Conservation through Fishing: Future of the Sport


Marlin being released with a Billfish Tag

Recently we put out a poll regarding how many people practice some type of catch and release ethics. The poll was created to start a dialogue with anglers to see what views they have towards self replenishment of the stocks (Catch and Release). We received some interesting replies, but the main focus was to get some type of response, which we did. We saw that the following percentages applied to a mid range sampling for those people practicing Catch and Release: 0% of the time-6%, 25% of the time-19%, 50% of the time-27%, 75% of the time-36%, and 100% of the time-13%.

With the epic season upon us here on the west coast we just wanted to remind people that its fine to keep what you can eat but almost every day at the ramp there are anglers exploiting the fishing conditions and letting fish go to waste for no other reason than a picture. If you are going to catch fish make sure you take care of them by bleeding, gutting them and getting them on ice. By leaving them on the deck you are sacrificing the quality for future consumption. You want the best table fare, take care of your catch.


Little Bluefin perfect shape for release.

Catch and Release has been a hot topic over the years but it has definitely been embraced by recreational anglers more and more every year. I was fortunate enough to work with Bill Shedd at AFTCO when he developed Tag A Tuna For Tomorrow with the help of National Marine Fisheries Service and the support of the IGFA. This tournament helped bring light onto some of the problems that the fisheries were having in the 80’s and earlier. With the foresight of a few, the catch and release ethic was taught to fishermen throughout the world that adopted it and made a difference. You hear about the Marlin, Tuna, Sailfish, Sharks and other species being tagged for scientific reasons to collect specific information that includes Lifespans, Population Distributions, Growth Rates, and Migration Patterns. This information is important for the Biologists trying to come up with actual information. This is great information but the main focus of this blog is to let anglers know that if we want to continue to have healthy stocks of fish we need to do our part in releasing gamefish. We do not have to tag fish but just be more aware of releasing fish we do not plan on eating. I was out with a couple friends the other day and we caught more than our share but after we each kept a couple school tuna plus a dorado each we released everything else we caught. Even if you hook a few fish deep they have a better chance in the water than on the deck.

Some the the species we have right now in numbers on the west coast are perfect candidates for release. These fish include small bullet tuna, rat yellowtail, small Dorado, and stripe marlin which are not the best table fare. With the El Nino in full effect, the yellowtail you see on the paddies will end up inshore so the more little guys you let go, the more opportunity to catch a decent fish in the next few months. We are definitely not on a soapbox trying to tell you what to do with your catch, but more so to get you thinking about how we can help ourselves versus having the government come in and tell us what we can and can’t do with our fisheries. It has happened with the recent closing of fishing zones throughout both coasts known as MLPA zones.

So next time you are in an epic bite catching good table fare take a minute to think of future trips and let a few go. This is a great way to help our stocks as well as protect us from outside management of our past time, fishing.

Hope all your lines are tight ones.

Practice catch and release when you can. Sustain the stocks for future generations.


By |2016-11-18T08:13:03+00:00September 29th, 2015|Fishing|10 Comments

About the Author:

Ben Secrest is a California native and learned to fish from his father at an early age. He spent his youth fishing freshwater every weekend and graduated into saltwater fishing as a teenager. Working in the fishing industry for over 30 years has given him the opportunity to fish globally throughout his career. Fishing is not only his passion but runs through his veins. No mater where and when if its biting he will be there. He has passed on his passion to his children and enjoys educating the public on fishing any way he can. The saying "Life through fishing, Fishing through life" reflects his mission in life. He has worked at AFTCO, Shimano, and the last 13 years at Accurate as the Marketing Manager. You can talk to Ben online through the Tawk app or e-mail him at


  1. Max Starr September 30, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Well done and well said!

  2. vince September 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I catch and release almost everything I’ve ever caught in my life. I have fished and lived all over the usa, and mostly chased big stripers. I have seen without exception, that asians, whether chinese, japanese, korean, Vietnamese or wherever, they keep everything they pull in if it wiggles and they pull it in, they sneak it, fillet it, run the meat up to their trunks and don’t care about size, limits species licenses or nothing. My friends and I had the fish and game officers numbers programmed in our phones and helped them to impound many vehicles of lying sneaky chinamen who made like they didn’t speak english when confronted by officers. They would take turtles, shellfish, rare spoon bill catfish undersize. Deport them all…….how’s that for a story…print that

    • vince October 1, 2015 at 5:41 am - Reply

      Great article vince about the illegals and asians. My fishing pals agree the same thing here in tennessee. They show up with 10 rods each and live bait fish for anyrhing they can and even live seaweed goes home with them.

  3. Patrick Miles October 1, 2015 at 4:42 am - Reply

    Thank You Ben .
    For the next generations, they need our heads in the game.

  4. James Plant October 1, 2015 at 7:49 am - Reply

    I live in puert Vallarta mexico .I have a 27 ft boat at the marina La Cruz.I have a great boat captian.We fish twice a week.I pay my captian a bonus to release all bill fish.We keep fish that we think will not survive due to swallowing hooks,etc.We only keep dorado or others that we can use.Our catch is immedietly cleaned packaged and put on ice.Iam 72 years old and this is the way I want to live the rest of my days.Take care of Gods ocean and the fish that lives there

    • Ben Secrest October 20, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

      I agree with your thoughts. Keep what you need let the rest go.

  5. Cory Laughery October 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I sure would like to see the open party and charter boats releasing more of the juvenile yellowfin (5-12lb). I don’t see a problem with keeping a couple of them, but it is sad to see the frenzy of a boat full of 25-35 anglers keeping limits of mere months-old tuna. It would be so nice to catch them again in a year or two when just one of them would provide more meat than five babies. Only my opinion and I’ve only been fishing for three years so what do I know. – Cory

    • Ben Secrest October 20, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

      Seems to be a solid opinion in my eyes. Good thought.

  6. Fred Baker October 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Hey Ben, there’s a couple of points I feel are worth mentioning, such as most of us don’t have the luxury of going out with a couple of friends on a private boat whenever we feel like it. Rather we pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to go fishing a couple of times a year, The limits have all ready been leaned out for the regular fisherman on the sport boats. Over the years plenty of people in the industry have made a pretty good living, whether running a boat or producing fishing tackle.This has been mostly possible by taking as many fish as possible and or fudging the counts. Now everybody is concerned about their grand kids being able to do the same. I believe in throwing back the small ones and only taking what I will eat. But I don’t like being dictated to about what I should do by people who have every advantage in the fishing world and have been doing as they please over the years, Just today I read how the seiners wrapped 250 tons of yellowfin in local waters. this week. How long would the sport boats have to fish to land that much fish? Maybe we don’t need the seiners wrapping all those tons of fish? How will their grand children be able to make a living.Maybe you don’t go on party boats but I will tell you if they don.t keep fish their customer base goes away. I do use a couple of Accurate reels and they are great.

    • Ben Secrest October 20, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

      I agree with your thoughts. I have fished all my life starting as a very young kid in Redondo and fishing the head boats for years. I was fortunate to get a job in the industry which I have been blessed to have for the last 30 years.I guess my point is we all should be watching out for the resources in our own way. As you said “I take what I can eat”. That is not happening on private or head boats right now.
      When the government comes in to manage it we will all have problems with their rules.I am not telling people what to do just giving my opinion. Thanks for the feedback.

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