Catch and Respect
Catch and Respect – Fly-fishing for bass – & Leave no trace
There is a skill too, in the proper release of fish!
Please limit your kill rather than killing your limit.
Catching a wild fish like a bass is a skillful process, releasing one successfully back to the sea alive and healthy also requires skill and good techniques. I try and apply the following to my own fishing as best I can
- Before you start fishing look closely at the area where you are angling and search for lies that you suspect a fish may run to for cover and use to his advantage for escape or possible hang up.
- Plan regularly as you move and consider how you will play land and return your fish under the circumstances you are in. Check for your own safety and a possible path to bring the fish through to release.
- Think speed of return – get them back in the water fast!
Some helpful tips for successful catch and release
- Handle the fish as little as possible and try to keep the fish in the water when removing hooks
- Avoid lifting or touching the fish if you can
- If you do need to touch the fish, make sure your hands are wet
- Avoid lifting the fish out of the water unsupported
- If you do need to lift the fish, make sure he is supported evenly
- If you are using lures for the first time and are nervous of treble hooks, consider using a boga grip for in the water releases
- NEVER lift or SUSPEND a fish from a boga grip.
- It is often not necessary to use a boga grip when fishing for bass, especially when using single or barb less hooks, cut down or eliminate its use entirely as you grow in confidence
- Always have a plan for releasing a fish before landing it
- Because time is crucial in keeping a released fish alive, work quickly and eliminate any over exposure to air
- Avoid using landing nets
- Do not drag fish over dry hot sand which clings to its slime
- Handling the fish with wet hands helps to avoid removing the beneficial fish slime.
- Remove treble hooks carefully and quickly using pliers and try to avoid lip or flesh ripping, also avoid any contact to the red gill plate area.
- When taking photographs make it very quick and always plan ahead
- Revive any exhausted fish in the water by pointing the fish into any available current and providing support until the fish recovers.
- Try not to recover the fish where water is muddy or sandy or temperature is high
- Be patient with bigger fish or fish that are responding slowly
Points to Consider in reducing overexposure
- Be confident when landing your fish
- Cut down on the number of hooks on your lures
- De-barb your treble hooks
- Fit lures with single hooks
- De-barb your single hooks
- Try to land fish as quickly as possible to avoid over stressing them
- Overplayed and overexposed fish die after release
- A quickly landed bass will still have a lot of energy and is very inclined to shake his head from side to side – a dangerous time for both fish and angler for potential damage especially with barbed multi hooked lures
- Longer lures with multiple treble hooks cause greater damage to fish than shorter ones
- Regards measuring fish – wrap tape of three different colours at important intervals on your rod- measure from butt of rod to coloured tape – is it really that important to be mm accurate at the cost of a fast return?
- 50 cms equates to approx 1.35kgs or 3lbs
- 70 cms equates to approx 3.35kgs or 7lbs
- 80 cms is mostimes greater than 4.45kgs or 10lbs and less than 5.25kgs or 12lbs – this is a big fish and one that bass anglers seek most.
Further considerations in a dwindling population
If you intend to kill and keep a fish from time to time (July – December) then carry the proper tool do the job. Don’t leave fish gasping and flapping on the shoreline but use a salmon priest to dispatch him quickly.
If keeping a fish consider keeping one that has spawned a number of times > 45 cms.
Try not to kill the fish that everyone wants to catch i.e. return bigger fish,