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Thread: Venting deep caught bottom fish with excellent survival rates

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    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Default Venting deep caught bottom fish with excellent survival rates

    It might be old news but I just found this article: http://www.sschapterpsa.com/ramblings/Venting.htm and I thought I'd pass it along.

    Originally published in Saltwater Angler
    Venting_2.jpg
    STEP #1; Use a small hollow device like a hypodermic syringe or sharpened basketball inflation needle for a venting tool. Stainless steel is hygienic and resists rust.
    STEP #2; With wet hands or a towel, lay the fish flat on top of a cooler or the boat's covering boards. Gently push the pectoral fin flat alongside the fish's body.
    STEP #3; The venting area is in the middle of the trailing edge of the fin, in the fatty muscle tissue. Using a slight forward angle, slip the venting tool point under the scales and with moderate pressure, push the point barely inside the body cavity.
    STEP #4; You will see the belly deflate and hear the gasses escape after the tool is inside. Take care not to puncture the stomach or intestines if they are protruding. Once the pressure is released, the fish will retract them.
    NOTE; Don't use a solid object like an ice pick to vent. The gases won't fully escape and bacteria may be introduced. Rinse the venting tool after use to clean it so that it is ready for the next fish.
    Last edited by Maast; 09-29-2010 at 14:02. Reason: add picture
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Default Venting is a bad idea

    Venting has been found to be a poor choice, resulting in poor survival.

    Oregon State has done extensive research on the subject and found better solutions with proven long term survival. I highly recommend a little research into the subject, as it's a worthy one. Rockfish populations along the Pacific Northwest coast have been dramatically overfished and many fisheries are closed as a result. Alaska is poised to follow unless our Fisheries managers pull their heads out of the sand and come up to speed.

    There is some good information out there, including a cool video, which can be found with a little searching. The following link is a good place to start.

    http://www.usc.edu/org/seagrant/rese...arotrauma.html

    No need to ventilate. All you need to do is get the fish back down below 60 feet ASAP and it will quickly recover. It's simple, I've done it, it works, and I highly recommend it.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I agree, but when these methods fail, I find that gently releasing them in about 2 inches of hot vegetable oil is a very good alternative.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    I agree, but when these methods fail, I find that gently releasing them in about 2 inches of hot vegetable oil is a very good alternative.
    That is funny!!

    Here is what I use and have had good luck in under 230' of water....

    http://www.dehooker4arc.com/store/pr...nting-tool-kit

    As long as the barotrauma has not made bubbles in the eyes. Once that happens I would reccomend the hot vegetable oil release technique.

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    Thats cool Maast, Seems sort of complicated but I'm sure I could get the hang of it. About the time I quill myself while doing it I'll be filleting it and following Frostbittens method of release.

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    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Venting results in infection and ultimately death for the fish. I use the Git-R-Down and I have not had any "floaters" come to the surface during, or after, the fishing session. I believe this is the best solution for saving this precious and fragile resource...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    Venting results in infection and ultimately death for the fish. I use the Git-R-Down and I have not had any "floaters" come to the surface during, or after, the fishing session. I believe this is the best solution for saving this precious and fragile resource...
    Funny that is what Scott Meyers from ADF&G told me and I vented 12 yelloweyes, 4 chinas and 18 Black Rockfish to use as display models at the Alaska Sealife Center's bird exhibit. About 80% of them have been in there for 10 years of getting pecked at and crapped on by Puffins and they are still alive. I guess we don't really ever know what the survival rate is when we turn them loose. I do know the regs specifically say to move if you catch too many and that is usually what I do. I do know that the tool we use is required by NMFS in the Gulf of Mexico for releasing bottomfish.

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    I think the best bet is not to vent them and use the Git-R-Down. Anything that causes a hole in the side of the fish can lead to infections. Luckily I don't catch enough rockfish to employ anything other than the fillet and release method.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member Maast's Avatar
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    I watched a video done by the Oregon F&G and they did the barbless hook and the upside down milk crate with weights.

    The git-r-down looks pretty slick, I'd like to try it if I can get my hands on one.

    I think I like the crate, just attach it to my main line, toss fish into the water, place the weighted crate over the fish and let it down. Clipping it to my main line lets me use the electric reel to bring it back up.

