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I FEAR NO FISH
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Good post! I saw this somewhere too...should have posted it here myself. I catch a lot of bass with broken jaws...we need to be more careful. :G
 

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Yeah, those pics I see guys trying to break their jaws really irk me. Thank you for posting. Seems common sense... :(
Yeah me too. If you're gonna hold it horizontally, for whatever reason, at least support it with your other hand to take the pressure off the jaw!
 

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Nice reminder! I also want to add that I notice a lot of pictures on this site with bass laying on the bank next to a rod or laying on the deck of a boat, which is also harmful to the fish. It removes the slime coat which protects the fish from disease. I think more fisherman should take the picture back towards themselves while holding the bass. It is not that difficult. Seeing a big bass laying in gravel with a rod for size reference makes me think "that's a shame, that bass may die", not "way to go on the big catch". If a fisherman chooses catch and release, then he should handle the bass with utmost care.


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I think we all made these mistakes at one point or another. Let fish flop around on the ground or in the bottom of the boat, take pics on the ground, handle fish with dry hands and damage the slime coat. I think everyone just has to learn these things from watching others handle fish. That is why I really like the format of the major league bass fishing and I think this is the way more tournaments will go in the future.
Sometimes you will see a kid slide a fish up on the bank and take 20 minutes to get it unhooked and then throw it back and have it flop in the mud bank for a while its painful to watch but its up to the pros on tv to give them an example of how to land and care for a catch and release bass but swinging them in the boat and letting them flop on the carpet is just telling the kids they are doing just fine.

I was at a ramp this week after a tournament at a local lake and there was a solid 6lber floating dead. I think its just a matter of time before more people find a way to have tournaments without having a weigh in.
 

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I do agree with big joshy here. I can't count the number of times I've seen pro's net and dump, or crane and dump bass in the boat; or crane the bass up and with bare hands grab it on either side of the head (like a choking position for example) take the hook out and toss it back or into the live well. Not easily either. Many novice fisherman watch those guys for pointers and will repeat exactly what they see, or as close as possible anyway. I would say that if the pros took the time to explain how important proper handling is the. You would see a huge change in novice practices.

That being said, I did not know about the Jaw damage (see above) until I was a teen and a very good bass fisherman scolded me, explained why it hurt the fish, and scolded me again. I don't remember all the harsh words he called me, but I can remember him telling me that "the reason people in the circus hang vertically when they do tricks is the same reason dentists working IN YOUR MOUTH support your weigh when you lay horizontally, (insert string of expletives) because it prevents broken jaws!"

I must admit that while I do not intentionally lay fish on the ground they have flopped out of my hands many times. I'm not perfect, but I do try. I think most people that are told, or stop and think about it, try to do the right thing once they know. So threads like this help because we have 40k lurkers on the site aside from the posters!:D And seriously, if the bass shows would explain and sow proper technique, novice bass fisherman would be far better on local populations, IMO.

Mr. A
 

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I gotta agree with Fishing Flyer concerning the pictures posted of big bass laying on the ground is sad. I understand wanting a picture of the fish, but it's still sad to see. The example that Mr A gave of them some times flopping out of your grasp is perfectly understandable. If he is like me, my guess is that he is trying to be so gentle with the fish, that he loses his grip. The difference is that it's not done on purpose.

Also like Mr A said, the pros could present a better way of handling fish. Granted a lot of times the fish they flop on the carpet are going to end up going in the live well, but if the pro isn't using some kind of live well treatment that stimulates growth in a fishes slime coat then it really doesn't matter if it is going in the live well, or not.

The reality is, that pretty much everything involved with removing a fish from the water to release it, has a chance of damaging that fish. All we as anglers can do is respect the fish and do our best to handle the fish in a way that won't seriously damage it.
 

