Are you completing the catch and release challenge and looking for some tips and tricks on how to do this properly? It is important when handling the fish we catch that we treat them with the upmost of care in order for them to survive when released back into the water. If we do it properly, and follow the tips below, the fish we catch will be able to swim off and breed for future generations to catch.
Some fish handling tips
1. SLIME: Most fish have a protective slime that we need to look out for, which aids in healing wounds and keeping their skin in top condition. When handling fish, we always want to use a damp rag to avoid whipping this slime off.
2. SUPPORT WEIGHT: Other fish, in particular our larger bodied fish like Flathead, Murray Cod and Mulloway, need their weight supported properly to ensure we don’t break any tissue or muscle in their body and neck. When handling fish, it is important we use TWO hands; one under the stomach, and one in the mouth or under the gills.
3. TIME OUR OF WATER: We all want to grab a photo of our catch, but when doing so, a rule of thumb is to only keep the fish out of the water for as long as you can hold your breath (60 seconds is a good guide). If in doubt, place the fish back into the net and into the water while you prepare your camera or admire the catch.
4. HOOKS: When de-hooking your fish, don’t yank or pull at the hooks too hard. Simply turn the hook the opposite way it entered into the fish, with the help of pliers. If in doubt, cut the line at the knot – the hook will rust out within a couple of days.
Check out these big OzFishers correctly handling their catch
For a full run-down on how to properly handle fish, watch the following video.
Want to learn more? Here’s a handy guide!
A guide to correct fish handling
With more and more anglers jumping on the catch and release bandwagon, it’s important that we, as fishers, are treating these fish with a level of care to ensure they have the best chance of survival post-release.