    The venting looks like it'd run the chance of poking a hole in me along with the fish, and take too long.
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    There was an excellent seminar put on by F&G last year at the sportsman show. I'm sure there will be another at the next sportsman show. I'll try and remember some of the seminar here.....There is an on-going study on the release of rockfish. There method is similar to other methods that bring the fish back down to depth, and then release the fish. They use a J hook with barb removed, tie a weight to the eye, then tie your mainline to the bend in the hook. It would be best to have a dedicated set-up just for this. Put the weight in the water, then the hook in the jaw, let the fish down to depth and jerk the upside down hook to release the fish. They tag there fish and then fish the same areas year after year to guage the survival rate. At this point they claim there survival rate is very high. But they also warn that it will take many years of study, because what is more important than simply surviving is weather or not reproductive organs are damaged. Obviously if a fish can no longer reproduce it might as well be in the frying pan.

    There research is not yet complete, but the preliminary results are very promising.

  11. #11

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    Hmmm. I'm not sure I'd say a 20% mortality rate for rockfish that have been vented and then released into a controlled environment like the Sea Life Center bird exhibit is a good thing. Yeah, they get crapped on, etc., but the tank gets cleaned and monitored by the staff. If there's no mortality rate estimation for wild released rockfish I guess I'd have to go with the Git-R-Down method that doesn't even introduce the possibility of any of the problems associated with venting.
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    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Team-...t=venting+tool

    i used this one for 2 years chartering in juneau, works really well down to 400'

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    True, 20% mortaility in one situation, in captivity, is subjective. Most animals to not survive well in captivity, for a vairety of reasons.
    Check this out

    http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/f...3/fmr08-71.pdf

    The Department of Fish and Game has been opposed to using any venting or decompression tool because there review of the data has not lead them to believe that these tools have proven to be effective.

    The recompression tool and the venting tool do cause the rockfish to sink, out of sight, but it does not mean that the fish survive. the problem with these tools is that without knowing how many are surviving, a person could make themselves think that since the fish are not floating away that it is not killing them and therefore kill way more yelloweyes instead of moving away from them when you are close to your limit.

    I guess the most surfire way to minimize your impact on non pelagic rockfish is to move off of them when you get close to your limit but....if you get a couple by accident, the decormpression tool looks like it might be better than poking them.

  14. #14

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    I have been using a large led-head jig with the barb bent over smooth for five years now. I just hook the fish through the lip, let it drop down to 90 feet or so when it starts fighting and shakes itself off easily. It's not like one of those expensive devices and does the same thing. I'm happy with it. The only time I had a problem was when I got a HUGE yelloweye I tried to turn back but it was just to big for the jig to take down, so I hooked on another 3 pound wieght and it worked.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Sounds like the method employed by wildog is effective due to feeling the fish fighting itself off the hook. At that point, fish appears to have survived pretty well.

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim View Post
    Sounds like the method employed by wildog is effective due to feeling the fish fighting itself off the hook. At that point, fish appears to have survived pretty well.
    Thats exactly what I was going to say. Sounds like a win/win for all concerned. Hey wildog what weight jig does it take to get a decent sized bloated rockfish down? I'm thinking at least a 3-5 lb lead ball would do the trick w/o having to buy some fancy gadget

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    I did have a problem getting a huge yelloweye down, until I attached a 3# weight also and that finally worked. The normal to small sized rockfish went right down and shook off every time.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    NEVER vent with a needle! A friend of mine is doing research on barotrauma with Alaskan rockfish. They employ the leadhead jig method. They use extra weight on larger rockfish. They have already recaptured 70% of the fish tagged in 2008! Some of the rockfish have been recaptured up to SEVEN times! That means this particular fish went through the barotrauma (eyes popping out, stomach sticking out etc.)
    seven times. These fish are surviving after multiple releases with the jig method. They are now looking at blood work and reproduction effects due to barotrauma.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    NEVER vent with a needle! A friend of mine is doing research on barotrauma with Alaskan rockfish. They employ the leadhead jig method. They use extra weight on larger rockfish. They have already recaptured 70% of the fish tagged in 2008! Some of the rockfish have been recaptured up to SEVEN times! That means this particular fish went through the barotrauma (eyes popping out, stomach sticking out etc.)
    seven times. These fish are surviving after multiple releases with the jig method. They are now looking at blood work and reproduction effects due to barotrauma.

    +1 this is the scientific consensous
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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