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!

CatchandreleaseSome 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,

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