Wednesday, April 19, 2006

BP's Philosophy of MN Closed Bass Season

For those unaware, Minnesocold has a time from late February to late May, when it is illegal to not only keep, but even fish for largemouth and smallmouth Bass. The Minnesota regulation for fish "out of season" is this:

You may not intentionally fish for any species during its closed season.

Updated to add: The actual rule/law is 6262.0100 GENERAL RESTRICTIONS ON TAKING FISH Subp. 5.B Possession of fish while on state waters, which says:
"A person shall not angle for, including catch-and-release, or reduce to possession any species during its closed season."

I have all kinds of issues with this particular regulation.

#1 I think it is immoral for the state to make catch and release fishing with artificial baits illegal

I do not believe the state has a compelling interest in prohibiting catch and release fishing. Catch and release fishing has proven itself not to be harmful to a fisheries resource. If there is no harm done than the state should not be able to regulate against the activity, PERIOD! This regulation is a very mild form of tyranny that prohibits the God given freedom and rights of man.

#2 Any law or regulation that depends upon a subjectively derived "intent" for enforcement when it could use an objectively arrived at standard is bad law.

In other words, this law should not be allowed on the basis that it is vague. If the state is going to by default ban certain fishing techniques than they should be named, not left to be guessed at. Sure the regulation book would get bigger, but it would also get better because the CO would then have something that could be specifically and objectively enforced. To ban specific lures would show in fine detail that the regulation is indeed heavy handed and overly restrictive of an anglers freedom.

#3 The problem of cross species "targeting."

FYI-In Minnesocold this regulation is often paraphrased thus: "It is illegal to target an out of season fish."

Now any fisherman worth half his weight in twister tails and tube baits knows that fish of all shapes and sizes will bite a variety of the same baits. I've caught panfish on bass spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastics and jigs. I guarantee that bass will bite on every lure designed to catch panfish; Add to this another fact any fisherman will know about how fish of all shapes and sizes will share the same habitat. Thus in the general area where there will be panfish there will be bass and where there are bass there will be panfish.

These two facts together bring us to the inescapable conflict that fishing for fish that are "in season" means you will catch out of season fish whether you intentionally try to or not. Still some people insist on the artificial notion that you can "target" your species outside of sight fishing for individual fish. The regulation is based on an angling lie that defies common sense and experience. If you intend to catch panfish you will undoubtedly catch bass as well. Therefore, everyone who fishes for panfish is in reality also targeting bass albeit for catch and release purposes. The logic of this reality is inescapable.

Caveat: Now it is true that you are more likely to catch a bass on a 1/2oz jig than a sunfish or crappie, but it is not necessarily more likely that you will catch a crappie or sunfish on a 1/32oz jig than a bass.

#4 As long as you are fishing for a species that is in season than it is allowable that you can catch and release fish that are not in season.

Point #4 follows on the heals of point #3. If targeting legal fish than one is allowed to catch fish that are not in season all one wants and still be fishing within the law. This is a loop-hole that shows the law is absurd on it's face. During the Bass closed season it is completely legal to intentionally fish for panfish and roughfish including dogfish. After the 2nd weekend of May a licensed angler can also intentionally fish for pike, and walleye. If you target a legal species and you catch bass as a "side effect" than your angling is on the up and up, otherwise all anglers fishing during the bass closed season are guilty of breaking the law.

#5 It is an economic injustice that fishermen of means can fish bass legally in the river or other states, while the fisherman without means is stuck without remedy for being able to angle bass.

The argument is made that fishing for bass out of season is inexcusable because other options exist for fishing bass legally by visiting the river where there is no closed season or other states where bass season is open. Obviously not everyone has an equal opportunity to take advantage of the other options due to financial concerns. The law should avoid creating such inequalities if possible and in this case the remedy is possible without negatively effecting the natural resource.

In summary I have 5 reason's why I find this regulation to be bogus.

Because of this regulation the conversation starts again every year. The self appointed defenders of all that is holy writ in Minnesocold Fishing Law get on their moral hobby horse and condemn all those that would defy the law as they see it.

...As the season gets closer to opener More and More boats and more and more fisher People Are fishing for Bass. (I’M TALKING ABOUT THE WALLEYE OPENER NOT THE BASS OPENER!!!!).how do they call themselves sports men in one breath and a outlaw in there actions . what is the boards view on Targeting fish that are out of season?

Chisago Docksitter
My response to the Docksitter is that he should mind his own business and let other people mind their own business in return. A sportsman will do what he can to see this bad law changed. Those who know my history know this bass fishing out of season controversy is what contributed to the Banned Pastor, BP designation, as well as other various creative name calling.

The genesis of my passion for this issue goes back to me being falsely accused and harassed by some jerk when I was fishing for northern pike, not bass. My beliefs on the issue have evolved and strengthened the more I have thought about it.

Do I Cheat the Law?

I speed from time to time.

