View Full Version : stringers versus goodie bags
04-21-2003, 07:55 AM
Due to all the apparent shark activity recently, I thought this would be a good time to bring this up.
It seems that stringers are the preferred way to handle speared fish down here, but I am curious why goodie bags aren't more popular. I defintely prefer a bag, especially considering feeding behaviour of sharks. While the scent of a speared fish will bring sharks in, typically they have to visually cue in on a fish before the final chomp. Hence the precision of the stringer nabbing on the Blackthorn someone mentioned. I have heard many other similar stories where the shark strips an entire stringer without harming the diver (aside from scaring the hell out of them).
If the fish is in a (jumbo) goodie bag, it helps to camouflage the shape of the fish, and all it looks like is a big green square. From my limited observations, this helps to deter the shark from making a run and they end up just circling around trying to size up what smells so good.
While this will work for many of the average grouper, hogs, and snapper, it obviously won't work for the monster groupers and AJs. In any case, I thought I would throw it out there to see what people thought.
04-21-2003, 08:01 AM
In a nutshell, the stringer is easier to swim with. Bags are a ton of drag.
04-21-2003, 03:26 PM
Ditto that about drag, in a bag the fish is sideways to your swimming direction. Strung through the eyes even multiple big fish slide easily through the water.
Bags are also very difficult to load especially when the fish is still pretty green. Large pointed hoop stringers can be jammed through like a weapon, then opened and clipped down.
My personal take on shark attaration is vibration and fish blood are the biggest factors. Fish shape is much less significant.
Bags should be pretty much reserved for lobster.
Also those of you who would really like to up the safety level a notch, here's a little trick my friends Dave and Sheri in Boca Raton have developed: I call it the "Boca Fish Float" and have the technique on video. (They have really had bull shark problems over there the last 2.5 years, so they simply don't carry fish anymore.)
Take several "come-to-me" or "see-me" markers down with you on D-rings. The type that has an inflator valve and attach a brass clip that is relatively pointed when open. Kill the fish first with a stilletto or spearpoint and hook the clip through the fishes jaw. Blow one breath, a small amount of air into the float...just enough to start the fish heading up. Too much air will explode the bag on deep dives...a la Boyles Law. The captain just keeps a watch for the fish floats on the surface and scoops them up. It helps him know where you're headed too. He's already watching for lift bags anyway, (a good deco tool.) Very few of these fish ever get whacked on the way up and this also solves the drag issue. Obviously it won't work when anchored but I'd recommend you cut back on that type of diving if you have not already, so you can follow fish down current without consequences.
04-21-2003, 03:49 PM
Also Chad's suggestion is of particular use if you plan on incurring some hang time.I send my entire stringer up the anchor line if dead boat diving or free if drifting.A small closed lift bag with an OPV works great .I have a Carter and a sausage that I use.I dont like doing 20 minutes of deco with what amounts to a chumbag hanging off my ass.
04-21-2003, 07:06 PM
Plus sides to a bag:
When doing both bug huting and fishing a single bag can do double duty.
When diving in an area where the primary fish predators are sight feeders like Makos, triggers and 'cuda a canvas bag hides the fish and bugs causing the predators to go elsewhere for the lunch they smell.
A non-vented canvas bag makes a relativly effective "scent barrier" that shortens or reduces your blood trail.
A non-vented bag can be tied off to the anchor line or structure and used as a "fish drop" if the tax collectors, triggers or 'cuda re bing inquisitive
The drawbacks of a bag are:
They can hold the scent of "lunch" between dives, so the tax collector may be interested even if you are not hauling "lunch" at the moment. Clean used bags well on the beach, and take a clean one each dive. If all else fails wash both you and the bag with Dawn or Joy between the dives.
BTW Wetsuits and gloves can hold the scent of "lunch" quite well too. There is a good reason that those who "feed fish" and eels at tropical resorts do so barehanded. Skin doesn't hold the scent as well, and a quick hand scrub with bottom sand will usualy remove any residual traces.
Drag, somewhat covered above, although there are several techniques you can use to lessen the drag.
Some fish just won't FIT in the bag. A bag over about 3' long gets really ungainly under water. Wire opening bags (necessary to get the fish in easily) don't close well on fish bodies.
Addressing the "green fish" issue I'll simply say that there is NEVER a reason for a green fish to be either in your bag or on your stringer. CUT HIS THROAT! Do this even if the fish is "stoned!" 30 seconds later you no longer have a "green fish" and the meat will be much better eating. All the fish's blood will be in the blood ball where you cut it, with none left in the fish to follow you around and increase your blood trail length. Best of all the "stoned" fish won't suddenly "wake up" while strapped to you!
04-21-2003, 07:55 PM
I use the stringer. My attitude is that if it can fit in a bag, it's too small! You ever tried to stuff an 44" AJ into a bag?
04-21-2003, 08:57 PM
I carry both. Too many times I've run onto a stash of shovelnose lobster with just a stringer.
A guy I was spearing with put a few zip ties on his stringer, closed but not cinched down. Then, if he caught a lobser, he'd put the lobster tail in the zip tie, cinch it down, and then it would stay on his stringer. Never needed a bag.
04-22-2003, 05:22 PM
Good idea BobK,where can I find some 24" zip ties for NE Fla redneck lobsters .
04-22-2003, 05:27 PM
That idea is kick ass!!!!:D You gotta appreciate ingenuity induced by the love of fresh seafood.
04-24-2003, 01:18 AM
Used to use a stringer but sharks and cudas were a nuisance. Switched to a bag for reasons like you said, they smell it but cannot see it. I use the big black lobster bag with the mesh at the bottom, stringer is inside with fish on it in event I'm hunting and bugging at same time. Drag isn't a big deal with good fins. Occaisonal fish are too big to fit, tail sticks out but clipped to bc it stays closed and bugs at the bottom.
04-24-2003, 08:05 AM
Excellent idea on the zip-ties. I'm getting a funny visual of six lobsters on a stringer. Legs and tentacles all over the place like some kind of meat claw.
100days you can find big 'ole zip-ties at home depot near the electrical section, not cheap though.
04-24-2003, 08:15 AM
Those lobsters out there and exposed and squeaking and all might meake a nice (and visual) dinner bell for grouper and muttons. I can't help wonder, though, if you are going to get nicked up by the lobsters when that stringer rubs against you, especially if it is attached to your BC. Seems that it would be better to carry the stringer in your hand in that case.
You might try laying your stringered lobsters out in the open, moving off a distance and seeing what shows up. Hopefully, it wouldn't be a nurse shark that you would have to battle to get your lobsters back. :p
If you have a wetsuit on it'd probably be ok. With just a skin you might get a nick or two. OTOH, I'd like to have enough lobs strung up that it'd be a problem :)
04-24-2003, 04:09 PM
Those bugs usually don't make much noise after you ring em'.:D
04-24-2003, 10:12 PM
A bug making noise is a good thing if you like curious grouper.
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