As you may already know from reading some of my previous blog posts, I am a conservationist in the outdoors. I am a catch and release only angler and I feel strongly about conserving our waters and the fish that live in them. An important part of conserving our fish is the handling/care.
Many times I have watched anglers catch a fish, put their fingers through the gills for a photo, remove the hook from it’s lip, and put the fish back in the water and are surprised that the fish didn’t sim away- rather, it floated to the top of the water because fish don’t breathe air….
An important tip when handling a fish is to try to keep it in the water as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong- fish can be outside of the water and sill be alright. But if you are planning on taking a photo or just want to admire the fish, keeping its gills in the water really aids in the fish’s health. The entire fish doesn’t have to necessarily be under water, but the front bottom of the gills should stay under water if at all possible.
Another tip, especially when handling bass (I mean come on, I am from Texas) is to not bend a bass’s jaw back. Many people don’t know that when holding a bass by its lip, if you cock the lip back to where it bends, you’re potentially breaking that fish’s jaw. Rather than bending the lip back, if you just grab the lip and tint your wrist, it is helping that fish to stay healthy!
These are just a few tips that I wanted to share with any fellow angler that wants to keep fish as healthy as possible. Being able to see and hold a fish for just a few seconds means so much to me and so if even one person benefits from this, it makes it totally worth it to me!