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Is there anything in the tournament rules that state you can't cull a dead fish. Maybe I am missing something but I thought I heard a guy in a federation tournament last year say he couldn't cull a fish because it was dead but I don't see anything in the rules which are right in front of me. Maybe I misunderstand what he said. Can pros cull dead fish? Anything you can provide me with would be great. Thanks.
 

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Great Great question. I dont see what the difference is between culling a live fish verses a dead one. I did just that in a tourament last year. It seems to make sense that you would want to cull dead fish to avoid the penalty. We have enough pros on this site that should be able to answer the question.
 

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To my knowledge, culling of dead fish IS NOT illegal. I have found nothing in the rules for FLW, Everstart, BFL, B.A.S.S., GNT, NBAA, and Oakland Bassmasters (I could not find the Federation rules) to say you can not cull a dead fish. Maybe I missed it and someone will correct me. Also, you should consult the rules for the tournament you are fishing, as they may not be the same.

I'm also sure (but will double check) that you will not find a position in the DNR handbook on culling (dead or alive).
 

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Alex,

You are correct on all counts from what I can tell. I myself was once led to believe that culling a dead fish was illegal in Michigan. It sounds like a reasonable restriction but there is no mention in the regs or Michigan compiled law that I can find. That belief cost me dearly in a tournament once too. I'm sure Mr. Kimmel would know if it's "hidden" somewhere.

Regrads,

Dave
 

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I have had this question for years. I have never seen a tournament rule prohibiting culling a dead fish. It is actually illegal by DNR rules, though. It is illegal to "discard fish ofal" in any waters in Michigan. "Fish ofal" includes dead fish, I am told. Since there is a general rule in most (all) tournaments prohibiting you from breaking any law, this is violating the tournamnet rules. Even if you disagree, it is certainly not the high-ground morally to throw a dead fish back in the water so you can keep a live one (try explaining this to a DNR guy when the dead fish you're throwing back puts you one over the limit). Many states prohibit culling completely and this is a major reason why. It is also ammunition for the "antis". If it were to become general knowledge that we tournament fisherman "routinely" cull dead fish to increase our weights, watch out. To many, the only legitimate reason for fishing is for food. Anything else is cruel. So, we are "wasting" food so we can continue to be cruel to more fish than we are legally entitled. Doesn't play well to the liberal media.

My personal rule is that if it's dead and legal, it gets weighed in, no matter what the cost.

I have had this moral dilemma also when I've caught and inadvertantly killed a sub-legal fish. Keep it and risk a fine? Throw it back and waste the fish and risk the fine? Decisions, decisions . . .
 

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tcmono,

You have absolutely valid points about the "moral" issue. I happen to agree with you for the most part. As a past President of the Oakland County Bass Anglers, I can tell you that the clubs written tournament rules expressly forbid the culling of dead fish. This rule has been in effect for over 25 years in our club. This is the only place I've ever seen this called out in writing.

Have you ever seen the charter boats killing rock bass and other (to them) undesirable species and tossing them overboard? I had a charter captain read me out one day at the Firecracker for catching a rock bass and releasing it unharmed. He told me to kill every rock bass I caught before throwing it back or they'll take over the spot and drive out the bass. Moronic don't you think? I wonder if any of them have been cited for "discharging offal?"

I would rather release a gut hooked and injured bass to the lake even if I figured "he probably won't make it". It still has a better chance in the lake than stressed in a live well.

Regards,

Dave
 

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Hmmmmm, I missed that in the regs, but here is the exact wording. Let the debate begin.

Unlawful Activities
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You May Not:

Deposit litter, fish offal, or any foreign matter, in any waters of the state or on any lands, private or public.

Definition of offal from Websters:
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Main Entry: of·fal
Pronunciation: 'o-f&l, 'ä-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from of off + fall
1 : the waste or by-product of a process: as a : trimmings of a hide b : the by-products of milling used especially for stock feeds c : the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in dressing
2 : RUBBISH
 

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A clearer definition for us English impaired:

SYLLABICATION: of·fal
PRONUNCIATION: ôfl, fl
NOUN: 1. Waste parts, especially of a butchered animal. 2. Refuse; rubbish.

Also, I checked the Ontario and Ohio reg's and found nothing on releasing dead fish.
 

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I love a good lively debate. It's a free country, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

The interpretation of a dead fish as ofal came from a DNR officer I posed this very question to. Dead minnows are also ofal. Luckily the gulls will eat them before the DNR shows up.

I would not want to pull out my dictionary and split hairs with the judge about what is or is not ofal. Especially when the DNR is writing tickets for the crime of having tubes in your boat on St. Clair in May.

Here's a good test: put 5 live bass and 1 dead one in your livewell, find the nearest DNR officer and request a possesion limit check, in full view of the officer, throw the dead one in the water and say "I'm not over the limit, I only have 5 fish in my posession". See what happens.

Legalities aside, my personal view is that this is not a "sporting" thing to do and I won't do it. If you do and get away with it, I guess you win. If it becomes too common, I bet we will lose our ability to cull at all.

To me this is the moral equivalent of shooting a small buck, and before you can track it down you see a bigger one, so you shoot it too, and then you "can't find" the first one. You can't "throw back" a dead deer, or a dead fish in my book.

Dave, I was in OCBA a few years ago. Very good club.

P.S. - I caught a really big (48") musky a few years ago out of season. Unfortunately, it tore itself up pretty good before I got it in the boat and it died. I had to let it go and watch it sink to the bottom. Broke my heart.
 

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"Especially when the DNR is writing tickets for the crime of having tubes in your boat on St. Clair in May."

It is not a crime to have tubes in your boat in May.
I use them to catch Walleye. They also hit spinnerbaits and cranks in the spring.
Where did you find this law.
Please reference it for me.
 

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Legal or not, I don't think I could cull a dead fish. As tournament anglers I feel we have a responsability to take care of the fish. It is our responsability to do everything we can to keep those fish alive. If we fail at that task then we must be responsible for our own actions by keeping the fish and paying the weight penalty.

I have had live-wells break down durning a tournament and still kept my fish alive. I had to take a bucket and scoop fresh water into the livewell every 10 or 15 minutes. It really cut into my fishing time but all my fish lived.

I've seen guys weigh 5 dead fish and say "Oh well, my livewell broke" then through the fish in the garbage. Man, my blood was boiling.

On the flip side however, I have had empty livewells and seen dead fish floating and thought to myself "GET THE NET"....
 

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MadWags, I was exagerating to make a point. It is not illegal to have tubes in your boat in May. However, DNR has made a very public effort over the last few years to write tickets for "intending" to catch bass out of season. Not to hijack the post, but it has been widely conjectured and rumored that having a rod rigged with a tube and fishing in an area known to have lots of bass in May is an invitation to getting a ticket.


East Coast - season before last my livewells broke down and I threw back what would have been a winning stringer instead of having them die. Of course, I didn't know at the time that it was a winning stringer, it was a very mediocre weight so I thought we were out of the money. Turned out everyone else had a rough day also and we would have won had we kept them alive. Another lesson learned . . .
 

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QUOTE(tcmono @ Mar 23 2004, 09:31 PM)East Coast - season before last my livewells broke down and I threw back what would have been a winning stringer instead of having them die. Of course, I didn't know at the time that it was a winning stringer, it was a very mediocre weight so I thought we were out of the money. Turned out everyone else had a rough day also and we would have won had we kept them alive. Another lesson learned . . .

Always keep a bucket in the boat
 

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In BASSMASTER events now, culling of dead fish is against the rules. In Ontario, the spoiling of fish is illegal, so if you throw a dead fish away, you are breaking the law.
 

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QUOTE(DRP @ Mar 23 2004, 11:54 PM)In BASSMASTER events now, culling of dead fish is against the rules. In Ontario, the spoiling of fish is illegal, so if you throw a dead fish away, you are breaking the law.
I don't believe that is true. Unless I'm having trouble reading again (I did miss the "offal" in the Michigan regs). I do not see anywhere in the Bassmaster rules or Ontario regs that says you can not cull dead fish. Let me know where you see differently.

04' BASSMASTER/E50 Rules

04' Ontario Regs
 

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One thing I want to make clear. I'm mearly posting the facts presented in the tournament rules and State regulations, not making a judgement on culling dead fish. Don't mis-interpet my posts. For the record I've never culled a dead fish or been in the position to even make that decision.
 

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In Ontario, it is illegal to waste or 'spoil' a fish, or any game for that matter. It's in the regs book that you pick up at bait shops. When you cull out a dead fish, and throw it away, you are spoiling it. That is against the law. In the Bassmaster Opens last year, they made it clear that culling of dead fish was not allowed. I think it was announced in our event packages they mailed out. I know it's true because guys were talking about it at every event, complaining about it. At the last event, I was only catching about 7 bass a day, and I threw my first fish back because I hooked it too deep and it started to bleed. I was worried it would die, and I'd be stuck with it. My amatuer thought I was nuts, because it was a decent keeper.
 
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