglers hauled in 655 catfish with hook and line below the Empire Locks on the Mississippi--earning an expensive citation from Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. (Louisiana W&F)
As evidence, check out the citations Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries issued to five anglers last week, who were in possession of 655 blue catfish, all caught on rod and reel!
It takes some doing to get an over-the-bag-limit citation on catfish in Louisiana. The daily allowance is 100 fish per angler, the size limit 12”.
Since their catch was 155 fish over the allowable bag, the anglers were cited.
Just think about hauling in that many catfish on rod and reel—that’s a whole lot of baiting up, landing fish and de-hooking them while hopefully avoiding the spines!
But the over-limit charge was just the beginning of their woes. None of them were Louisiana residents—they had all come over from Mississippi. Three of them had not bothered to buy non-resident licenses.
Given the location they were fishing, just off S.R. 23 which is the only road down to Venice from New Orleans and points north, it’s remarkable that the anglers were so cavalier about fishery laws.
Taking over the daily limit of catfish in Louisiana carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. It’s very rare to get any jail time for game and fish violations, particularly in fish and wildlife-rich Louisiana, but if these guys are discovered to have been fishing commercially—to sell to a fish market or restaurant—that may not be the case. And not possessing a non-resident basic fishing license brings up to a $350 fine.
The men may also face civil restitution for the replacement value of the catfish totaling close to $500, per Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries.
Bottom line—always check the game and fish laws, and assume you are going to have to explain yourself to a fisheries and wildlife officer every time you go. Otherwise, enjoying the outdoors can get very expensive.
AFTCO Fish Handling Tips for Late Summer
Bass readily survive catch and release in summer, but anglers can help a lot by following these tips on handling from AFTCO. (AFTCO)
AFTCO, which donates a portion of its profits each year to fisheries conservation, has just released an informative guide on keeping bass alive during the heat of summer, now at its peak.
Among the advice—put a jug of frozen water in your well anytime the surface water temperature exceeds 84 degrees. The cooler water goes a long way toward reducing stress on the fish, just as when we step into air-conditioning on a sweltering day. Go easy on the ice, however—plunging fish from the warm lake water directly into ice water will kill them, just as putting them into water that’s too hot.
Running a recirculating aeration system continuously can add oxygen and also greatly improve survival, says AFTCO.
According to AFTCO, studies have also shown that “boat flipping” bass and letting them flop around on a hot deck considerably decreases survival after release. So does handling them in the boat—best survival was when the fish were landed, dehooked and released or put in the well within 1 minute.
Last but not least, when it’s time for that “grip and grin” photo, survival will be best if the fish is gripped with one thumb in the jaw and the other hand under the tail, holding the fish up and out horizontally. This also makes the best picture.
It’s by far better than holding the fish up vertically with a one-hand grip on the jaw, which particularly on large fish can damage the jaw. Wetting the hands before grabbing the fish can also improve survival, AFTCO says—see the original here: https://aftco.com/pages/bass-care-101