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average guy
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This was a very good post with some great info from all of you that have responded. I think those of us, like me, try to be too careful and then the bass slips out of your hand. Most times it's just me fishing so when I try to take a picture, I'm really not thinking about what it may do to the bass. However, because I would like the next generation to enjoy what we all do, I need to think twice about a picture. Generally I would lip him and hold him vertical while I back the phone up a little and snap a pic. But now that I saw this, I need to be a little more thoughtful. Hey, is a pic really worth a bass possibly being injured or dying? Hey, I knew I caught it so good enough for me


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Does a net also remove the slime coating? I laid a bass on the grass once cause it was so big I wanted to compare it to my shoe size. Sone one told me not to do it do I never did it again. But I was wondering if I net hurts them. I thought it was a mor gentle way to handle. I always felt weird about lifting them out on the line. And I have more control of them. But have I been hurting them this way too?
 

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Pushin' Tin
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This was a very good post with some great info from all of you that have responded. I think those of us, like me, try to be too careful and then the bass slips out of your hand. Most times it's just me fishing so when I try to take a picture, I'm really not thinking about what it may do to the bass. However, because I would like the next generation to enjoy what we all do, I need to think twice about a picture. Generally I would lip him and hold him vertical while I back the phone up a little and snap a pic. But now that I saw this, I need to be a little more thoughtful. Hey, is a pic really worth a bass possibly being injured or dying? Hey, I knew I caught it so good enough for me


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If you have a smartphone, there's an app called "say cheese" that gives you a voice commanded camera. When I'm by myself, I prop the phone up on the back seat facing me, line myself up in the frame and yell "cheese!" And it snaps the pic. Takes a few tries sometimes, but its better than laying the fish on the ground or floor...

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Does a net also remove the slime coating? I laid a bass on the grass once cause it was so big I wanted to compare it to my shoe size. Sone one told me not to do it do I never did it again. But I was wondering if I net hurts them. I thought it was a mor gentle way to handle. I always felt weird about lifting them out on the line. And I have more control of them. But have I been hurting them this way too?

To your question...... yes nets do remove slime coating, but some nets are more gentle than others. The standard nylon string knotted net is the worst of the net styles. The knots and the nylon are very hard on the slime coat of fish.

The next best type of net is a made of a softer material although I'm not really sure what the material is, and the netting is woven. It still presents a problem with removing the slime coat, but the softer and seemingly more water absorbent material is much more gentle, and having no knots there aren't the pressure points that come with using a knotted net.

The best kind of net as far as fish care goes is one that the netting is made of rubber. The netting is wider and the net is molded so there are no pressure points other than the metal clasps that are used to hold the ends of the netting material together. The clasps are a little smaller in diameter than the netting so they don't protrude and they won't scratch the fish. Once a rubber net gets wet from netting the fish, the rubber causes the least amount of damage to the fishes slime coat.

In some cases even the worst net can be better for the fish, than no net at all. Personally, the only time I use a net is when I'm fishing a tournament. Even then I only use them in certain situations. such as fish of 2 lbs. or better, or if I'm using light line. I'll also use a net if I am catching fish on treble hooked baits. I'm not going to take a chance of burying a hook in my hand while a thrashing fish is connected to one of the other hooks on the bait.

I never use nets while fun fishing. The rare exception would be if I am fishing baits with treble hooks and the fish isn't allowing me to lip it safely.

I know that to some that it may seem silly to take all this care not to harm a fish. They'll say it's just a fish. And that's true..... it's just a fish. But if you're catch and release fishing, it only makes sense to handle the fish as well as you can. After all you're letting the fish go in hopes of catching that fish again. You're also letting it go so it has a chance to spawn and produce more fish that you have the chance of catching further down the road.

I also know that there are people that have read this thread and thought that grabbing a fish with your hand isn't going to hurt it. I've personally seen bass with fungus growing on them in the shape of hand prints. I've also seen bass that had fungus growing on them that made it appear that they were put on the floor of a boat, or possibly laid on the ground.
 

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Wow. I now feel horrible and like a huge ass. I never knew. I think I will be spending my day researching the best way to land a fish. Is this just a bass thing. I do take comfort that I am not just a catch and release fisherman. If it is of good size than there is a good chance I keep it.
 

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Wow. I now feel horrible and like a huge ass. I never knew. I think I will be spending my day researching the best way to land a fish. Is this just a bass thing. I do take comfort that I am not just a catch and release fisherman. If it is of good size than there is a good chance I keep it.
100% mortality rate for fish that are kept...
 

