Conservation is a term that I don’t particularly take lightly. Conservation is important to maintain our fishery, and provide the same enjoyment that we have now for our future generations of kayak anglers. That’s not to say that as a kayak angler, you should practice catch and release with every fish that you catch, but practicing catch and release is one of the strongest forms of practicing conservation. I’ll admit that 90% of the fish that I land is catch and release, with the exception of one or two for the family for dinner. My reasoning for this practice is I normally take my sons out on kayak fishing excursions with me. The simple joy of them hooking up and reeling in a nice redfish is enough to put a smile on my face for weeks on end.
I know there are several kayak anglers go out and keep everything they keep that’s within regulations, and that’s their legal right. While I may not agree with that on a personal level, they’re still within regulations and rules, and that’s their right to do so. Catching and keeping fish just to bow up your chest isn’t truly the right way to go about it. It’s our responsibility to take precautions now so that future generations can come behind us and have those bountiful days on the water. I love seeing my sons catching fish, and there’s nothing more magical that watching a child’s excitement as they catch a fish. I want my sons to continue to enjoy that experience, as well as share said experience with their children and so forth.
Following your state’s rules and regulations for slot limits and keep limits are also very important. Keeping an undersized or an oversized fish can have an alarming affect on the future of our fishery. Ultimately, we’re all responsible as anglers and citizens to ensure rules and regulations are followed and adhered to by others. If you see someone keeping an undersize or oversized fish, I’d suggest speaking with them, because it could very well be that they are unaware of the rules and regulations. If this practice is shot down with the individual, then I’d suggest informing your state’s law enforcement agency of the crime. It’s important that we take care of the fishery that we have today, so our children can enjoy it tomorrow.