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Catch and Release

Handling your fish!

Catch and Release...Please!


Catch me Kiss Me and Let me Go

by Terri Mackinnon



Before you decide to go out fishing there are a couple things that you should be discussing with your children. Many fish are left on shorelines, by garbage cans or just simply thrown away after a day on the water fishing. It is best to explain that if you are not going to bring them back home to eat, then let them go for another day.

I'm sure that their intentions prior to bringing them back to shore was good however, it is far too common and we all need to make a conscious effort to not allow it to happen.

I believe we can ask a couple questions that may prevent some of the waste.

1. Are you or your family going to eat your catch? Are you able to clean your fish?

2. Have you purchased your licenses?

3. Do you know your regulations on the water? What the daily limits and sizes of fish and species that you are allowed to remove legally?

4. Are you able to identify your fish? I've seen many fish brought to shore because they had know idea what kind of fish they had.

There really is no other reason not to practice Catch and Release outside of consumption.

There are taxidermists that can reproduce that trophy fish that you caught. Take a photo, quickly take some measurements (Length and Girth) and let it go. The taxidermist can now make you a perfect replica for your wall. Any you can now go back next year to try and catch it again.

Some things you should remember.

  • Keep the fish out of water for minimal time

  • Try and avoid touching the fish too much to remove its protective slime coating

  • Try to keep the fish calm. The least amount of jumping around in the boat or hitting up against the shoreline will allow for it to be released with greater success.

  • Never tear out hooks from your fish, if they are embedded and not easily removed cut your line. Hooks will rust out or dissolve without the fish being harmed.

  • Use the "Don't keep a fish out of water longer than you can hold your breath theory." It allows you time to actually hold up a fish, take a picture and then release it back into the water. Try it!

  • Some fish have sharp teeth like walleye or pike. These fish are best being held across the back of the head, with fingers and thumb holding the gill plates closed. Watch for the gills they have sharp edges. Some fish like bass really have small teeth that don't hurt so you can actually hold its lower lip between your thumb and index finger. (It actually paralyses the fish temporarily.) This method of holding the fish is my favorite technique and it took me the longest to want to try. It feels like sand paper on its tongue, once you do it you will know the power it give you to hold up your fish like the professionals. Lip Your Fish!

Then Give him a little kiss and let him go!

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