Ohh, you meant "do I intentionally fish for bass out of season?"
If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, did it make a sound? Unless I say something is my intent and actually mean it, there is no way to objectively gauge what my intent actually is on the matter. You will NEVER here me say that my intent is to catch a bass during it's closed season.

Also I do believe non-violent "civil disobedience" is a proper response in redress of bad government in an otherwise worthwhile governing system.

In addition to those considerations, at all times in the Spring while fishing during the bass closed season I have the very deliberate intent to catch a species that is legally in season whether that be panfish or dogfish. I believe this fact settles the issue once and for all. In reality I do not "cheat the law," because I am FISHING LEGALLY.

The only issue with some resonance from

It's not fair that the majority of us follow regulations
It is to some degree true that those who fish for bass before the season opens are doing something that is unfair to all other anglers. What they are doing is educating the fish which makes them harder for others to catch. Of coarse that means it's making them harder to catch for meat fisherman. Also fish that can be educated are desirable stock for the future of a fishery as well as for the section of the economy based on fishing. This issue is at best a push when larger questions are considered.

FYI-Permission is granted for anyone who wants to copy and paste this response all or in part to the WHAT ARE Sportsmen to do ? thread at

Now I must get back to my hunt for the state record dogfish.

Appendix FM: (A compilation of bulletin board threads on this topic that is if I can ever re-find the links now that the board has been changed and everything has a new url. Much of the time "Anonymous" is the Banned Pastor but not always)
"RE: Largemouth Bass"
"Whats With All The Talk About Fishing Out Of Season" (10 pages of comments)
Regulations... clarification? archives (I didn't actually participate in this thread where I was slandered)

"To bad all people who fish don’t have that attitude."
You don't like my attitude and I don't care for the attitude of the self-righteous chumps that presume a person is breaking the law or doing something wrong when they are not.

Did you see the thread "Basspoacher tries to strike again." Same place, same baits, same time of day and all I got was those crummy Crappies and Sunnies some of which I kept to eat (Yum Yum). Fishing is that way a lot of times and people who accuse others for "targeting" out season need to be a little more liberal with how they regard what is proper and what is not. People have gone out of their way to accuse me of breaking the law and being unethical so I go out of my way to be provocative on this issue to piss you Pharisees off.

When someones intent is to catch fish period and would be as happy with a bass as a crappie does not mean they are breaking the law or doing anything wrong. Cyb had a blast catching all those bass, but was disappointed that he didn't get any nice crappies or bigger gills. Had he fished the same spot a week later it looks as if the results would have been different from what I caught.

That's fishing.

excerpt from Keeping BASS Dilemma Fishing Minnesota archives (4 pages)

How many more days till the Bass opener?? (thread has 11pages, many of which contain BP posts.)

Seasonal Ethics

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dark Christianity and Rick Clunn

In an interview with BassFan Rick Clunn talks about the "Dark Side of Christian Spirituality" as he terms it; Rick Clunn is a bit of an individualist maverick when it comes to spirituality, especially in the conservative evangelical dominated world of Professional Bass Fishing. As examples of this "Dark Side" he talks about how in his youth his sister was condemned to hell for being a ballet dancer and how that moved his family away from their church and away from Christianity; Clunn also references F.O.C.A.S. (Fellowship of Christian Angling Society) and how some people within this group have used what he considers negative and coercive peer pressure tactics, as well as how he believes they had distorted his own beliefs.

My response to Rick Clunn:
It is impossible to deny that Christianity has a "dark side." But "Christianity" as Clunn uses the word is nothing but a multifaceted institutionalized ideology acted out in the lives of individual and corporate human lives. The clear lesson of history and immediate human experience is that human beings are all morally flawed and prone to mistakes ranging from the individual occasional minor offense all the way to mass directed grievous evil. If one wishes to focus on the negative and problems than they will find them without much effort when human conduct is considered.

Clunn obviously considers himself a self-enlightened individual, but that self-enlightenment obviously contains a prejudice against evangelical Christian's and evangelical Christianity. The majority of Clunn's opinion has apparently sided with the negatives of "Christianity" so that the positives are discounted. Just as Clunn judges the arrogance of Christian's so he is condemned by the arrogance of his own enlightenment which surely is not without this significant flaw. Rick Clunn may be the "Greatest Professional Bass Fisherman ever, a great father, husband, and generally be a pretty good guy, but he is not without his issues and flaws. I know that because I know myself and I know all beings have issues and flaws either real or imagined. Clunn obviously has some issues with Christian's that appear legitimate, but I question whether his consideration of Christian's and Christianity is deep enough to have merit. For if I were to discount all of Clunn's accomplishments because of his failures and mistakes than I could esteem Clunn negatively and that with ease. But why would I choose to do such?

Well actually I wouldn't, because I have a great deal of respect for the guy as a man and as an angler. Obviously if I were a P.E.T.A. believer than I would have a different view. Consider that.