With the growing interest in Catch & Release, it is important to know the correct way to release fish to ensure its survival.
Difficulty Level: Easy Time Required: 5 Minutes
- Set your hook as soon as possible. This lowers the risk of the fish taking the hook deeply inside it.
- Play the fish as quickly as possible. Bring the fish to you as soon as you reasonably can. A long fight for the fish reduces its chances for survival.
- Leave the fish in the water. Photographs are great to have, but if you really want to practice C & R, it is best to try to photograph the fish while in the water.
- If you must remove the fish from the water, cradle it gently in the palm of your hands. Make sure your hands are wet and not dry.
- Try to avoid overhandling the fish. It is best to not touch the fish.
- Use needle nose pliars to pull the hook back from where the point of the hook entered the fish.
- If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line. Most hooks will disolve in a short time and the wound will heal naturally.
- Release the fish into calm water. If necessary, cradle it for a few moments while gently moving it back and forth to help it gain oxygen.
- If the fish is bleeding from its gills, it is probably best to kill it humanely. It is not likely to survive anyhow.
- Barbless hooks increase the ease of removal after the fish has been hooked.
- Refrain from using stainless steel hooks. They will not dissolve as fast as regular hooks should you need to cut the line and leave the hook inside the fish.
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