Fish Handling Part One.
It’s pretty much standard procedure when an angler hooks into a big fish for the camera to come out and anticipation of a killer “grip & grin” photo to follow. We all love ’em! And now with the proliferation of the internet and photo sharing we see so many images of proud fisherman and their catch. Being that many of us exist mainly in the Catch & Release realm and waters of fly fishing, landing then photographing and finally releasing fish in good healthy condition is of the best interest of ourselves and others. So what I hope to provide here is a step by step guide for the C&R angler who wants to save the moment or simply record a great catch digitally for him and the world to see. Or for that matter, tips for simple fish handling and releasing even if no photos are taken.
Getting great photos of fish can be quite difficult, however it can also be quite simple and harmless to you and the fish if a few methods are used and certain things are avoided. We can all agree that if more people out on your favorite water are releasing fish 100% unscathed, it’s a win win for us all. And the reality is that if a fish is handled in the wrong way and dies after what the angler assumes is a healthy release, it becomes a complete and total loss to everyone.
What I will try and outline here are steps to take after a fish is hooked. It’s up to your fishing skills until this point, but as soon as you have a fish hooked it’s life and well being are in your hands. From there we will look at how to fight and land a fish quickly, how to remove flies quickly, how to get the best photo possible, then how to help the fish rest, recover and finally release the fish in great condition.