Catch and Release Fishing: The History

Catch and Release Sailfish
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Costa Rica is known for fishing and the practice of catch and release is widespread now. It is method practiced these days all over the world as a result of conservation efforts and is widely supported by international professional anglers who understand that preserving fish stock is critical.  Anglers spend a lot of time out on the waters and familiar with the plentiful or not so plentiful fish stock making more them more aware of issues surrounding maintaining healthy populations. With the growth of commercial fishing many species are now threatened by overfishing and protecting fish populations from overfishing is now more important than ever before in history.  While Costa Rica has strong catch and release policies in effect and is probably one of the most popular destinations for anglers worldwide, the practice actually began in the UK.

Anglers practicing Catch and Release
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Catch and release fishing has its roots in the UK beginning in the early part of the 20th century fishermen noticing that target species were dwindling in heavily fished waters began the practice to protect fish populations. The idea became popular in the USA in the 1950s, and Michigan was the first state to implement catch and release as a fish population management tool. Famous angler, Lee Wolf promoted catch and release as he observed Atlantic Salmon populations dwindle.

Catch and Release: correct way to release a fish
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It was “outdoor God” Ray Scott who made a major difference in popularizing catch and release among anglers.  Known for the starting the fishing competition “The Birth of the B.A.S.S,” and lauded as one of the twenty people who have made a difference in the American outdoors in the past century, he first observed catch and release while attending a Federation of Fly Fishermen in Colorado.  He watched a fly roller catch and release a trout and realized how much sense it made. He then came up with the idea “Don’t Kill Your Catch” for bass fishing safety. As he continued to appear on national television, he popularized the idea among anglers making a major contribution to the world of fishing and conservation.

Catch and Release: Releasing a Sailfish
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Catch and release fishing is now practiced internationally as part of the sport and out of respect for the creatures. It ensures the sustainability of fishing and fish populations. While problems exist with how catch and release is practiced, it is a very important regulation in sustaining healthy fish populations.  Costa Rica has led the way in the 21st century with catch and release fishing policies building it into a $600 million dollar a year industry. Among the most popular catch and release are big game fish, Marlin and Sailfish. These fish are prize catch for anglers worldwide. Crocodile Bay is a favorite destination for anglers worldwide because of its expert captains and top-notch boats and its location makes it a prime spot to come and catch and release a Marlin or Sailfish.




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