This Article is About
fishing
many different reasons
game fish
gullet
hooks
scales
hook
Catch And Release Fishing: Safely Letting Your Catch Go
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Fisherman catch fish for many different reasons; sometimes they catch them to eat, sometimes they catch them to be mounted as trophies, and sometimes they catch them simply for the sport of it, content to hold them up for a quick photo and then gently guide them back into the water to grow big and to possibly be caught yet again.

Catching and releasing fish is important not only for practice, but for the fish themselves. Fish are caught, studied briefly and then released to insure the safety of the waters they live in and to make sure that the species is not endangered. Some fish are too small to be taken legally or are not the right breed and must be released. And some fish are just more trouble than they are really worth so they are generally released as well.

When using catch and release fishing, make sure that you follow a few basic guidelines to ensure that the fish will actually survive:

1. Use barb-less hooks whenever possible. The more you struggle to get a hook out of a fish’s gullet, the less likely he is to pull through.

2. Do not dally around getting the fish to the shore or onto the boat. The long struggle for life may exhaust a fish beyond the point of his survival.

3. Use a minimal set to your hook when you do snag him. If the fish completely swallows your hook, cut the line and let him go. He has a chance of surviving even with a hook in his belly, as long as it does not pierce anything vital.

4. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. If you can safely reach below the water line and pull the hook do so, but remember the key word here is “safely”. Do not attempt to do this with huge game fish.

5. Work quickly if you do have to take the fish out of the water and do not allow its scales to dry out. Touching a fish with your bare hand may damage not only these scales but his slimy protective coating as well, so minimal hands on is a good idea.

If the fish does not appear to be doing well, hold him gently under the water, moving him slowly back and forth to force oxygen into his gills. A fish can be revived even after appearing lifeless for quite a while. Do not be shocked if a fish that you were sure was dead does not suddenly wriggle into action and swim away on his own.

Releasing fish ensures that the food chain will stay strong in that fishing spot and keep the species growing strong. Others will want to fish there, as will you in the future, so make sure that it a possibility.


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