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Thread: Rock fish recompression

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default Rock fish recompression

    Kudos to Alaska's own Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers.

    http://youtu.be/2c0CN_1veT0
    Live life and love it
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    Good stuff.

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    You should try one of these. they are super simple to use and work great! cheap too!
    http://www.sheltonproducts.com/SFD.html

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    Haha that was a great video.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    We've got a page on recompression AT THIS LINK. Something all of us should be prepared for when we're out there this summer!

    -Mike
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    Ray Troll is the most profound fish-surrealist artist in the USA. His work is exceptional. If you ever make it to Ketchikan stop into his Soho Coho Art Gallery and store. Ratfish Ray made it big time first with t-shirts ("spawn till you die"), the on to calendars, pins, hats, and whatever else he could dream up. Money never went to his head, thus the fine video on rockfish recompression.

    Rosenberg; Florida
    "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"


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    Last year out of Seward I was having my early summer check with a trooper and he asked me what I do to release the rock fish. I basically told him nothing (I keep the fish). I tried the needle thing and heard that wasn't good and he agreed, then he asked me if I had an old halibut jig head. 16 oz or heavier, and he pulled his jig head out to show me. He went on to say if you can get a 20-24oz head that'll work better, file the barb down, then tie some 100lb braided line to the hook shank and then 20" or so put a swivel on it so the jig head is upside down. You get a rock fish, have your spare pole w/release jig at the ready. Within seconds you can have the fish back on its way to the bottom with no real harm to the fish. Once you hit bottom, just firmly pull up and the fish will pull away from the jig head. Works great and I bet I've released 50 or so fish last year.

    Cheap alternative to the commercial releases and I believe it works really well.
    Tony

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    I have a 48 oz weight that I tied a large hook with barb filed down. It is always on the spare pole ready. Last year though I noticed that even though I used it to release some rocks I still saw a few float back to the surface a ways out from the boat. I'm wondering if a short pause at the bottom to allow the fish to decompress would help with the success rate? Of course, I'm assuming also that those that did float back up did not somehow come un-done before they got down to depth.
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    I know they all don't make it. I suppose getting them headed down asap is key. I can't seem to find the youtube link again, but there is a video of one being lowered..camera right on top of him. Interesting watching the fish finally perk up and shake himself free just as the angler was saying he thought it was deep enough to release.

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    They have a cobia tagging program that my brother in law participates in as a gulf coast charter captain. They get a tagging kit from fish and feathers and tag released fish. They submit a log of tagged fish released or caught including date of capture, location and if captured tagged fish were rereleased or if it was kept. A similar program would be fairly cheap to put into place for rock fish. An online system would make it super user friendly as well. It wouldn't give hard numbers but it would give some insight into survival rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    You should try one of these. they are super simple to use and work great! cheap too!
    http://www.sheltonproducts.com/SFD.html
    This one really works like a charm. We tried the hook with the barb filed down but some came off too soon. this one holds them on just fine until you decide to let it go. You can feel the fish tugging when you get it back down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    This one really works like a charm. We tried the hook with the barb filed down but some came off too soon. this one holds them on just fine until you decide to let it go. You can feel the fish tugging when you get it back down.
    I made a similar one with a drapery pin. Works, but the drapes hang with a sag now :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    I know they all don't make it. I suppose getting them headed down asap is key. I can't seem to find the youtube link again, but there is a video of one being lowered..camera right on top of him. Interesting watching the fish finally perk up and shake himself free just as the angler was saying he thought it was deep enough to release.
    Didn't Oregon or Washington states fish & game dept conduct a study on mortality of rockfish released at depth, with results of something like 95%+ survival?

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    It's all in an old thread on here started by a guy that invented one of the release mechanisms. Probably a 2008-09 thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    Didn't Oregon or Washington states fish & game dept conduct a study on mortality of rockfish released at depth, with results of something like 95%+ survival?
    Yes they did. They subsequently conducted some tag and recapture studies that confirm very high long term survivability as well.

    I like the 'milk crate' method. Kept mine tied off to a cleat with 75 feet of line; would place the fish on the water, lower the crate over it and release. That allowed me to continue fishing while the rockfish was recompressing and self releasing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    It's all in an old thread on here started by a guy that invented one of the release mechanisms. Probably a 2008-09 thread.

