Catch and release and sparing catch handling manual
Fish is the most valuable renewable resource of Kamchatka and only careful handling of it can preserve it for future generations. Catch and release fishing gives opportunity to use Kamchatkan fish resources in such a way when fish do not die and can be used again and again. Conception of this kind of fishing includes following of a number of rules which give fish significant chances to survive. Practicing catch and release technique today you will secure good fishing for you in the future.
· Never use natural baits for catching a fish you are going to release later. Death rate from wounds is lower for fish if caught for an artificial lure or spoon-bait.
· Take care of the hook size to fit fish size. Too big hooks may cause excessive injuries of mouth and eyes and small ones may get into tissues of the fish or being swallowed too deep inside.
· Use barbless single hooks if you want to release your catch. Such hooks are easily removed. If there are no barbless hooks in your arsenal, use standard ones having crushed barbs flat with needle-nosed pliers. As a rule, standard spoon-baits are equipped with triple hooks. Before using them, cut extra hooks with pliers.
· Avoid using stainless steel hooks, because they do not dissolve in result of metal oxidation and therefore can be stored inside the fish. In case a hook is swallowed too deep, it is better to cut the line other then injure the fish seriously while removing the tackle.
· Use strong fishing rod, line, leader and other tackle for a fish to be caught for sure.
· Avoid the use of landing nets. If a landing net must be used, it should be knotless nylon netting. Using knotted or coarse fiber nets might damage scales of the fish and cause infections, skin ulcerating and dying of the fish.
· Avoid fighting, bringing fish from rapid to calm and shallow water. Catch and release fish as quick as possible, without making it weak. Weak fish might not survive.
How to Handle the Caught Fish
· While handling fish try to keep it constantly in the water. The longer fish is out of water the lower her chances to survive. Holding the fish, do it carefully with both hands. Support it with one hand under the belly and hold it with the other one at the tail. It is not recommended to hold it for its tail.
· Avoid touching gill covers and gills when holding the fish. Gills are extremely vital and vulnerable organs. If gills are bleeding the fish will die for sure.
· Never squeeze the fish. Pressing on vital organs is often lethal.
· Only handling the fish with soft and wet gloves (without firm abrasive sputtering) or moisten hands, at least.
· Fishing from a boat or raft, try to release the fish without bringing it on board. The fish can be severely injured if lifted with line or if it thrashes in the boat.
· If you want to take a picture of a fish, do it quickly, with your camera got prepared beforehand. Ask somebody to hold the fish or shoot you and your catch.
· Avoid the fish thrashing in shallow water, among rocks or on the ground.
Unhooking and Releasing of Fish
· Hold the fish in the water while unhooking it quickly and carefully. Grasp the hook firmly with your fingers, and, it is even better to use the pliers, release the hook and remove it from the mouth of the fish.
· If the hook is deep inside, avoid tearing it out or pulling it with force for lure or a spoon-bait. It is better to cut the line as close to the hook eye as possible and then recover the fish as recommended below. In practice, the hook will release itself in a while or dissolves inside in result of metal oxidation.
· While fishing from a boat or raft, use the landing nets to minimize time of unhooking and simplify a fish recovery procedure.
· Never throw or kick the fish into water. Place the fish in the water gently, taking care of gills to be in the water.
· Recover the fish placing it with its head against the current and thus creating a forced draft in gills until the fish stands by itself in its natural position and its gills “work”, i.e. its gill covers start to go up and down rhythmically. In some cases the fish needs to recover while “walking" for a few minutes. To “walk” the fish, get up the stream away from the other anglers into undisturbed water zone, place the fish into the water and, supporting its sides or tail, slowly move it to and fro. As the fish recovers, its gills start to move rhythmically and the fish will stand by itself in its natural position. When the fish starts to thrash and struggle to break loose, release it. Do not worry, if the fish swims away slowly. It is normal.
Amateur and Sport Fishing