The optimal terminal gear in hook-and-line recreational fishing maximizes landing rates and minimizes injury to the fish because some fish will be released after capture. We designed a novel rig configuration in artificial lure fishing for top predators and examin edits effectiveness in angling for Baltic northern pike (Esox lucius ) using a citizen science approach based on observational data collected from volunteer anglers in the field. The novel rig included two changes to traditional rig designs common to artificial lure angling. First, the hooks were mounted in a way that eliminates lever-arm effects from the lure to the hooks once a fish is hooked. Second, the hook sizes used on the novel rig were 4-5 hook sizes smaller than on traditional lures. We analysed observational data collected by volunteer anglers using either the novel rig or a standard rig mount in two types of artificial lures (softbait and hardbait) of the same size (about 17 cm). Using N = 768 pike contacts as input data, we show the landing rates of pike targeted with artificial lures significantly and substantially increased from 45 % with normal-rigs to 85 % when the same lure types were fished with the novel rig configuration. Lure type and water temperature had no effects on landing rates. Moreover, hardbaits on normal-rigs produced significantly more injury, bleeding and elevated unhooking time compared to fish captured on hardbaits with release-rigs. We conclude that simple changes to traditional hook mounts in lure fishing may benefit both anglers and the fishes that are to be released and that citizen science projects with volunteer anglers are able to provide good data in proof of-concept studies. Further experimental study is needed to differentiate hook size from hook mount effects because both variables were confounded in the results of the observational data presented here.
Citizen science data suggest a novel rig improves landing rate and reduces injury and handling time in recreational angling with artificial lures in Baltic pike (Esox lucius)
Bursell, J. J., Arlinghaus, R. (2018). Citizen science data suggest a novel rig improves landing rate and reduces injury and handling time in recreational angling with artificial lures in Baltic pike (Esox lucius). PeerJ, (Preprint)
Erschienen in: PeerJ, (Preprint)