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#12097776 - 06/18/17 Handling of fish  
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1OntarioJim Online content
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1OntarioJim  Online Content
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N. Shore, L. Ontario
Lately in watching outdoor shows on tv I notice the majority of anglers handle their fish before releasing them. A few years ago there was all kinds of commentary to the effect that this shouldn't be done as it was supposedly harmful to the fish. What changed? I am seriously curious. Does anyone have any ideas?

Jim

P.S. I am referring to handling the sides of fish where supposedly a protective coating was going to be removed if fish were handled in this way.

Last edited by 1OntarioJim; 06/18/17. Reason: to clarify the inquiry
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#12097859 - 06/18/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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Valsdad Offline
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1Ontario,

At least up until recently, ( a couple of years ago), best practice was said to be - use wet hands if you need to handle fish to remove hook . Best to try to shake them loose, use hemostats or pliers to remove hook without lifting fish from water if you can.

We used to use wet cheap cotton gloves for spawning fish, allowed for some grip without removing too much slime. Mostly just used wet hands. Avoid squeezing!!! It's a natural reaction if you're handling one and it starts to slip or wriggle away.

Some researchers even try to avoid holding the fish vertically when it's out of the water, their innards aren't designed that way.

Any time the fishes slime is removed/compromised there is a chance of infection. Look at it this way, they are basically swimming in a bacterial broth (as WC Fields used to say "fish function in it) , their friends and enemies are constantly sloughing off slime and skin along with whatever "bugs" they happen to have (the reason for the slime in the first place), and parasites are always looking for a place to attach.

Some states (WA/OR/CA ?) even have regulations about not removing from the water fish that can't be taken. Wardens have been known to watch with binocs to see if folks are lifting coho out of the water at the boat. Could be the same for sturgeon now too.

If you're not going to keep the fish, probably best to try to leave it in the water. Lifting a largemouth by the lips might not be too problematic if the hooks are stuck good, try to keep the fish as horizontal as possible and get it back in the water as quickly as possible.

Good luck fishing (and releasing)

Geno


The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men.
In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
(Quoted from "The Bleeding of the Stone" Ibrahim Al-Koni)

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#12098620 - 06/19/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: Valsdad]  
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1OntarioJim Online content
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Thanks, your explanation is pretty much as I understood the situation. This suggests that many of the so called fishing pros either don't know this or just choose to ignore it.

Jim

#12099096 - 06/19/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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Valsdad Offline
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1Ontario,

Well, if it's any consolation (I think not) I've seen a few professionals in the fish field (hatcheries, researchers) push the boundaries of good fish handling a bit too. But not on national TV, perhaps as an "example" for others to follow.

I just try to do my best when fishing.

Again, good luck on the water.

Geno


The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men.
In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
(Quoted from "The Bleeding of the Stone" Ibrahim Al-Koni)

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#12100672 - 06/20/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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I fished with a guide in the Everglades for bass off an airboat. The guide was a third generation gladesman. He would not allow using a net and was insistent that the bass never touched the carpet on the boat because it could effect/remove their "slime". It was a great trip and we respected his thoughts on keeping them as pristine as possible. Back home everyone uses a net and no one seems to care about any "damage" it might cause.

I have seen some pretty rough handling on the local lakes. Mostly for bass of course and there are constant local tournaments in which everyone has had bass all day smashing around in the livewell then shoved into a weigh bag and carried with no water for the weigh in. Not saying it's right, just saying it's done a lot here and the bass all seem to make it. I do believe they are much more resilient than trout.


"Any inanimate object will just sit there until a person picks it up.
What they do with it depends on what kind of respect they've
been taught for human life"
#12101069 - 06/20/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: deadeyedan]  
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Valsdad Offline
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Originally Posted by deadeyedan
I fished with a guide in the Everglades for bass off an airboat. The guide was a third generation gladesman. He would not allow using a net and was insistent that the bass never touched the carpet on the boat because it could effect/remove their "slime". It was a great trip and we respected his thoughts on keeping them as pristine as possible. Back home everyone uses a net and no one seems to care about any "damage" it might cause.

I have seen some pretty rough handling on the local lakes. Mostly for bass of course and there are constant local tournaments in which everyone has had bass all day smashing around in the livewell then shoved into a weigh bag and carried with no water for the weigh in. Not saying it's right, just saying it's done a lot here and the bass all seem to make it. I do believe they are much more resilient than trout.


deadeye,

Glad you had a good experience with your guide. He seems to be on top of it.

As for the bass, they don't all make it. Lot's of studies out there documenting the % lost. Mortality can be delayed for hours, even days. An example from a quick search, from a 1985 paper:

"Mean initial and estimated total mortality rates of the fish weighed in were 9 and 14%, respectively."
from this site: https://www.researchgate.net/public...ght_Largemouth_Bass_in_Two_Florida_Lakes

that particular article was cited in many newer papers:

Hooking mortality of released nontournament fish generally is considered to be around 5–10% (Hayes et al. 1995), whereas reported tournament-associated total mortality rates have ranged from 2% to 98% (Champeau and Denson 1988; Lee et al. 1993; Wilde 1998; Neal and Lopez-Clayton 2001). Black bass tournament-associated mortality (TM) rates vary with water temperature (Schramm et al. 1987; Meals and Miranda 1994; Neal and Lopez-Clayton 2001), tournament size (Wellborn and Barkley 1974; Schramm et al. 1985; Bennett et al. 1989; Meals and Miranda 1994; Hartley and Moring 1995), fish length (Meals and Miranda 1994), and handling procedures (Meals and Miranda 1994; Hartley and Moring 1995; Kwak and Henry 1995; Weathers and Newman 1997; Neal and Lopez- Clayton 2001). Wilde (1998) reviewed estimates of black bass TM and found that total mortality averaged about 26–28%.

Fortunately there has been a lot of research on this issue, due to the popularity (and $$$ generation) of bass tournaments. Here's an example of some info meant to increase survival, there are many more out there:

http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/didyouknow/inland/livewells.phtml

The real point seems to be, as always ............... personal responsibility. How much does one value the resource and wish to treat it so it lasts? Knotless nets , releasing the fish without removing them from the water, etc are all said to help.

Geno


The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men.
In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
(Quoted from "The Bleeding of the Stone" Ibrahim Al-Koni)

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#12102003 - 06/20/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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458 Lott Offline
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If I'm not going to keep a fish I prefer to leave the fish in the water to remove the hook.

TV shows whether they be outdoor shows or "reality" shows more often than not seem to show you how not to do something properly.


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#12107851 - 06/23/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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logger Offline
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It can certainly become sporty when trying to release a 25lb wild chinook which has hooked both hooks of a mooching rig. Then add in the factor of seals and sea lions that have learned that there is a fish on when a person stands up in a boat. They do thrash around a lot and with two hooks they almost become a weapon.

#12111782 - 06/26/17 Re: Handling of fish [Re: 1OntarioJim]  
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Valsdad Offline
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yes, good point logger, that would suck, sea lions and all.

And a LARGE bass plug with triple trebles can be quite exciting with a good size fish attached. Even double trebles have a lot of pointy things flying around.

Guess it's up to us to do our best.

Geno


The desert is a true treasure for him who seeks refuge from men and the evil of men.
In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
(Quoted from "The Bleeding of the Stone" Ibrahim Al-Koni)

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