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#939675 - 09/29/08 10:46 AM Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spreading
Taylor Administrator
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Registered: 09/10/07
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FYI, for catfish anglers.

In Alabama, next month, a new catfish limit goes into effect. The new regulation will only allow “one (1) catfish over 34 inches in total length taken from Alabama public waters. No blue of flathead catfish over 34 inches in total length may be transported live beyond the boundaries of this state unless permitted in writing by the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.”

The principal reasons for the regulation were to control overharvest of larger catfish; one large catfish is plenty for personal consumption and some commercial anglers were taken numbers of large catfish for stocking into out-of-state pay lakes. (Tennessee has a similar regulation.)


Edited by Taylor (09/29/08 10:46 AM)

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#939827 - 09/29/08 12:06 PM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
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I don't really know all the details... but I do know that the folks in Alabama had a far more difficult time in passing their Trophy Catfish Rule than we had in Tennessee. The public process took a couple of years, including several public meetings.

But all the folks I know (catfishermen) are very glad it has come to pass.
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#940235 - 09/29/08 02:40 PM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: rsimms]
Taylor Administrator
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Out-of-state pay ponds. Intrigue me. Don't know why, really, human nature — bigger is better/trophy mind-set, quick cash, all involved.

I have read/seen several of these businesses ads in outdoor magazines from northern states. 75- to 100-pound blues in lakes/ponds of 12 acres or less.

It's one of those ethical vs. legal issues, I guess.

Even if selling big cats were illegal, how in the world could it be enforced?

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#940385 - 09/29/08 03:41 PM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
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 Originally Posted By: Taylor

Even if selling big cats were illegal, how in the world could it be enforced?


Actually (as I'm sure you know, but to clarify for others who might read) it is illegal unless you meet specific criteria. #1 - Must possess a Commercial License. No one can "sell" any wildlife on a sporting license.

#2 - Must be taken by "legal" means

#3 - Now (in TN and AL), you can take no more than one "trophy" cat per person per day.

#4 - Interstate trafficking of any wildlife across state lines taken in violation of any of the above, makes it a federal offense. Lacey Act

As to "how to enforce" .... same way the overwhelming majority of all wildlife crimes (or any crime for that matter) are enforced. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it begins with someone who is willing to call and report potential violations.

As for the "pay ponds," it's the exact same as a "hunting preserve," but for fishermen.
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#941649 - 09/30/08 06:25 AM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: rsimms]
Taylor Administrator
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Oh yeah, I know it.

But it is also VERY hard to monitor every stop/meeting on every highway going north.

And money changes everything, including most folks' ethical stance. I have heard varied numbers on what a trophy cat is worth to a pay pond.

That said a prosecution now and then might deter a few folks.
But, "stopping" this (when they do break the law) still seems overwhelming...Lacey Act or not.
And I bet there aren't a ton of federal agents out there protecting the "lowly" catfish.
Despite its recent rise to prominence as a sportfish.

Again, overwhelming. And as long as it is lucrative it is not likely to go away.

But, perhaps such reg changes will help with public opinion more than anything, and indicate states are beginning to see/valure the cats as a sportfish. And, well, a place being known as a "trophy cat" locale can also be worth something to that community, I guess.

Other than Red River...where is the next Pike County of Catfishing...?

lol

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#941787 - 09/30/08 07:28 AM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
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 Originally Posted By: Taylor
Other than Red River...where is the next Pike County of Catfishing...?
lol


Hopefully Chickamauga and Nickajack Lakes (where I fish)
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#941865 - 09/30/08 08:00 AM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: rsimms]
Taylor Administrator
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Yes, and my old bud James Patterson is banking on the Mississippi.
I hope you guys are BOTH correct!
Lowly catfish, rising to the top, who woulda "thunk" it?

LOL

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#942290 - 09/30/08 10:34 AM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: Taylor]
rsimms
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 Originally Posted By: Taylor
Yes, and my old bud James Patterson is banking on the Mississippi.
I hope you guys are BOTH correct!
Lowly catfish, rising to the top, who woulda "thunk" it?
LOL


There's no doubt that James's water is the place to go if you want to up your odds of a true monster (80 lbs. and up).

However our waters (Tennessee River) produce awesome numbers and a pretty amazing number of fish in the 40 - 80 pound class. I've seen three "verified" blues over 100 pounds in the last six years... two by commercial fishermen (one weighed 120), and one by a sport fishermen. I laid hands on the fish (helped land it). He told me it weighed 116 on a deer scale and I couldn't dispute. Of course that would have been a new state record (112) ... but he was an old river rat and when I mentioned the state record he said, "Awww, I don't care about that s**t!"

I'm convinced we'll see a new state record in the next few years.
_________________________
Read my book, "An Outdoor State of Mind"
http://stores.lulu.com/rsimms
"The outdoors is not just a place, it's a state of mind."
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#942429 - 09/30/08 11:50 AM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: rsimms]
Taylor Administrator
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Registered: 09/10/07
Posts: 3061
Loc: Brownsville, Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: rsimms
"Awww, I don't care about that s**t!"


Classic River Rat, right there.

I had more fun outta James a few years ago when that (ARK) fellow caught that record on SPAM, fishing with a Wally World rod and reel in waters between TN and ARK. I even sent James a photo of the guy with a photo-shopped yellow SPAM shirt on. And if you know James, you can imagine what he told me. LOL.

Sure, records will fall. Unfortunately some of 'em might have already made their way north to a pay pond.

Sad but true.

And still, no doubt world o' catfishing has turned it up a notch. And that's "all good!"

Perhaps, word of mouth and public opinion will help some, too?

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#943504 - 09/30/08 07:19 PM Re: Regs protecting trophy cats seems to be spread [Re: Taylor]
AlabamaSwamper
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Although I see no harm in this regulation, there is some facts that needs to be known.

Yes, the regs in both states were passed due to Ohio and I think Indiana private lake owners coming to Tennessee, catching big cats and taking them home to stock ponds.

Alabama passed the same law, mainly due to the those folks now going to Lake Guntersville doing the same thing.

Both were basically done as PR move by both states to satisfy resident anglers. Tennessee has or had no data pre-34" reg to actually know if they were hurting the fishery when it came to big cats.

So, in a nutshell, the regs in both states really have nothing to do with growing "trophy" catfish. There were plenty in both states before the regulations and plenty now. SInce I know Tennessee has no data before the reg came out, who will ever really know. I'm not sure if ALabama did but I highly doubt since catfish numbers are fairly high.

As I said, I don't blame either state wanting to keep the yanks from raping a few bigger cats and stocking them in their private ponds.


Edited by AlabamaSwamper (09/30/08 08:31 PM)
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