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Thread: Dealing with Barotrauma in Rock Fish

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    Default Dealing with Barotrauma in Rock Fish

    My name is Captain Ace Callaway. Many of you who have fished in Valdez will know me as a prior Captain and owner of the Alaskacat / Hem Charters boat down there for many years. I started working many years ago on dealing with barotrauma (popped) rock fish. After years of studies and research we have made a breakthrough to help save these fish. If you go to my website you will find a LOT of info on what works and what does not, links to studies done by many different universities and fish and game departments. It is also the link for the ONLY mechanical release device that has proven to have up to a 93% survival rate on fish caught up to and over 200 feet of depth. I don't make hardly anything off of these releases and basically am just trying to save fish. We are the stewards of our resource and it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help save these fragile fish. Please visit www.git-r-down.com and see what works and what is a waste of time and resource.
    Thanks for caring about our resource.
    Ace Callaway

  2. #2

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    This sounds like a great idea and concept. I would suggest that you provide 2 or 3 of these devices to respected forum members who either fish a lot or are charter captains themselves. An independent test on this board would go a long ways towards getting the info out on your product. Perhaps if Mike sees this he can contact you about it or you could contact him to set something up. Best of luck, if it works as described I would be interested in one myself at some point.

  3. #3

    Default Fizzing Fish

    You can do the same thing with a small hypodermic needle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyoe0jrZWvQ

    It's called "fizzing". Same concept with other fish. I have done it a lot of deep caught lake trout.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8wtnorth View Post
    My name is Captain Ace Callaway. Many of you who have fished in Valdez will know me as a prior Captain and owner of the Alaskacat / Hem Charters boat down there for many years. I started working many years ago on dealing with barotrauma (popped) rock fish. After years of studies and research we have made a breakthrough to help save these fish. If you go to my website you will find a LOT of info on what works and what does not, links to studies done by many different universities and fish and game departments. It is also the link for the ONLY mechanical release device that has proven to have up to a 93% survival rate on fish caught up to and over 200 feet of depth. I don't make hardly anything off of these releases and basically am just trying to save fish. We are the stewards of our resource and it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to help save these fragile fish. Please visit www.git-r-down.com and see what works and what is a waste of time and resource.
    Thanks for caring about our resource.
    Ace Callaway
    Could you use a downrigger for this? It seems that if you used the line grabber on the lip of the fish it would take them down until they shook a little. If you had an electric downrigger it would be really quick too.

  5. #5

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    "You can do the same thing with a small hypodermic needle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyoe0jrZWvQ

    It's called "fizzing". Same concept with other fish. I have done it a lot of deep caught lake trout. "


    I have always wondered how the fish survives with this technique. I can't find any sources that show the fish survival rate, it is always "unknown". I am thinking that if you take all the air out of a fish's swim bladder it can't be good. Isn't it there for a reason? Just curious if anyone knows of the survival rate, or do they just swim down and die instead of floating and dying? (out of sight-out of mind)

  6. #6

    Default Fizzing

    I grew up on Little Bay De Noc in MI which is a huge and one of the best walleye fisheries. They have a lot of tournaments and about two years ago a big study on the survival rate of deep water caught fish was done. It was about 8/10 would make it after fizzing. Without fizzing it was 3/10.

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    Default Fizzing

    Studies show that doing this is one of the least effective ways. Sure the fish swims off but dies later due to infection caused by the hole. It does work from time to time in shallower caught fish but on anything over 75' it's pretty much a losing way. Tagged fish in studies done show they do not survive as much as people would have you think. The ONLY true way is to get the fish back down to the depth they were caught at. studies have shown this method also has a problem with fish only getting back down part of the way, swimming off out of site and coming back to the surface. Not just our studies on this. check out Seagrant programs in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and California. Just cause it swoms off doesn't mean it lives unfortunatley.

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    Default Future racher

    We already supply these to any research team for testing and help in their studies. To date I have supplied over 200 of them at no charge. California is considering making it required equipment and i have been contacted by the Golden Gate Charter Operators about a bulk purchase for all their members. Go to the links on our website and you will find a lot of the studies. I'm not doing this to be a rich man...just something to help the fish. I'm also not a rich man so I do have a limit to what i can give away and I chose to supply researchers, fish and game departments and schools. Wsih I could do more but I haven't won the powerball lottery yet...lol.
    Ace

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    Could you use a downrigger for this? It seems that if you used the line grabber on the lip of the fish it would take them down until they shook a little. If you had an electric downrigger it would be really quick too.
    I used a downrigger for my testing most of the time. We just set it up toward the pilot house of the boat so it would be out of the way of our clients. Worked great. My patented design is unique as for fish ""shaking off". A simple five pound weight will hold over 28#s of tension on the jaws. Add to this that when pulled in a downward fashion the jaws even hold tighter because of the design and you don't have a problem with early releases. ALL fish pull down and want to return to where they were, this helps as well.

