It started several years ago, back in the days when Facebook was transitioning from a college student message board to general public communication. During this time, a ton of fish photos began to populate my news feed. A lot of those photos came from local waters that I personally knew and loved, and often the fish pictured were undergoing some pretty rough handling. It wasn't uncommon to see fish photographed up on the bank, laying in dry grass, leaves, or rocks. A few hung from their gill plates in classic harvest pose. Some such images had comments about catch & release regulations specific to the area, to which the angler would reply something like, "Relax, it's all good. I released that fish!"
Over time nearly every angler packed a camera phone, and the "hero shot" profile photo became standard angler protocol. I simply couldn't help but wonder what impact social media and camera phones were having on all kinds of fish that were caught, photographed and then released. It bothered me. A lot.