How big is to big?
Same with walleyes during the run: I know of guys who target the big females because they have most meet per fish or "per limit".
The average fisherman who occasionally stumbles into a big fish or two aren't nearly the problem that knowledgeable,skilled and greedy fishermen are.
Somebody kept a couple big bluegills while shorefishing?...if there's any number of those big 'gills in there,chances are good that someone's figured out how to fill a limit with them. Repeatedly....I know I've stumbled on a patterns over the years where it's nothing but the biggest fish...and I'll tell ya that I didn't share that information...and if I kept any I certainly wouldn't have let a random stranger see them in my bucket or on a stringer or - God forbid - open my livewell to show off.
Had he been keeping 5" bluegills would you have objected - even if only privately to friends or on Lake-Link. Be honest.
I've seen that complaint on here every year..."I saw a guy keeping a limit of 5" or so 'gills. Nobody NEEDS to keep those little ones. Please guys,let'em grow..."...and now we're seeing more and more "I saw a guy keeping 10" bluegills for FOOD. Geez. Nobody NEEDS to do that..."
Fact is,nobody NEEDS to keep ANY fish. And since there is incidental mortality to C&R fish - especially those caught with natural baits like panfish typically are - it would be best for the species of we didn't molest them at all. Some honestly believe C&R fishing is immoral. It is torturing animals for our own sick enjoyment only to release them to catch again.
Yes,selective harvest is better than "total" harvest of everything we catch...but I've also learned that I really don't have the right to question any particular individual's choices regarding LEGAL harvest.