    Probably here:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=56742

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Snider View Post
    I have a 48 oz weight that I tied a large hook with barb filed down. It is always on the spare pole ready. Last year though I noticed that even though I used it to release some rocks I still saw a few float back to the surface a ways out from the boat. I'm wondering if a short pause at the bottom to allow the fish to decompress would help with the success rate? Of course, I'm assuming also that those that did float back up did not somehow come un-done before they got down to depth.
    Kyle,

    If you are getting the fish deep enough, they're not going to float back up. All you have to do is return them to the depth at which they were caught. It's based on a principle called "Boyles Law"; as pressure increases, volume decreases (and vice-versa). A balloon that measures 6 inches around at 33 feet (one atmosphere of pressure) will measure 12 inches around at the surface. I illustrated this principle on our rockfish release page AT THIS LINK.

    If you are getting floaters after the release, you are not getting the fish deep enough. They might be coming unbuttoned before they get down very far. In many cases, even 33 feet will do it, because the float bladder at that depth has been reduced by 50% of what it was on the surface. But if you're fishing deeper than 50 or 60 feet, you should probably get them all the way to the bottom before releasing them.

    -Mike
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    @Michael

    Thanks, I used my release this past weekend on a few yelloweye and did not see any refloat. The only difference was, this year I was letting the weight hit the bottom before reeling in. My 13 y/o of course didn't like having to reel in the 48 oz weight that far, but he needs to learn conservation.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    My understand is that regardless of depth caught, returning them to at least 60 feet will allow them to recover. I've never had one resurface using the crate method to 75 feet, regardless of depth caught.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    My understand is that regardless of depth caught, returning them to at least 60 feet will allow them to recover. I've never had one resurface using the crate method to 75 feet, regardless of depth caught.
    I'm not sure I agree with that. I've done a lot of SCUBA diving and spearfishing in my day (I was a certified Divemaster in Hawaii), and learned a lot about the effects of pressure on air spaces in humans and in fish.

    A fish reeled up from 231 feet will have a swim bladder eight times its normal size when it gets to the surface. Restoring it to 66 feet (three atmospheres of pressure) will only reduce the swim bladder to six times normal size. I believe that fish will eventually float up, unless it is strong enough and lively enough to power itself down to its previous depth on it's own strength.

    At 33 feet, the bladder will be half the size it was at the surface. At 66 feet it will be 1/3 the size it was on the surface, and at 99 feet it will be 1/4 the size it was at the surface. If the fish was hooked at 33 feet, all you have to do is return it to that depth and the bladder will immediately return to its normal size. Truth is, if the fish were released even slightly shallower, it's instinct will be to dive for the bottom, and if it's close, it will be capable of powering down a few feet to the bottom. The greatest pressure change is from the surface to 33 feet, where the pressure doubles what it was on the surface, so that topmost portion of the water column is arguably the most critical. Here's a quick reference to the pressure changes:

    0 (surface) = 14.7psi. That's the weight of a one square inch column of the earth's atmosphere from sea level to the upper level of Earth's atmosphere.
    33 feet = 29.4 psi.
    66 feet = 44.1 psi
    99 feet = 58.8 psi
    132 feet = 73.5 psi
    165 feet = 88.2 psi
    198 feet = 102.9
    231 feet = 117.6

    I could be wrong on some of the math-- my brain doesn't do numbers as well as it used to, but I think that's pretty close.

    Assuming the fish had acclimated to pressures at 231 feet when it was initially hooked (where some folks are catching yellow eye), the swim bladder would be eight times its normal size at the surface, prolapsing the fish's stomach and pushing it out of its mouth. I don't know how much more expansion a swim bladder can take than that, before it ruptures, but that has to be pretty close. Perhaps the elasticity of the stomach itself, combined with the structure of the fish's body, prevents the bladder from rupturing, but I don't know.

    Swim bladders naturally achieve their own equilibrium based on depth, but it takes some time. The fish can ascend or descend on its own and acclimate to whatever depth it chooses. That's why you can catch black rockfish at any depth and while it is at that depth, the swim bladder is a normal size. The problem is that we reel the fish up too quickly for the bladder to naturally relieve itself.

    Anyway, the best practice is to lower the fish to the depth at which it was caught.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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