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    Default

    The only way to test survival is to tag the fish and test the recapture rate. That is the ONLY way to do a proper test. Unfortunately tests in this manner show that "popping" or "fizzing" just doesn't work. The other member thinking this was not good on the fish is correct. ANY intrusion into the inner workings of a fish is not good. Think about it for a minute and use common scense. How good would you do if someone poked a hole in your guts or even the body cavity. Infection is the main culprit.

  11. #11

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    Ace,
    Thanks for the great work you are doing. That's an invention that is good for everyone. If I can't get my downrigger to work I'll be pony-in' up 75 dollars for a "Git'R'Down.

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    Default RE: Wilddog

    The downrigger was definately the best way for us after trials. Especially at the deeper depths. We used Penns and could easily set the tension to freefall with over runs and that even freed up my deckhand even more. when he got time, he could reel it back up after gaffing a fish or taking care of a client without having to stop the submersion process. Off course we were fishing in pretty deep water. The biologists at Moss Landing Labs would use handlines as they were fishing relatively shallower water and didn't have deck hand duties to deal with. I have a friend that uses an extra halibut rod with great success as well on his private boat. I have a real interest developing in Australia as well and we are working on a larger model to deal with fish like Grouper and Giant Sea Bass. This unit works great on all freshwater fish as well and is being used on the Great Lakes and deep reservoirs of Southern MO for largemouth bass coming out of 100 feet of water. I am REALLy excited it is being recieved so well. By the way, the pics on the website are taken on PWS out of Valdez. The Eagles around there didn't like our boat...lol.
    Ace

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    Default Venting Grouper, Gulf of Mexico

    Venting equipment is now required in Gulf of Mexico waters for vessels catching reef fish. It's controversial, check out the article on Page 20 of http://www.fisheries.org/afs/docs/fi...eries_3401.pdf

    There has been a lot of research done on venting of grouper and snapper, and one thing that most studies agree on is that if the fish is blown to the point that the eyeballs are popped out of the head that the fish is probably not going to survive regardless of venting or releasing at depth. I would be surprised if rockfish are much different, but maybe they're tougher than grouper.

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    Default RE King Fisher

    Popped eyes really don't effect the fish as long as they are taken back down quickly to the depth they were at. Even our films showed the eyes were back in their sockets before the fish actually got half way down. They are far tougher than most people think. Even the grouper and sea bass which were caught from very deep water survived well IF TAKEN BACK TO FULL DEPTH. Venting saves some fish and that is why a lot of places require you to do it. Better a 50/50 chance than none at all. Our studies (and Sea Grants) have shown if they are taken back to full depth the survival is as high as 93%. If you know of anyone doing studies in the gulf i would be happy to talk to them and provide releases to them. Like i said, I'm not wealthy but research facilities and schools get first choice and i'll do what I can. Go to the web page and to the links page. You will find some amazing recent studies.
    Ace

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    Default RE wilddog and downrigger

    Sorry Wilddog but i misunderstood you about the use of the downrigger. I meant that we use the downrigger with our release. Unfortunately a line clip is no where near strong enough to hold to the fish until submerged to a proper depth. Our device took many years of trial and error to get it right. A five pound weight will put 28#s of tension on our jaws. Even more if the fish pulls downward (which most fish do naturally). We started off with locking jaws but quickly found that wasn't the right way since we lived in Alaska and almost lost our downrigger and everything when big ling cod, sharks and halibut sometimes bit the fish on the way down. We had to make it so it WOULD release under those conditions. It was a real fine line of what worked and what worked EVERY TIME. That's what we patented...the jaw design as well as the concept. Inverted barbless hooks with weights have two disadvantages. 1...they have a tendency to poke holes in the protruded stomachs on the way down and 2...fish get little bursts of energy and want to flip their tail a few times in the process trying to go down....this causes them to come off of the barbless hook prematuraly and we have found the usually swim off and come back to the surface and die anyway. NONE of the fish we have ever tagged and taken back down with our release has ever been found dead later on. The studies done in California showed 93% of the fish were recaught at a later date but since they never caught all of them...they could not call it 100%. This doesn't mean the other 7% were dead though either....just not recaught....yet. I hope I cleared up the downrigger thing. Sorry I misunderstood you the first time.
    Ace

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    Default They burp and swim off

    I didn't believe it until I tried it. They will stay on surface for a short time, some longer. If tide and wind is good you can watch or keep track of them. They will stay on their side or back. Float around for a bit. Burp out the air and swim down.

    It is against the law to puncture the fish's air bladder, it is in the regs. Plus most people don't but you have to keep the first rock fish you catch!

