The Handling and Release of Fish
By Joseph Parish
Fishing has developed into an important activity within the state of Delaware. Not only does this activity provides recreational benefits to the occasional fisher but also provides input to the local economy, as food for the recreational angler and as a commercial based food for consumer marketplaces. As for us survivalists it instills a skill that could be used in the event of an infrastructure breakdown. Fish are popular as an excellent source of protein while being low in fat and sodium.
The catch and release programs established by the various states can do much towards promoting the skills of the survivalist. In addition, these programs can offer an effective means to conserve fish. Some states have even made it mandatory to release certain species if their research has been indicating that the fish is endangered or its numbers are exceptionally low. In either case whether it is mandatory or voluntary certain care should be exercised in order to maximize the fish’s chance for survival.
Long fights between the fisherman and his catch result in the development of increased levels of lactic acid in the fishes muscular tissues. As such it important that your equipment be of such design as to closely match the size of the fish you are after. This will minimize these negative effects. Once you have successfully landed your catch try to minimize the amount of time which the fish spends outside of the water. Avoid touching the captured fish’s gills.
An unresponsive fish most often can be revived by forcing a flow of water across its gills. To accomplished this move the fish back and forth as soon as possible in the water. Slime Loss is another hazard of the captured fish. The slime coating found on the surface of the fish helps to seal out various infections. Rough handling of your fish often damages this protective coating placing the fish’s life in jeopardy. By the use of shallow landing nets you can frequently reduce this slime loss greatly. Always handle your fish with some kind of wet towel or damp hands. Rubber gloves are an excellent means of handling them. Exercise extreme care to prevent the fish from obtaining wounds or losing slime by flopping around.
We can do a lot towards minimizing the damage to fish as a result of hook wounds. Certain tools are useful in this case, such as needle-nose pliers or de-hookers. These allow a quick release with minimum damage from hooks. Always avoid treble hooks when you plan to release your catch back into the water. In the event that your fish swallows the hook you should cut the line slightly above hook eye. Some fish may pass hooks through their system when a small section of leader is still attached. Research shows that barbless or circle hooks tend to minimize the wounds experienced by the fish.
I look at the states catch and release programs as an investment in the future just in case I need to support my family from my fishing skills. The program not only ensures that I will find a readily available source of marine wildlife in my favorite fishing hole but allows me to perfect my skills just in case.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish