Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tips for Catch-and-Release

Here's a 40 inch striper in the water about
to be turned around and released. Yes, the fish
did swim away and lives to fight another day.
Man, this has been a big week of fishing for my kids and me. We are fishing the same place as everyone else is fishing in southern New England (just check any report), and we caught big numbers of keepers there in the 20 to 40 lb. range in the past seven days.
We let everything go that we catch. So, we have gotten this catch-and-release down to a science. Here are some tips that have worked for us:
1. Get close to the water and use a Boga-type grip to land the fish.  I keep my attached to my belt so it is ready to go. That Boga allows you to keep the fish in the water for unhooking.  In addition, many of these grips have built in scales and measuring tapes, and you can either weigh it or measure the fish right on the spot, something a lot of guys like to do.
2. Unhook the  fish right in the water.  No need to take it out.  I have Van Staal pliers in a sheath with a lanyard around my belt to use for quick unhooking.
3.  If you are going to take a photo, have everything ready.  If I am using a camera, it is around my neck and ready to go.  The cell phone camera is in my pocket and set.  Take that quick photo or two right at the water's edge.
4. Get the fish released as quickly as possible.  In warmer water, you don't have much time for this to work.
5.  Don't just toss the fish back in as that causes many tired fish to belly up. Unfortunately, I saw too many dead fish float by me this week. I try to hold the fish by the tail and rock it back and forth to get oxygen in its gills.  The fish will pull from your hands and swim away.