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Giggers At Ozarks Finley River Park.


RSBreth

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I live here in Ozark and fish the park quite a bit. Many have seen my posts and I do O.K. The park has some decent bass, some crappie, some good bluegills too. But I have not caught many bass in the past month or so. Yesterday the wind died down enough for me to really get a good look into the clear waters. Seems folks have decided to gig and leave dead at least a couple of bass and some dozen suckers, which makes me think they are the ones who got off the gig, but died. Who knows how many were poached. I talked to one of the lucky folks who have a house and dock there on the lake, and the said they had seen a couple of boats with lights recently, but couldn't remember when.

I'm about purple with rage, but not much can be done. There are a dozen or so folks I know that enjoy the park, catch and release a couple bass on the weekends, take their kids, and I think they just got screwed.

I will have to start driving the couple of blocks down there every calm night and checking for boat trailers. I'm sure there are ethical giggers, however, I have never met any.

Any thoughts?

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I'm afrid it's just the society that we live in. It's always been that way and always will be. They are the same people that throw their trash out the car window, or leave the styrofoam worm containers, on the bank. The same person that will throw an old tire in a ditch rather than find a place to take it. The same people I see at the city lakes, that are stocked with winter trout, keeping the fish or using bait during the C&R season. The same people who never buy a fishing licence. It's sad, but poachers and people that litter, are all the same in my book. They think if nobody sees them, then it's ok. That's why I am glad to see so many people on this site that are true conservationist's. Who understands how fragile our enviroment is. It gives a person hope.

wader

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Tell me again why in the world MO allows gigging at all?

Suckers CAN be caught with a hook and line if you want some to eat.

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On Instagram @hamneedstofish

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Dunno, gigging is a touchy subject. Gigging has been called a a traditional Ozark activity, and it is. Things are different today though...Many of our streams are in bad shape from poor land use practices, drought, etc.... To compound the problem, our streams see a lot more giggers and the technology they use is alot better than what folks used in days past.

I dont have a problem with folks who know how to I.D. their targets before they stick them, but its not always the case. Some giggers stick game fish by accident, and some bad apples stick whatever they see. Its a very popular activity in some areas. Accourdingly, MDC has been reluctant to add additional restrictions on gigging activities. At the moment the only place that gigging is banned is in the Blue Ribbon Trout areas..If folks wanted to lobby for additional restrictions I'd be in favor of gigging restrictions on some of the Smallmouth Special Management areas..I think it would be interesting to see what happens to the game fish populations if they cut the gigging our for a couple years.

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I used to do alot of gigging. Especially when I was living on the sea. Used to spend hours gigging lobster and such on the reefs in central america. I can see the appeal, but cant say as I do much anymore. Too old I guess to be stumbling around in the dark spot lighting.

I still have my old gig. Still sharp as ever, although the last time i used it was to fish out a copperhead from under my my porch.

I feel that gigging is more like hunting than fishing. And yes, it should have restrictions, but will the MDC really enforce the laws. They havnt been doing such a good job of it around here.

Your more likely to get busted for an open container than an illegal fish.

"May success follow your every cast." - Trav P. Johnson

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It happens all over the Ozarks. I really believe that illegal gigging is a major limiting factor on BIG Ozark stream bass. The giggers don't bother sticking little ones, but big ones are just too tempting a target for some. They probably kill some big walleye on some streams, too. And Gavin is exactly right...the technology makes it too easy and convenient. If you want to talk tradition, traditional Ozark gigging was done from a wooden johnboat with a pine knot fire on a platform in the middle of it for light and the gig poles themselves for propulsion. Or you could advance a little in history and take the same johnboat with a little prop motor and a big flashlight or carbide light. Now it's jetboats with stable gigging platforms and banks of halogen lights. And you have lots more accesses with concrete ramps. And you have a longer gigging season than it used to be. We've gone in the wrong direction.

The other problem is, it's too difficult to police. You can sit at the accesses and check the giggers as they come in, but you're not going to catch the ones that gig bass and shake them off the gig two miles upstream. Or the ones that use private accesses.

I have no tolerance for those who "accidentally" stick game fish, either. It's the same as hunting...if you're not sure of your target, you don't shoot, and you don't gig, period. You can't use that excuse when you shoot the wrong duck.

I've done some gigging. It's great fun and suckers are great eating. I wish that all giggers were ethical. I don't see anything happening to change the status quo.

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The other problem is, it's too difficult to police. You can sit at the accesses and check the giggers as they come in, but you're not going to catch the ones that gig bass and shake them off the gig two miles upstream. Or the ones that use private accesses.

I assume you are speaking of MDC agents. And if so, I don't see why not. That is part of their job. It may not be the most convenient part of the job but, it is part of it.

Chief Grey Bear

Living is dangerous to your health

Owner Ozark Fishing Expeditions

Co-Owner, Chief Executive Product Development Team Jerm Werm

Executive Pro Staff Team Agnew

Executive Pro Staff Paul Dallas Productions

Executive Pro Staff Team Heddon, River Division

Chief Primary Consultant Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Executive Vice President Ronnie Moore Outdoors

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MDC is virtually an invisible entity. I see illegal activity every place I fish. They need to crack down on something other than the party crowds. Not that those kids dont need to be harrassed but they are not the ones keeping illegal fish and participating in illegal angling.

"May success follow your every cast." - Trav P. Johnson

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I hear Beavis - "hmmmm... yep.... umm yeah.... oh boy.... here we go again... uh-huh....."

That's what I feel like everytime we get into this gigging discussion. I can feel your pain RS - been there. NFOW has the season on suckers but many big trout fall to the gig on a cool fall night there. Seems to me like it is such an invasive thing to the streams and game fish - and that relatively few people actually do it so it's not like peoples jobs are at stake - and that as you say there are other ways to catch suckers - and the fact that it is legal makes it so much tougher to catch the poachers... And of course while it may take some skill to catch a 19 inch smallie on a tube jig - any idiot can thrust a spear into one with the 10 million candle power floodlights showing him the way.

As to "gigging" and "hand-fishing" being traditions - it also used to be "tradition" to go out after Church and target shoot a bunch of passenger pigeons - but some traditions need to go the way of the passenger pigeon -

JS

"We are living in the midst of a Creation that is mostly mysterious - that even when visible, is never fully imaginable".

-Wendell Berry-

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