Monday, November 9, 2015

Hand Shaped Fungus On Trout

Seriously.......seriously?

There is a recent blog post on a fly fishing site about grip & grin shots and the proper handling of fish before they are released, and whether or not they are harmed depending on whether they are kept in the water or held up for a hero shot.  Like every other subject in America, there are tons of experts on this and most of them are very confident in what they don't know.  Or they just want attention, thus they will remain anonymous here. I'm not an expert, but I believe a little common sense goes a long way.  That's all I have to say about that, but if you want to read more, do a search on your favorite browser and feel the outrage.

What I am really interested in, is that on that same blog post, a so-called guide commented that he has "seen more than his fair share of fish with hand shaped fungus on them."  That folks, is a new one to me, and perhaps to you as well.  I have been fishing for trout for over 45 years in waters from Maine to California.  Some (many) are fished very heavily with the majority of anglers practicing catch and release.  And in all those years, on all those rivers and streams, I have never caught a trout that has hand shaped fungus on it.  Have you? 

So, my question is; was this guy exaggerating (bullshitting) to make his point?  Or does this really happen and have I just not seen this phenomenon on one of the thousands of trout I have caught over the years?  

I have caught trout with discolored skin, that may possibly be fungus, no doubt. Usually it is whitish and was found on their head, or fin(s), or back, but always it was without form and never resembling any part of a hand; or human, for that matter.

 Angler 1: Hey, did you see that lip shaped fungus on that big brown trout I caught?

Angler 2: Yep, another idiot kissed his trophy before he released it......   

I'm skeptical on this one, so much so that I would like to hear from anyone that has unedited photographic proof showing a fish with hand shaped fungus on it.  Now I realize that it is possible, and may perhaps occur in rare instances, but I seriously doubt that any angler has seen even a small "fair share of fish with hand shaped fungus" on their sides. 

Sure, I'm a little grumpy tonight, but I don't live or fish in a vacuum and this one kind of irks me.

Sharpen your hooks!      

15 comments:

Tim Trengrove said...

I have seen it Matthew, on at least one brown trout. The other thing I've seen more of is the imprint of landing net mesh on trout skin.

Conrad Fiore said...

I once caught a trout with a fungus in the shape of Jesus.

Hibernation said...

Matt I think there is a point where common sense just fades. Sometimes, I think the "conservation" part of the angling set goes a bit haywire. For example, guys acting like a responsible catch and keep guy is a horrible human. They guy may have kept 1 fish a year, yet is treated horrible by his "peers" because catch and release is the ONLY answer.

I ponder this given fly fishing and bow hunting are passions of mine. How can I so staunchly believe in letting every trout/bass/sunfish etc go, but then take the lives of deer? Is it possible, that a balance can be struck which fosters sensible/responsible use of our natural resources? I think it is.

Fish are simpler to catch than a deer is to kill. There are more fisherman than hunters pressuring those fish (I believe). And thus there is some difference... But its and interesting dialogue to have with yourself or others when pondering the choices others make regarding catch and keep or catch and release.

In terms of damage to fish caused by handling. Of course it will occur to some degree. Heck, I've heard folks tell me not to handle wild brookies with my hand, but to use a net so they are more likely to live... To which I suggest a net could remove more slime than my wet hand... Interesting to see they go back to a hand. Likewise, some "real anglers" will intentionally use super light set ups when fishing for certain fish which forces the "fight" to be really played out and long. Those fish could have more stress induced damage than had the person gone a few X up in tippet size and landed the fish in half the time.

Point being, we are trying to capture a wild, living thing. That thing assumes it's in big trouble when it's being caught - or it wouldnt fight for it's life! This basically mandates that there is danger to the fish.

Now, I dont think we should do 80 hero shots and keep the fish out of water for 3' to get the right angles and light. Act like you have been there before for crying out loud! But if you want to take a pic or two and occasionally eat a trout.. Have at it. Just be reasonable, and balanced in your approach.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link with some "common sense" in it..
http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/repost-why-so-much-criticism-of-grip-and-grin-photos/

Just keep the fish in a rubber basket net and take the shot....if you are worried about touching and all that....easy peasy, and no guilt!

Jake said...

I haven't seen any trout with the hand fungus but I have noticed some trout with eye damage. It seems that the camera flash from taking those fish pics. has been burning the sensitive retina's of the fish. So PLEASE, turn off your flash the next time you take that "hero" shot of your fish. If this eye damage from the flash continues, the trout may not see that " hot" pattern that you hammer them with. No fish = no pictures. So, turn off the flash and sharpen those hooks.

Richard Strolis said...

This is probably the funniest thing I have seen in a while, tell me you're joking.

Brk Trt said...

Remember the felt sole..........

Hibernation said...

Brk Trt, Alan I was thinking it, but opted not to say it... :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe the guy had glue on his hands. :)

Vinnie said...

Matt, I have to disagree with you. I have caught many trout with a distinctly similar image on them. It resembles a clenched fist of a human hand with the middle finger extended. Clearly this is a message that the trout are trying to send us! Oh, that's Fungus...Sorry, I thought you said Fuc?#&!us. Never mind!

jay bird said...

I'm not sure what to make of this hand print issue , but I'll tell you this , I don't know where the ole fungas hand fisherman has been , so forget the trout I don't want him touching me .

rollcaster said...

Matt,

I've been trout fishing for over 60 years (I've got you beat) and have never seen anything more serious that a lamprey wound on a steelie. I'm at the point were I leave my net home, leave the fish in the water, and use a medical needle holder/hemostat to remove the hook without touching the fish at all. BTW, I usually use a 1-weight and a 5x tippet. Any fish I can't land in a couple of minutes can break me off-it's OK, and better for the fish!

Anonymous said...

I once saw a blue Heron needlepoint a self image on a trout with it's bill......I believe he was marking it for later consumption.....:)

RM Lytle said...

I've occasionally seen fungus on the caudal peduncle of trout the didn't look at all hand shaped but was likely a result of handling. Apparently it is more commonly a result of using tailing gloves, which aren't used THAT often anyway (I've never seen anyone using a tailing glove on the rivers I fish). But here's a link to a video that might interest you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8VETvLLa0o

As to anyone who thinks the see hand shaped fungus on trout.... that's BS. I've never seen anything that significant.

Brian Jones said...

I havn't personally seen a hand, but, as a fish pathologist, I have seen net marks on marine fish. Part of the problem is that we (as mammals) assume that fish skin is, like ours, mostly dead cells on the surface, but that's not so for fish. Fish skin is live tissue, with not only nerves but also taste buds and other sensors over the whole surface. Think of someone putting their bare (grubby) hand in your mouth as an example. Fish skin is protected by the mucous which has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. The purpose of a cotton (or plastic) glove is to stop your acids and chemicals on your skin interacting with those sense organs. Wipe the fish mucous off, and the fish is open to infection until the layer can be restored. Scales are embedded in the dermal layer deep below the skin surface and are covered with skin. Any dislodging of scales is a major injury, and can compromise the life of the fish (through osmotic shock) as well as providing a portal for infection. The moral - treat fish like you would your finest bone china, not like a dog or cat.