It was once a widely held belief that angling had little or no effect on fish populations.
Today we realize that our fishing resources have been seriously depleted. Even our
seemingly limitless ocean reserves have proven to be vulnerable to over fishing.
Practice catch, photograph and release when possible to preserve our fishing future.
Catch & Release Guidelines:
These guidelines are generic but remembering them will give all species of fish a greater chance of
survival. A fish is too valuable to be caught and enjoyed only once, be responsible.
Use barbless hooks or circle hooks (especially when bait fishing, see circle hook article), or pinch
the barb flat with pliers. If you use a net, use one made of cotton mesh or rubber. It is less harmful
to fish scales, gills and eyes. Only net your fish if it is the only way to control it.
Wet your hands when handling fish. Dry hands and gloves will remove its protective mucous (slime)
coating and scales. These protective layers help prevent infection by waterborne disease. Do not
beach a fish or let it flop around the deck of the boat.
Try not to remove the fish from the water. If you must, be quick and gentle, do not squeeze the fish.
Do not hold the fish near the gills or eyes (Pike, Muskie, Snook, etc.) Needle nose pliers,
hemostats, de-hookers etc., will speed up the removal of a deep set hook.
To revive the fish, hold it under the belly and by the tail, keep it in an upright position underwater,
do not move the fish back and forth** (this is also a good time to get a measurement and take a
photo). If you are fishing in a river or stream, hold the fish facing the current. Be patient and give
the fish as much time as it needs to recover and swim away on its own.
The most important survival factors are:
Line test - Always use the heaviest line possible for each species of fish. Again: the longer you fight
a fish, the more lactic acid is built up, the more exhausted it becomes, the greater the chance it will
not survive. This is particularly true when fishing large saltwater species such as billfish.
Hook Location - It would be ideal if all fish were hooked in either the upper or lower lip,
unfortunately, this is not always the case. When fishing with small lures or live bait the chance for
hooking a fish deep in the gullet or in the gills is very high. Try to back the hook out the way it went
in. Never pull on the line when the hook is lodged deep in the gullet. Cutting the line and returning
the fish to the water as quickly as possible will give it its greatest chance for survival. The longer a
fish is out of water and the more you practice your surgical techniques, the less the fish has a
chance to live.
Depth - When fishing depths of 30 feet or greater, you should bring a fish up slowly to the boat.
This sometimes allows the fish to decompress (adjust to the change in water pressure). Pause
while reeling the fish in and allow the air or gas from the fishes swim bladder to rise to the surface.
See our attached news on “How to Deflate a Fish”.
Water Temperature - Playing a fish for an extended period of time in warm water increases its
chance of dying. When the water temperature is high fish tire much more rapidly due to the
increase of lactic acid that builds in their system. When fishing warm water get the fish to you as
soon as possible, use a heavier line test than usual.
* We have revised the above guidelines according to suggestions made by our Catch & Release
Task Force below.
** There is a currently difference in opinion amongst the experts about whether or not to move the
fish back and forth when reviving. We will keep you posted with any statistical information as it
The Catch & Release Task Force:
Paul Carpenter -- President, Catch & Release Foundation, Task Force Director
Vin Sparano -- Editor emeritus/Sr. Field Editor Outdoor Life, Board of Directors CRF
Jamie Epranian -- VP Conservation Sciences,Catch & Release Foundation
Doug Hannon -- "The Base Professor"
Glenn Lau -- Marine Specialist
Albia Dugger -- Sr. Editor Spotfishing Magazine, Fisheries Biologist
Duncan Barnes -- Editor, Field & Stream
Terry McDonnell -- Publisher, Editor & Chief , Sports Afield Magazine
Joan Salvato Wulff -- Writer, Lecturer, Wulff School of Flyfishing
Jerry Gibbs --Field Editor Outdoor Life
Mark Sosin -- Catch & Release Specialist
Michael Nussman & The American Sportfishing Association
Rip Cunningham -- Editor, Salt Water Sportsman
Jimmy Houston -- Fishing Professional, Jimmy Houston Outdoors
Tom Baudanza -- Marine Recreational Specialist, Virginia Sea Grant
Steve Pennaz -- Editor, North American Fisherman
Special Thanks to The Catch and Release Foundation
|Copyright© 2006 BobberStop.com
|"People who fish for food, and
sport be damned, are called
pot-fishermen. The more expert
ones are called crack
pot-fishermen. All other fishermen
are called crackpot fishermen.
This is confusing."Ed Zern