STEVE ROSS OF THE ENSENADA BOAT BAD DOG ON KEEPING STRIPED MARLIN
Nov. 9, 2005, Steve Ross, Bad Dog, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico:
I live in San Diego and I own a 2002 Tournament Luhrs permanently moored in Ensenada, Mexico, and I am on the water over 500 hours a year as a saltwater sport fisherman. Ensenada is only 60 miles and a short drive from San Diego and many anglers in town cross the ocean's International Border with their boats to fish the productive Mexican waters.
Killing fish should be viewed as the end result of either sport or commercial fishing. Any angler or boat owner or operator who goes fishing and adheres to established laws and their legal limits should be commended for his valiant effort to remain within the boundaries of the law.
The recent uproar and protests from the minority extremists as saviors of our seas to release marlin is generally framed in angry ignorant ravings devoid of any scientific findings. These emotional outbursts have confronted me at weigh-ins, at photo shoots in our Ensenada slip, and with personal affronts on a popular San Diego AM Radio Fishing Talk-Show. I can personally attest to the fact that all of these public displays were from a minority extremist's outcry from either non-fishing or infrequent armchair "expert" anglers. I either had them come up to me and I hunted one down. Their groundless allegations of "Turn 'em loose so my children will have some to catch" falls pale as the Mexican seiner and longline fleet take a thousand a day all year round. I only mention this as my small legal and seasonal take is of little concern to the overall global perspective.
This 2005 season, my Ensenada fishing crew and I took 7 striped marlin during a short 30 day season (something these tree huggers don't understand), my freezer is empty, and these fish did more for America to Mexico relations than any Bush/Fox meeting.
Ninety-nine percent of So Cal saltwater sport fishermen are ignorant of the special quality marlin bring to sashimi, ceviche, poki, grilled thin marinated steaks, and smoked chunks vacuum packed for all on board and their extended families.
I kill fish for seafood and rigidly abide by the governing laws of Mexico, which in some cases are stricter than the California laws in force just 60 miles north. After chilling our catch, we return with what we need for fresh fish dinners during the coming week.
I suggest to those who wish to impose their limits on my fishing that they should put their money and time into a more productive channel and contribute large sums of money to the U.A./R.F.A. and lobby to have the limits changed by their State's DFG. All of the DFG meetings are publicized. I, for one, pay my taxes to have people with guns and badges to discipline the law breaking abusers.
Additionally, if critics of killing their beloved Species of The Month Club would be examined, you would find on one extreme a PETA/HSUS noncontributing wannabe or a big fish seeker taking out the top of the pyramid survivor/breeder; whether it be a halibut, bass or a tuna, to name a few.
Forget about making decisions as a fish doctor for survival potential. If you want to eat it, kill it. If you don't want to kill fish, don't go fishing. This is The Steve Ross KISS Fish Conservation Theory. If you don't want to see a deer lying on the ground crying his eyes out with a bullet in him, don't go hunting and leave the hunters alone. It's just that simple. This is The Steve Ross KISS Deer Conservation Theory. Stay out of my sport, keep your mouth shut, and leave me alone. Call me after you have graduated with a master's degree in Marine Biology
If you hook a fish and it's really disturbing you, and you don't think that you can sleep at night with visions of blood and guts, do yourself, and this fish, a favor and cut the line at the reel and turn it loose immediately. I am not going to survive 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and neither will the fish jumping his brains out in a life or death survival struggle. Rely on hooks that rust out in a few weeks; either they'll throw it or it'll rust out and drop off. Perhaps you can convince Mustad to build a special line of hooks for that purpose; just for you. I guarantee you, that if all of you release fanatics would disengage upon hookup the rate of survival would increase 90 percent. Why you crusaders are trolling lures with hooks in them in the first place is beyond me.
I especially enjoy you taggers. Bring the fish to the boat after pulling his heart out for an hour and jam a tag into him setting off shock and trauma and set him free to suffer his short lived life being tortured from the pain of infection. Oh sure, one or two percent are still showing up a thousand miles away, but where are the thousands y'all set free? If you want to know where these fish go after they go away simply ask me, they went away. Perhaps, you can convince one of these tattoo idiots who's having a personal identity crisis to instead of inking some meaningless design onto themselves that will permanently mark them as a bizarre individual to instead jam a dart in his or her back, and let me know how it turns out. I will personally recognize them with the protruding dart as a more dedicated bizarre person and I will be more interested in the outcome.
When I find a service man in uniform I walk up to him and say, "Thank you for serving our Country." If you come up to my boat and count our catch I would like to hear, "Thanks for observing our laws."