As I had said before, Catfish practices ‘catch and release’ on many if not all of his fishing expeditions. A lot of other fishermen and women do the same. Some waters are strictly managed as ‘Catch and Release’. Other reasons to release include size limits, creel limits, and closed season. It has become a popular and preferred method so that the fish may survive to grow larger, reproduce and then be caught again.
The number of fish that survive depends on several factors including length of fight, where the fish is hooked, water temperature, and how the fish is handled and released. Here are recommended guidelines for fish survival.
- Use barbless hooks.
- Play fish quickly. Try to land your fish as quickly as possible and don’t play the fish to exhaustion.
- Use a landing net.
- Keep the fish in the water. The longer it is out of the water, the more chance for injury.
- Wet your hands, your net and other materials that may come in contact with the fish.
- Hold the fish upside down while removing the hook. this often reduces handling time and pacifies the fish.
- Remove hook quickly. Hemostats or long-nose pliers are essential for quick hook removal.
- Cut the line when it is not possible to remove the hook without hurting the fish.
- Don’t touch the gills. Do not handle the fish by placing your fingers in the gill slits.
- Hold the fish upright underwater after hook removal and allow it to swim away under its own power. If necessary, hold the fish out of the current until it revives.
- Fish that are bleeding from the mouth or gills due to hook removal do not survive after being released back into the water. Anglers may be charged with violating the law by failing to immediately release the fish unharmed. If regulations permit, the angler should keep the fish and have it count toward their daily limit.
Keep your fork