Practicing “catch and release” fishing doesn’t mean you’re a poor angler. What it means is that you care about the future of our fishery and about what your kids and grandkids will be catching after you’ve moved along to other pastures (or fishing holes!). We all remember, or have heard tales of, grand catches of trout, reds and grouper. And we’ve all seen bags of freezer-burned fish in trash heaps. Keeping vast quantities of fish is unnecessary and counterproductive, unless you have a huge nest of kids to feed. If you do, and if you eat fish every night, keep what you need to sustain them. Fish is good for brainpower! Otherwise, keep what you can eat for dinner that night without freezing and release the rest.
Our current sheepshead season is a prime example. No one needs to keep 15 spawning females. No one WANTS TO CLEAN 15 spawning females! Keep only what you need and send the rest safely back to procreate. Don’t think about “poundage,” think about the fun that fighting a big fish brings, even to the smallest fisherman!