Catch and Respect for Bass
There is a skill in a proper release of fish.
Please limit your kill rather than killing your limit.
Catching a fish is a skilful process, releasing one successfully back to the sea alive and healthy also requires skill and good techniques.
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 safety and a path to bring the fish through.
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.
If you do need to lift the fish make sure he is supported evenly.
Avoid lifting the fish out of the water unsupported.
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 not necessary to use a boga grip when fishing for bass, especially when using single or barbless hooks, cut down or eliminate its use entirely as you grow in confidence.
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 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 an exhausted fish in the water by pointing the fish into any available current until the fish recovers. Try not to recover the fish where water is muddy or sandy.
Points to Consider
Cut down on the number of hooks on your lures
De-barb your treble 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 multi hooked lures
Longer lures with multiple treble hooks cause greater damage to fish than shorter ones
If you intend to kill and keep a fish from time to time 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.