I hear it all the time when I’m either launching or loading my boat and other anglers are at the dock. I ask how they did and they say “I caught nothing but trash fish”, or “nothing was biting but the Gar, Pickerel, and Mudfish”. Is there really such thing as a trash fish? Is it so hard to enjoy catching one.
I get it if you’re in a tournament and need to catch a certain fish, that a gar is not going to be a welcomed fish in the boat. I get it if you’re fishing for a nice sized flounder or some trout for dinner, you don’t want to catch a stingray or shark. I however, besides tournament days, love to catch any fish that will bite my bait. Actually even on tournament days, if I catch a cool fish, I will take a few seconds for a good photo op. This is because, and maybe its just me, there is no such thing as a trash fish.
I love fishing for Gar, and although I don’t often target them, I also love hooking into a feisty Pickerel or Bowfin. Why? Because they are mean. They put on an amazing fight, and because sometimes when you can’t get your targeted species to bite, these guys are eager to.
I get asked all the time why I like fishing for Gar when I don’t even eat them. I go fishing to catch, get this, fish. I would say 99 percent of the fish I catch I don’t take home to eat no matter the species. People pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to travel and fish for fish that you can’t even lift into the boat let alone take home for dinner. So why do we look down on other fish just because they might not be the best table fare.
Any given day, in the brackish waters I fish in, I could catch any number of both fresh and salt water fish. A bass is trash to a speckled trout fisherman. A redfish is trash to the tournament bass angler. If by any chance though, the fish are reading this, you are all welcome in my boat any day.