Catch & Release,
Fish for the Future
Dave "Nugget" Downie
- Whether you like it or not, catch limits will be a fact of life
in years to come. Bag limits on some species and limited number of total fish for specific
impoundments are already in place. As they are implemented and increased they will
affect every keen angler in Queensland. Fishing is so popular that the demand exceeds the
waterways ability to supply. While there are various methods employed to even up the
demand / supply imbalance such as closed seasons, fingerling stocking and increased
minimum size limits, the human race has realized that recycling is one of the most
effective ways to save our natural recourses. The recycling of fish stocks, catch and
release, will result in greater numbers of larger fish and is a major part of the solution
to the problem. Anglers that enjoy their sport are now looking at fishing as an enjoyable
experience rather than a food supply. Like the city council telling you what you can put
in the recycle part of your wheelie-bin, anglers need to know how to treat fish that are
going to be released.
- Probably the most important action that will increase a released
fishes chance of surviving is how it is handle when caught. Dry hands, barbed hooks and
rough handling are equivalent to recycling used toilet paper.
- If you remember that the longer a fish is out of water the less
chance it has of survival then it is easy to see that barbless hooks are easier and
quicker to remove therefore increasing the survival rate. If a fish has to be lifted out
of the water then a damp rag or at worst a wet hand supporting its under body weight is a
lot better than it being waved around in the air as its swung over the gunwale.
- Where the fish is hooked and how it is unhooked is a major
contributing factor to a released fishes survival. Hooks in the side of the mouth or jaw
do little damage. The ideal way to remove them is to use the weight of the fish to pull it
out. This way you dont have to touch or squeeze the fish in any way. If a fish is
hooked deeply in the mouth or gut, cut the line as close to the jaw as possible as they
have a better chance of survival with the hook left in them than with you trying to do
major surgery for the sake of a 20 cent hook. Avoid at all cost squeezing the fishs
stomach area. When releasing a fish dont throw it into a two and a half pike dive,
gently cradle it in the water in an upright position until it regains it orientation and
strength and swims away. There is a misconception that any bleeding means the fish will
die. I dont know about you but Ive done a hell of a lot of bleeding and am not
dead yet. Internal hemorrhaging is usually fatal but slight bleeding from the jaw or lip
is not terminal.
- Catch and release, fish for the future.
- Dave ><>
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