Friday, July 07, 2006

Fat American Trout

I realize I am not the first person to write about the use of stomach pumps. I have expressed my opinion in the past and have been asked to explain why I prefer not to use stomach pumps. I do not claim to have all the answers on this topic or pretend to hold a moral high ground; I am just throwing out some things that have crossed my mind.

Obviously, step one in using a stomach pump is to first have a fish in the net. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to hook the fish, the pump will not be of much value unless you have a turkey cooking nearby. It definitely takes the guess work out of choosing a fly pattern once the contents of the pump are examined. Many like to call it a throat pump because the content taken is from the back of the throat as opposed to the stomach. This is one of its significant values since it is the food most recently ingested and organisms are often alive and discernible.

I have a few good friends that use stomach pumps and God bless them, they catch more than their share of fish, but after using this system a few times I began to think of the energy balance taught in biology. Its basic premise is that there is a certain amount of calories (energy) that must be taken in to maintain normal functions and that excess calories are used for reproduction and growth.
As I think of the sequence of events when using a pump I envision a fish that is hooked and immediately put on a ‘treadmill’ to try and escape. This fish is then landed and denied its most recent meal. Afterwards the fish is safely released, and depending on conditions, can take hours before returning to a regular feeding rhythm. It sounds like some crazy Hollywood diet. Trust me; I am not becoming a PETA advocate. It just seems if we want more of the ‘one that got away’ or that show up proudly in photo albums, we should let the trout ‘Super Size’ like the rest of us. (My two pennies)


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