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    Default

    First of all, Captain, I commend you for trying to work towards a way to reduce mortality. My comments/questions here are intended to be constructive.

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8wtnorth View Post
    Popped eyes really don't effect the fish as long as they are taken back down quickly to the depth they were at. Even our films showed the eyes were back in their sockets before the fish actually got half way down.
    But does the damage from the embolisms affect their sight? Other functions of the fish? Just because it recompresses doesn't mean there is no damage.


    Quote Originally Posted by gr8wtnorth View Post
    They are far tougher than most people think. Even the grouper and sea bass which were caught from very deep water survived well IF TAKEN BACK TO FULL DEPTH. Venting saves some fish and that is why a lot of places require you to do it. Better a 50/50 chance than none at all. Our studies (and Sea Grants) have shown if they are taken back to full depth the survival is as high as 93%.
    I would tend to agree (although not based on anything other than a gut feeling (pun intended)) that your method is likely more succesful at reducing mortality than venting. The issue of infection, poking other vital organs, and the likelihood of the fish actually making it back to their original depth are much more questionable via venting. I was curious about your survival estimate (93%) and what length of time was associated with that estimate. I guess I'll have to read a little more to see the details, but I did note that they (one of the Sea Grant publications) had survival from tagged fish up to 1.5 yrs.

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8wtnorth View Post
    If you know of anyone doing studies in the gulf i would be happy to talk to them and provide releases to them. Like i said, I'm not wealthy but research facilities and schools get first choice and i'll do what I can. Go to the web page and to the links page. You will find some amazing recent studies.
    Ace
    I will look into it more. I've been curious about all the different methods of releasing rockfish (especially after the hooplah in the recent "Seward Butts" thread). I see that ADFG discourages the use of venting in the regs pamphlet. I would imagine that their concern lies in the untested nature of the various methods/devices, especially in nothern waters. If you can provide links to any of the actual research papers, I'd appreciate it.

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    Default Not how it happens

    Hate to burst your bubble but they do not burp out the air and go about their business. It's not just the air in the bladder. It's in the blood and muscles too. It's basically the same thing that divers get when they ascend too quickly. They MUST be taken back to the atmosphere they were at! Period...the ONLY way! You may have seen fish "swim off" but you didn't see them survive the experience and i can all but guarantee you they did NOT. They just died out of your site.
    Ace



    Quote Originally Posted by akrstabout View Post
    I didn't believe it until I tried it. They will stay on surface for a short time, some longer. If tide and wind is good you can watch or keep track of them. They will stay on their side or back. Float around for a bit. Burp out the air and swim down.

    It is against the law to puncture the fish's air bladder, it is in the regs. Plus most people don't but you have to keep the first rock fish you catch!

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    But does the damage from the embolisms affect their sight? Other functions of the fish? Just because it recompresses doesn't mean there is no damage.

    There is no signs of it having effects on their eye sight. All of our fish that were recovered at later dates had no problem seeing the artificial baits we used usually and no appharent eye problems were noticed in them at time of each catching. Some of these fish were caught as many as eight times in one season and some over a period of a couple years. I can't see that their sight would have been effected and them still being able to function like this with no visible signs of trauma. Eyes were always like any other we caught.




    I would tend to agree (although not based on anything other than a gut feeling (pun intended)) that your method is likely more succesful at reducing mortality than venting. The issue of infection, poking other vital organs, and the likelihood of the fish actually making it back to their original depth are much more questionable via venting. I was curious about your survival estimate (93%) and what length of time was associated with that estimate. I guess I'll have to read a little more to see the details, but I did note that they (one of the Sea Grant publications) had survival from tagged fish up to 1.5 yrs.


    The studies done at Moss Landing Labratorys were done over a period of a couple years. This is their survival numbers and they are not associated with my company at all. I just provided the original release and they actually bought a couple more after seeing how effective they were.


    I will look into it more. I've been curious about all the different methods of releasing rockfish (especially after the hooplah in the recent "Seward Butts" thread). I see that ADFG discourages the use of venting in the regs pamphlet. I would imagine that their concern lies in the untested nature of the various methods/devices, especially in nothern waters. If you can provide links to any of the actual research papers, I'd appreciate it.[/QUOTE]


    go to our website and the links page will get you going in the right direction. I have a biologist in Fairbanks that is using it for tagging programs with lake trout as well.

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    Default

    Popping the swim bladders is not reccomended by biologists, last year I saw a presentation in Sitka regarding this subject gr8wtnorth's idea is a very elegant solution to the problem. The solution the biologists reccomended was taking a milk crate and putting rebar and weights on it and tying it to a line then putting it over the rock fish and sinking it to the bottom then simply pulling up the milk crate leaving the fish there.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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