Going through my email on our return from the
big fly fishing dealer show in Salt Lake, I found the following
piece by Dennis E. Smith. It is much more inportant than what
I had planned. Thank you Dennis!
Stomach pumps, throat pumps - or whatever you choose to call
them - are legitimate laboratory instruments used to sample the
throat or stomach contents of a fish. Insofar as they are used by
entomologists, biologists, and other members of the scientific
community in the collection and study of aquatic insects, that
use is proper and justified.
Recreational use of stomach pumps by anglers
as an aid to catch more fish is questionable, at least, and probably
unethical as viewed in the context of fair chase.
I suspect most seasoned anglers would agree.
Contrary to popular trends, no amount
of fancy gear or scientific gadgetry designed to take the "work
and guesswork" out of fly fishing will make you a good fly
Only time on the water can do that.
I don't believe, as some do, that stomach
pumping a fish is the moral equivalent of thumb screwing a
POW for military intelligence, but I'd have to be a fool not to
see the obvious parallel. I mean, there you are - torturing
information from a trout you just captured for the singular
purpose of using that information to capture the rest of his
buddies. How cool is that? How ethical?
Okay, it's only a fish, and the national
security's not at stake, but, if you ask me, your sense of fair
Norman Maclean wrote that "All good
things - trout as well as eternal salvation - come by grace,
and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy." Sucking
the stomach contents from a fish to enhance your angling score
is not an act of grace. It sure as hell ain't art.
It's cheating, plain and simple, and ethical
anglers don't cheat.
~ Dennis E. Smith, copywrite 9/08/98