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Alex, you shouldn't feel horrible unless you're just treating fish that you plan on releasing as if nothing you can do will hurt them. Heck taking a fish out of water isn't good for it. And of course the longer the fish is out of the water, the worse it is. For obvious reasons.

I remember reading years ago when I first started bass fishing that the reason you displace the bass' jaw while lipping them is to paralyze the fish. And it works, but as you can see it's not good for the fish regardless of the fishes size. I've experimented over the years, and I've found that it doesn't seem to really be the jaw position of the fish that paralyzes the fish. I think it's the tongue position. When I land a bass I'll lip it in the standard fashion, but I'll also put the tip of my index finger against the the soft skin of its lower jaw and push so it stretches that skin slightly. It calms them right down, and I'm not distending their jaw in any way. Now I'm not saying that's the proper way to do it, nor am I saying that it doesn't hurt the fish. But it works the majority of the time regardless of the size of the fish.

There is also another thing you can do, and I do this if I have a fish on a treble hooked bait while fun fishing...... when you get the fish to the side of the boat you can slide your hand under the belly of the fish while it's still in the water and lift it out of the water. Most of the times they'll just lay in the palm of your hand, if you have your hand in the right place. You don't even have to grip them. It works with all three main species of bass we have here in Ohio. I will say that in my experience it seems to work better with small mouth bass than it does with large mouth or spotted bass. But it works on all three. It's something a person may want to try. And as Big Joshy said earlier. Your hands are wet so you're not damaging the slime coat of the fish nearly as bad as if your hands were dry. I'll even do it during a tournament at times when I am trying to get a fish out of the live well to cull or to put in the weigh in bag. Sometimes they can get pretty tight lipped.

Anyhow .... there are a lot of things we as fishermen can do to take care of the fish we plan on releasing. And while I'm rambling I'd like to say something about the tournament guys.

Why on earth a tournament fisherman wouldn't use a live well water treatment is beyond me. We spend all this money on boats, tackle, baits, and gas and we compete in a sport were ounces count, yet I rarely see anybody bring fish to the scales in a bag that appears to have treated water. I just don't get it. Most good live well treatments help fish replace the slime coat of fish, so the fish you flopped on the deck and then put in the live well is going to start regrowing its slime coat. The good live well treatments convert ammonia to an inert substance so it won't build up and stress the fish even more than riding in a live well already stresses them. The treatments have sedatives in them to calm the fish. A calm fish isn't using as much oxygen as a frantic fish. Live well treatments neutralize chlorine so if you put store bought ice cubes in your live well to cool the water, the chlorine isn't harming the fish. Fish in live wells where the angler uses a live well treatment don't regurgitate as much of whats in their stomach as fish in non treated live wells do, so they'll end up weighing more. Plus........ I've had fish grow as much as an 1/8 of an inch from the time I initially put them in the live well to the time I took them out to check them prior to weighing them in. When a dead or short fish can cost you hundreds or possibly even thousands of dollars..... how silly is it not to spend a few extra bucks and use a treatment for your live well water? A 3 lb. jar of Catch and Release costs $57..... that's more than enough to last a season for all but the busiest tournament fisherman.

I just don't get it.......
 

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Is there a spray I can use. I don't have a boat and bank or wade fish. If there was some sort of stay I could spray on them before I release I would buy that.
 

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Some good info there. The one point I've always taken exception to is the idea that if you leave the hook in a gut hooked fish, it will deteriorate and" pass". Does this idea seem ridiculous to anybody else? I've read studies on both sides of the issue, but I don't know. I caught a fish once that had a senko in its throat that I know for a fact my buddy left a full week before I caught her. I extracted the hook and it was still shiny. The fish looked skinny. Ironically, she fell for the exact same bait that was already in her throat. At least she was still trying to eat. Thoughts?

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I saw an article once about a trout that ate a 10" plastic and dies because of it. I guess it found it snagged ate it and since it never broke down it cold not for enough food in its stomach. I do everything I can to get a bait back even if line is broke. If it's safe I go in after it. But to be fair that has a lot todo with the lack of extra money for extra lures.
 
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