When You Want To Release The Fish Unharmed
HOW TO RELEASE FISH UNHARMED:
1. Use barbless hooks which slip out more easily.
A FEW SPECIES-SPECIFIC TIPS:
2. Don't play the fish to the brink of exhaustion.
3. Avoid taking fish out of the water; zero nets are preferable; handle with wet hands, and don't squeeze.
4. To counteract the stress in the "catching," take time with the releasing. Move fish gently back and forth in the water, pushing water past gills, until the fish takes off on its own volition. Don't just give it a grand toss back into the water.
5. Be ready with the camera, pre-plan the shots you'd like, and take your photographs quickly.
6. If hooked in the throat or further down, simply cut the line.
Don't over-bend the lip of a bass.
"Needle Deflation of Largemouth Bass" pamphlet (for deep fish's air bladder) is free from California Dept. of Fish and Game, Attn: Dennis R. Lee, 1701 Nimbus Rd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, (916)653-0842.
A 40% increase in survival has been recorded for deep-water walleye if they are properly live-welled and "fizzed" (the air bladder fizzes when punctured). In one tournament, 98.6% survived.
Don't grab pike by eye-sockets. Keep them in water, cut the line if hook won't roll out. If you have to grab a pike, get a grip on the underside gill plate, trying not to damage it.
Originally published in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming Top 45 Fishing Waters
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