Catch & Release 101
Reeling in the bite is as exciting as pie. Landing the fish, even better. A fish in the hands or in the boat is the one that "counts" right! And hey, it didn't happen unless there was a picture, so you have to do that too, um #fishselfies.
But...how many pictures can you take before it harms the fish? Lets take a look at some quick pro tips for catching and releasing to do the least amount of damage to our aquatic buddies. If you plan to keep the fish and return it later, i.e. tournament fishing, that's another post, these are just some basics.
- Take the lure out. If you run into difficulty taking the lure out, avoid twisting and yanking them. Needle-nose pliers work well to pry the hooks free without causing damage. If the hook is actually stuck in the throat of the Bass, just cut the line as close to the mouth as possible. If you try to remove it by prying, you’ll end up killing the fish.
- It’s important to remember that Bass have a protective coating of slime on their body. This protects them from diseases and infection. If you use a net, you’re probably going to rub the coating off which will subject the fish to a higher risk of infections and illnesses. If a net is a necessity, purchase one that is made of rubber to minimize the danger. If possible, don’t use one at all. This coating can also be damaged by your handling it, so try to have some water on your hands to minimize the damage.
- If you catch a Bass that weighs over 3 pounds, support his weight with both hands by holding his stomach - grasping a bass of this size by his lips may break his jaw.
- Take a deep breath. How long can you hold it? Thirty seconds is about the average for most humans. Now imagine you’re a fish. Along those lines, think of how long that fish can stay out of the water without oxygen. Try to limit the time a fish is exposed to the air and out of its natural environment.
- Try to release your fish gently head first into the water, which helps push water through the mouth and over the gills, and helps to resuscitate the fish. Revive exhausted fish by placing the fish in the water, facing the current if possible, with one hand underneath the belly and the other hand holding the bottom lip or tail.
Check out this Catch & Release video, by TakeMeFishing.org for more tips!