I was looking for some opinions on the best way to weigh a fish you plan on releasing. I would be using a traditional hand held scale with a big hook on the bottom. How do you guys put the fish on the scale?
If you plan on releasing fish you should treat them as gently as possible. Hold your breath when you take them out of the water (because they are) and you will remember to get em back into the water quickly.
Weigh slings are handy if you can find one big enough (hint hint CW) This sling was "guaranteed" by carp fishermen to hold up for years to the largest fish I could catch. It's lifespan was less than 3 months
If your scale has a calibration adjustment you can hang your net and 0 the scale before weighing the fish.
I like to borrow Jim Schillings scale cause a pack of juicy fruit gums weighs 35 pounds on his!
Good topic, mostly I use a Rapala scale with the hook. I took a file & sharpened the hook too. I did that so the fish won't jump off, I had a fish or two drop & hit the floor, so I knew that wasn't a good idea. I figure a small clean puncture wound is better than dropping 4'. A sling or bag seems like a great idea, but space is limited on the boat & wouldn't a bag remove slime causing problems? Now, I'm just weighing river catfish, most of them are close to 15# before they ever see the scale. Many of them have huge scars, etc that they've recovered from already. I wouldn't weigh a musky like that, or a carp. What I'm saying is, I guess it depends on the species of fish, I like the 5 gal. bucket idea, Ken, do you fill it with water to add a little to your numbers ?? My scale has a "tare" weight, so that would work. Great idea for bass.
I was thinking of getting a big plastic bag with sturdy handles. You could fill it with water and tare the scale, then add fish. This is similar to the 5 gallon bucket but easier to store in a cramped boat or in a tackle bag. Bass pro sells a bag like this but it is $15 and that seems a liitle steep for a bag. It seems least harmful to the fish while still being easy to store. Only works on smaller fish though.
Actually I'm not really concerned what most of my fish weigh. I used a bucket for the first time a couple of weeks ago while sorting catfish in the livewell for a tournament. I needed to find the biggest fish out of three small ones to fill my limit. It was quick and easy to place them one at a time in a bucket and eliminate the two smaller fish. It didn't matter what the bucket weighed since I used the same one. It wasn't full of water but it was wet and since the fish were out of the water for about 15 seconds they weren't in much stress.