How To:

Properly Hold A Fish You Plan To Release

Author: Ryan Carson

Catch and Release Pictures For Striped Bass

Almost daily we all see a picture of a fish being held that makes us cringe. A striper covered in dry sand or a 40 lber being held vertically. These two things are very damaging for the fish and lower the chance for survival. This isn’t meant to be towards anyone in particular but just simply trying to teach those who may not know any better.

If you catch a striper especially a larger one here are some tips if you are looking to take a quick picture while holding it out of the water.

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The Fish in the picture below is a great example of how to hold a striper. Angler is John Hudler who caught the fish on a Scabellys Plug which John made himself. John is the owner and creator of Scabellys plugs. Scabellys plugs are the official plugs for Carson’s Charters LLC. They can be purchased at numerous tackle shops and you can join his Facebook page if you search Team Scabellys Plugs.

Landing the fish: Ideally if you can lift the fish directly out of the water if that’s not possible keep it on wet sand. By bringing the fish up along dry sand you are taking the slime coat off of the fish and dragging it across dry sand is similar to dragging it across sand paper. Always remember to keep them in the water or on wet sand.

Picking the fish up: When lifting the fish up from the water or wet sand you want to support the head and the stomach. This is especially important for larger fish. To put it in perspective imagine if someone lifted you by your lower jaw. There is a good chance that all the muscles in your jaw would rip. This goes the same for stripers. If you lift a decent size striper by just the lower jaw you are putting it at risk of tearing its muscles. Lifting a striper by its mouth and stomach at the same time keeping the fish parallel to the ground is the best way to have someone take a picture of you holding the fish.

Releasing the fish: (Remember try to limit the fish out of the water to 30 seconds max.) Once you have unhooked the fish and got your picture and go to release the fish don’t just toss the fish in. Lower the fish into the water the same way you were holding it with both hands. Once lowered into the water don’t just let go of the fish. Take the time to revive the fish. At this point the fish is tired and was out of the water unable to breathe. To revive the fish hold the fish’s tail with a loose grip and a hand under the stomach if you can. Slowly move the fish forward and back to get water flowing through the gills. There is no specific amount of time it will take to revive a fish. The fish will let you know when it’s ready by swimming away from you at that point let go of your loose grip of the tail and start fishing for your next one.

Here is another example with Doug Lyons. He also caught his fish on a Scabellys Plug. 

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