Wayne SW/MO

Gigging vs Smallmouth conflict

102 posts in this topic

Here's an article done on the subject. I can tell you that the lady did her homework on this.

STLToday

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Hey Wayne,

Good article. I can tell you that a few years back I was camping and trout fishing on the North fork of the White river. I didn't even know you could ram up that beautiful river in the middle of the night with a motor boat and gig fish. I sat on the bank and listened to a boatload of drunken giggers scrape the bottom all night - and from many of their comments I know they weren't just gigging suckers. They weren't "mistaking" browns for suckers - they were targeting them. As for the "policing themselves" comment - hehehehehehehehehehehehe that may be the funniest thing I have ever read!!!! There are many "locals" down there - not all of course, but many who sort of feel isolated from any law - as anyone who has lived out "in the sticks" can vouch for. They have been going out and spending the night drinking and gigging for years and ain't no outsider going to tell them what to do. I took this up with the MDC and basically got brushed off - with the same old, "there are violations in all areas, and we can't catch them all" nonsense that they usually spew. I don't even know if it is still legal to gig on the North Fork - but it sure seems to me that if you make it OK and the MDC turns it's badge the other way - then you are going to get lots of things speared.

JS

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Can you say CAMCORDER!!!

it been " we have done it for years' atttude by meat fisherman

until some "examples are set" it will continue

Mo

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When I talked to Kathy on the phone, she was a lot more upset about this herself than she wrote in the article, which seemed to me to be pretty even-handed. I too think she did a good job under the constraints of space.

Few anglers spend more time on the Meramec and Gasconade in the winter than Nick Hamra. If he's seriously upset about this, it IS an issue.

Unfortunately, the basic response from MDC is no different from what it ever was. In fact, Kathy told me that one biologist, who shall remain nameless here because I almost always respect him and his work otherwise, suggested that what look like gig scars on smallmouths may actually be scars from great blue heron attacks. How ridiculous is that? Funny how those scars are most likely to show up on bass that are too big for a heron to swallow, and it's funny how I've only seen FRESH wounds on bass during the gigging season...oh, yeah, and it's also funny that those herons have long enough necks to reach bass in the deep water that they are almost always in during the day in cold weather. I'm as big a supporter of MDC as anybody, but they are abdicating their responsibility on this one because they don't want to stir up the good ol' boy hornet's nest, and possibly also because they seriously DON'T know what to do to curb this.

Pray for LOTS of rain next autumn!

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Good Article. Hope MDC will actually step up to the plate and do something on this issue. Folks have been complaining about jet boat traffic, & illegal gigging on the Meramec for years and nothing has ever been done about it. I'd love to see an experiment were they got rid of gigging between Hwy 8 and Onandaga. I'm sure that both the trout and bass fishing would improve. I'd also like to see some limits placed on the number of commercial canoe rentals, and horsepower restrictions. 25hp should be more than enough.

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Hey Wayne,

Good article. I can tell you that a few years back I was camping and trout fishing on the North fork of the White river. I didn't even know you could ram up that beautiful river in the middle of the night with a motor boat and gig fish. I sat on the bank and listened to a boatload of drunken giggers scrape the bottom all night -

JS

Supposed to be off the river by midnight... if they were truly out all night, they are the poaching fringe that plagues every sport.

I agree the article was pretty even-handed, but I didn't get this paragraph:

Glen Sims, of Gravois Mill, is also upset. "I've been wade-fishing on the Gasconade when a jetboat passed by, went around an upstream bend and shut down. A few minutes later, I'd notice dead smallmouth bass drifting downstream," Sims said.

What the heck is that all about? Is he wading at night, and they are upstream gigging smallmouth from a boat that is shut down?

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I just re-read the article, and I still don't get the paragraph that quoted this mysterious "Glen Sims", and his tale of smallmouth carnage. To me, this paragraph does some significant damage to the article. I am a bit sensitive knowing that there are many who would do away with the sport altogether, at once or incrementally, and so have a seemingly endless supply of embellished first-person horror stories to support their preferred usage of a shared natural resource (river).

I'm not doubting that game fish are gigged illegally or inexperiencedly (sp?), and I'm not necessarily opposed to closing some stretches of specially-managed smallmouth waters (as they have done in trout management areas). In fact, I say form a citizen's committee and put Al in the lead!

BUT, I think you all would find much broader support for this if the consensus was the current laws are adequately enforced. The issue reminds me a bit of gun control.

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I agree. The mysterious "Glen Sims" and his account of the Small Mouth Carnage seems about as believeable as the people who will swear on a stack of bibles and under the threat of eternal damnation "that so and so went diving at X Dam and would never go again because they seen "Man Eating Catfish" down there."

You are ablsolutly correct in your assesment of how people would go about doing away with the sport all together.

I am not a gigger but I do support the sport.

Edited by gonefishin

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Well I'll ask Glen and get back to ya'll, but I can tell you for a fact that he's not prone to tall tales.

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This article is tough on the gigging community. As sportsman, we have too many groups outside the hunting and fishing community that would like to limit our right’s, lets not alienate each other. I am an avid smallmouth bass fisherman that would love to see better management of the states fishery. Most of my time spent fishing is on the waters of the meramec and current rivers. The meramec in the trophy SMB management area is a great fishery, however, it is nearly unfishable during the summer months due to the masses that float the stream.

The current river has a large number of SMB. Unfortunately, it is tough to catch many fish over 13-14 inches. The river is used extremely heavy in the summer months by floaters above two rivers, and boaters below. This would be a great stream to change to a SMB managed area allowing the fish a chance to get to trophy status. I am sure that there are more SMB removed from the stream by the recreational users taking legal fish by legal methods than from giggers. Limiting the SMB length and limits would cause the vast majority of the fish to be released to grow and fight again. Most recreational fisherman are law abiding and would not want to break the rules and would willingly abide.

Fish gigging is a ton of fun. I have been fishing gigging for 20 + years and had very few illegal fish brought into the boat. The rivers have plenty of suckers, which most giggers prefer. However, mistakes do happen and when a error is made, unfortunately the fish will not survive. I am sure far fewer smallmouth bass are removed from the water by giggers than are taken by bait fisherman and recreational fisherman that remove the fish legally. Trout on the other hand are hard to distinguish from suckers and trout water should be protected. Most giggers are honest respectable sportsman that would not purposely kill game fish.

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