Fishing has now changed from a means of livelihood to a sport that many people enjoy. In the modern world, fishing is a very good pastime that generates a lot of fun. The sport, however, might die out if nothing is done to maintain a good population of fish in lakes, rivers, and streams.
Since the world is now facing the threat of fish depletion, many anglers have adopted the technique of “catch and release” fishing. Unfortunately, many anglers do not know the technique very well and, consequently, the fish die.
You should take care when you are catching and releasing fish. With a little practise, you will learn the methods of doing it effectively. You can then not only enjoy your hobby, but also maintain a decent population of fish in your local lake or stream.
Extract the Hook Carefully
Start with the hooks. If the fish you have caught is pierced through its mouth, it has a larger chance of survival that a fish that is pierced through its gills. If you have hooked a fish in its guts, cutting off the hook before releasing the fish is the the best thing you can. The fish can then spit out the hook after it dissolves. Sometimes, the fish can continue living comfortably even if it has a rusted hook inside its body.
Remember not to tug on the line or pull the hook out of the fish because this can hurt the fish badly. If you feel you can remove the hook easily, do it with a pair of needle nose pliers. You can extract the hook easily if you separate the barbs from the hooks. Remember not to wiggle the hook as you pull it out.
Grip the Fish Correctly
The way you grip a fish that is out of water makes a whale of a difference. Don’t touch a fish with bare hands because the fish has a slippery protective coat around it, which will strip off if you touch it with bare hands. If you must touch a fish, touch it with wet hands. Wearing gloves when you handle fish is the best thing you can do. Gloves not only give you ample protection from cuts and scratches, but also prevent your hands from getting that strong odour of fish.
Keep the Fight Small
The fight that a fish puts up is the greatest source of fun to anglers. Some anglers wait for this almost all day. However, this fight can kill the fish.
Fish are similar to human beings in that they produce a lot of lactic acid during times of physical stress and strain. Just as a human being feels sore all over after a heavy work out, a fish also feels sore after a fight.
The excess quantity of lactic acid in the body of a fish can cause its death even days after its release. If you are trying out the technique of “catch and release,” ensure that you minimize the struggle as much as possible.
Release a Fish Quickly
Needless to say, fish cannot survive outside water. It will die if you take too long to release it back into the water.
Don’t permit a fish that you have caught to flop around. Flopping around damages the internal organs of a fish, and even if it is released into the water, it can die of injuries.
Revive the Fish
If necessary, you can revive fishes that have passed out. A fish can pass out due to lack of oxygen. To revive it, place it into the water with its belly facing down. Gently grip its tail and move it gently back and forth till it gives you a sign that it has recovered. If necessary, you will have to repeat the procedure.
Remember not to release a fish unless it is ready to swim on its own. A fish that has not yet fully recovered can be swept away by the current and dashed into the rocks.
See that you have all your fishing equipment, including camera, gloves, and pliers ready if you intend to practise the technique of “catch and release.” America’s most favorite hobby is fishing, and you cannot enjoy it if there are no fish. So save the fish and save the hobby too.