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Dealing With Fish Poachers
If you're a fisherman and someone sees you trawling in the sea with nets full of fish, do you think they will be kind enough to refrain from picking up your hook? Many poachers are not so scrupulous, and they can even go so far as to slap rocks over the sides of the boat to frighten the fish away. Sometimes, poachers will haul up the nets and throw them at the bait which they intend to catch. This could very well frighten the fish into leaving the area, but it's also likely that they'll be intrigued by the sight of your bait and eat some of them for lunch. If you aren't a fan of violence in any way, perhaps you'd like to consider fishing without using any type of gear.
It may sound dangerous, but it isn't actually. There are plenty of places around the world where fishing without a net is legal. You might be tempted to try this technique when you're first learning how to fish, but you should hold off for a little while. Poachers will simply relocate once they see you've cast your line or taken your bait. The best thing to do if you're trying to catch fish this way is to just hang out at the same spot, wait for the fish to bite, and then start reeling them in.
The same principle applies to larger, more powerful fish. Poachers often catch themselves on land and then proceed to take the fish from the water. Even if you know how to fish with a net, this tactic won't work as well. Poachers also tend to leave their nets in deep waters, where smaller fish may be hiding.
There are some precautions that you can take to make fishing more enjoyable. Most importantly, never leave the shore when you have a catch. This can deter poachers, but it's also wise to know where the shore is located and be aware of any signs warning you about fishing without a net. Also, it's important to be assertive if you feel that you've been caught out, even by a small species.
Another way to deter poachers is to remember that you're only catching fish for yourself. Poachers aren't looking to hand over your catch to the next guy, and you're definitely not helping your cause by interfering with another fisherman's catch. If someone isn't interested in your catch, then there's no reason for you to be bothering them.
Poachers sometimes use clubs to beat their opponents out of the water. While this method does work to some degree, it's generally not very effective. Clubs can physically damage your gear, making it harder to land the fish. Poaches don't have the same type of muscle mass that fighters do, so they can take down your pole with very little effort. Stick with poles and let a human referee handle the fish fight.
If a poacher is targeting your prized catch, remember that you have rights. Although these rights vary from state to state, poaching is usually illegal. Poaching migratory fish is also illegal, although many poachers catch their fish while fishing in areas that don't have the legal rights to sell it. It may be illegal to eat, but it's definitely not illegal to catch and sell.
Poaching should be illegal and everyone should do their part to prevent it. You don't have to go it alone, especially if you're new to fishing. Join up with other anglers and join in when you fish. Report any poachers to the local authorities as well as friends and family who may be involved. It's your duty as an angler to defend your catch, no matter what kind of game fish you're talking about.