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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the place for such a discusion. I personally feel just because your hand or a finger is inside the gill plate, especially on larger fish, does not mean you have mishandled a fish. It also does not mean you touched the gills. I have done this, worried I would drop the fish and cause it more harm hitting rocks etc if it slipped out. I also feel if you do not have a "handle" you would have to squeeze them pretty hard and may cause damage.

Case in point-

http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots/detailed.php?id=3

I was so worried about this fish, I lifted it out of the water, snapped the picture and was gone within 30 seconds. I was so worried about this fish that if I would of put a tape to it, I would have the state catch and release record for splake, but when the time came, that was obviously the last thing on my mind. The guy that took the picture, whom I never had met, screamed "WAIT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING", by that time the fish was gone for someone to catch another day. I would bet my life that the fish is alive and healthy. Just my .002.
 

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I agree Hogan... I think fish are a bit hardier than we like to give them credit for.... that and some people will nitpick you to death if you aren't doing things just the way they think it should be done. The picture from the Minersville report is an example of that. If the guy put the fish back in the hole and it swam off, good enough... leave it at that. Its not like the fish was ripped to shreds with huge bloodstains running down the side and gobs of congealing blood hanging off the pec fins. Somebody got on Orvis1's case this year too about a tiger.... had a little dirt on it, might have been skidded up on the beach or whatever... and it swam off. People gave him such a ration of shiz about that and it was a crock. If I were him, the next picture would have been filets of that thing in the pan... but he apparently washed it off and released it. If it swam away... good enough. Seriously... :roll:
 

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I don't know if there is a clear cut line on how to handle a fish. Just be as careful as possible with it. I'm like you, sometimes it is easier to get them through the gill plate then other methods. If you have one of those rubber non-tangle nets I think that is the best way to increase their mortality rates but other then that I think everything is 6's. I think one of the main keys is getting them back in the water as quick as possible. It also depends on the species your catching. A white bass, bluegill and crappie are handled by wrapping your hand around there back and belly. Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I also think volentary release and mandatory release comes into play. The splake I let go was volentary, holding it that way never raised a brow, but a mandatory release pic had better be good. It is agreed that no matter what, if you are going to release a fish be as gentle as possible, I try to be but know I can always do better.
 

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Good comments, for a non-fisherman, lucky one day outa the year guy !! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
I try not to even take the fish out of the water, when I can get away with it. I hate taking pic's by myself...if someone is close by, then that's fine, still gotta hurry...
And....your holding that fish all wrong HOGAN !! That should be above your fireplace !!!
 

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The best way to handle fish is to buy a good rubber long and shallow net and when you take to hook out of its mouth dont even take the fish out of the water. Most of the time as soon as the fish is netted and has slack line the barbless hook comes out. If you have to handle the fish keep him in the net and in the water. I know alot of guys want pictures of there fish and sometimes we just need that picture but if you just hold the fish under the tail and just behind the head (hands on the bottom of the fish) and lift him up with both hands and keep him even it wont hurt them. Its when you hold them up by the lips, gills etc and let them hang it does do damage and could possible kill the fish later.

Of course just my 2 cents.

Oh by the way this doesnt work for ice fishing because its like fishing out of you toilet.
 

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Great topic and good information. I feel that as fisherman we have a duty to the fish to treat it with as much respect as we can. Whether we plan to keep it or not.
There's a line in the movie " A River Runs Though It." Where the narrator (Robert Redford) says " Our father always taught us, Whoever does not know how to catch a fish should not disgrace a fish by catching it."
I think everyone will have there own thoughts and ways of handling fish. I would hope that everyone(myself included) wouldn't be so prideful as to not take some friendly advice on how to handle a fish.
 

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Good thread Hogan. I have often considered another twist of your line of thinking, that is landing nets vs hand landing. The knock on landing nets is that they remove too much protective slime. But I wonder which is more harmful to the fish, loosing some slime in a net or getting squeezed hard enough to hang on to by hand.
 

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Campfire you have a point. I think the old fashioned nets with pretty much the strings probably do more harm then good. The rubber nets don't allow the fish to get tangled up. I've seen lots of times where the old nets put a lot of wear and tear on their gill plates and their lips and stuff plus it's always a major headache getting your hooks and the fish untangled in them. THe rubber nets are the way to go, I think. I don't think much slime gets lost in net, I think more gets lost by touching it.. Just my take
 

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I have tried on the rivers not to handle the fish at all other than a quick picture. Wet your hands snap the photo and off they swim. For the smaller ones I just grab the fly with my forcepts and never handle the fish. When I fish on the lakes with hardware I have a leatherman tool and a rubber long handled net. I bring the fish to the net and use the pliers to release the hook from the fish. Once again if you would like a pic wet your hands and return the fish. We all can only get better with practice and have to make a few mistakes before learning. Like holman said everyone could get better with a bit of constructive criticism.
 

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Well Hogan, I'll just say that I believe there was a better way for you to hold that fish. That being said, I also believe it probably swam off and lived to fight another day. I think the fact that you took control of the fish and got it back in the water quickly goes a long way in decreasing the chance of killing it, but quick release coupled with better handling is what we should all strive for. Larger fish like that can be grasped between the tail and adipose fin with one hand while being lifted under the belly with the other hand to control the fish without touching the gills like this:



As far as nets go, I don't use them on streams and rivers because I am comfortable with my ability to control and quickly release trout without one, but that came with experience. On stillwater I use a long handled net with a soft mesh bag because it makes it easier landing them from the pontoon. If someone feels they are doing a better release on a fish by netting it, then they should keep using the net. It is a personal preference thing. And that is all I have to say about that.
 

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ScottyP said:
Well Hogan, I'll just say that I believe there was a better way for you to hold that fish. That being said, I also believe it probably swam off and lived to fight another day. I think the fact that you took control of the fish and got it back in the water quickly goes a long way in decreasing the chance of killing it, but quick release coupled with better handling is what we should all strive for. Larger fish like that can be grasped between the tail and adipose fin with one hand while being lifted under the belly with the other hand to control the fish without touching the gills like this:



As far as nets go, I don't use them on streams and rivers because I am comfortable with my ability to control and quickly release trout without one, but that came with experience. On stillwater I use a long handled net with a soft mesh bag because it makes it easier landing them from the pontoon. If someone feels they are doing a better release on a fish by netting it, then they should keep using the net. It is a personal preference thing. And that is all I have to say about that.
So what do you call that net in that picture? :wink: :D I guess I am assuming that is you! Oh boy, you know what happens when you assume. :wink: :mrgreen: :oops: A fish that size would have to be very exhausted to be held like that IMO. If they had any juice left they would flip right out of your hands especially how slippery they are. My point being the fish is already so exhausted most of the damage is already done, so a placement of the hand isn't as big of a deal. Now if you can get away with a hold like that, then you should definitely try to use it. Man some of you guys and gals catch some hogs. :mrgreen: Like most have already said try to do your best to not hurt the fish if you are going to release it; which I assume most on the forums already do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Scotty, I will try that. The only net I have is a cloth type. Rubber sounds more logical though. I bought the cloth because I thought it may be better for the fish. My jig gets tangled in it everytime and it almost takes as much time to get the jig out as it does to catch and release the fish. I know there is always a better way, the way I have been doing it is how I have felt most comfortable. It just seems you have to fight the fish and wait until he is exhausted before handling that way, but maybe not. Good points.
 

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I wish that was me. Most of the fish I catch I can easily handle with one hand. I googled that pic for a visual aid. Again, that is NOT ME.
 
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