Lipping [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Lipping

01-16-2001, 09:55 AM
Does "lipping" striped bass (or other species) hinder their recovery?

I know that we drag them in by a hook in their lip, and I'm sure that doesn't tickle, but I've always wondered if using a Boga on large fish, or fingers on small hurts their jaw ligaments and perhaps their chances of siezing prey after release?

01-16-2001, 10:03 AM
I saw that progam this weekend also. That was a rather large fish to lift by its lips. I've always been under the impression that handling fish that way puts undue stress on their internal organs as well. True or not, the fish could have been handled with more care.

I'm a Boga grip user, but I like them for holding a fish in the water not as a means of getting a weight.

01-16-2001, 10:16 AM
Just need some advise here. If you land a 40 inch fish and want to release her, how would you get a weight if you wanted that information? What are the other forms of obtaining weight from the beach? from a boat?. Would you just estimate from sources by the lenght? Thanks

01-16-2001, 10:27 AM
My comments were based on the fact that the host was releasing the fish. If you are keeping fish, then weighing them by their jaw is the least of their problem.

There are pretty good length/weight calculators available both online and in gadget form. Listmember Aaron Adams has developed a nice one that I trust. Off the top of my head, your 40 inch fish weighs between 21-28 pounds, depending on how "fat" it is.

I'm not opposed to keeping an occasional fish for the table, so over the years I've weighed a few fish. It doesn't take too much practice to get pretty good at estimating weight.

From a boat, you can weigh fish in a net or in a "cradle" -- two lengths of broom handle with a canvas sling in between. Both support the entire fish.

Nathan Smith
01-16-2001, 10:59 AM
One thing to remeber it that stripers are not bass. There jaw does not complete open parallel to there body and they are a lot heavier. Holding them by there lip is a terrible Idea I think. Handle them like a trout.
By the way, is it that important to weigh them. Who cares. If you post that you caught a 40 lbs bass no one is going to believe you anyway. (that is a joke).

01-16-2001, 11:07 AM
I'd rather see people use the time they are weighing fish to tag them instead.

Is there a current program for tagging?

steve moore
01-16-2001, 11:23 AM
Tagging is said by many to be far worse for a fish than lipping it. It opens the fish to all sorts of infection and can lead to a slow, agonizing death. Very few people can tag a fish properly, and the tags themsleves can be a major cause of death. In addition, what does tagging accomplish? I think we pretty much know all the information tagging can provide, like migratory patterns, growth algorithms, etc.

Interested to hear what the current thinking is on tagging striped bass and why, given the harm it can cause to the fish, it's necessary?

01-16-2001, 11:31 AM

Re: your first question,
Bill Byrd sez:

"When lipping a fish, let it hang vertically-don't crank its jaw over until its tongue hangs out. Doing so can damage the cartilage in its jaw and make it difficult for the fish's mouth to function properly, reducing its chances of survival."

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01-16-2001, 01:40 PM

I really appreciated that - thanks!

RE: Tagging

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Tagging URL of interest.


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01-16-2001, 01:59 PM
Bill Byrd's advice is exactly the opposite of how I handle large stripers. I think he's refering to small, freshwater fish when he suggests lipping the fish vertically. It is my understanding that it is very damaging to a large striper's mouth to hang that way. I've also read that the fishes internal organs are not well suited to being held in that position without the support of the water. Better to support the fish horizontally under the head and stomach, IMO. Better still to keep the fish in the water.

Someone with better knowledge of biology jump in -- but I compare this weekend's technique to holding a 30lb. toddler up by his ear with a pair of pliers. Maybe the ear will hold, but it made me wince.

01-16-2001, 03:12 PM
Thanks for that good advice... I have seen charts in various books that give a weight estimation and forgot about the net method mentioned since I do most of my fishing from shore or from a kayak,where I don't bother to weigh.

01-16-2001, 03:20 PM
I'd like to just clarify here--is your problem with "lipping" a bass
a) grabbing the fish by the lower lip period;
b) grabbing the fish by the lower lip and hoisting it out of the water;
c) both; or
d) depends on the size of the fish?

Sorry for the impromptu quiz but I want to be clear what's being said...

01-16-2001, 03:38 PM
Jeff, are you asking me? My caution was against lifting a striper from the water and suspending it vertically by its lip. There's no problem with lipping fish in the water, nor with lipping fish and lifting them up horizontally while supporting their body, IMO.

I don't think it's as critical with small fish, but I'm trying to keep things simple. sR

01-16-2001, 04:38 PM
Sorry, I guess I was asking Tin Man and anyone else who responded. I was just curious because while in the water lipping a striper is arguably the best technique there is to immobilize the fish and getting the hook out quickly without doing any unnecessary harm to either the fish or the angler.

Personally, I absolutely see no problem in lifting school fish up vertically by the lower lip to look at them, guesstimate their weight, whatever. I'd agree that you don't want to go twisting them around or overly contort their jaw. I really think it is mostly common sense.

Along that line, at some point it seems to make more sense to me with bigger fish to lift them with one hand on the lower lip and one on the tail or cradled underneath to support the body. not sure where that cutoff is physically in terms of possibly harming the fish, but it just makes more sense to me at some point. i have no idea about damaging a fish's internal organs by hanging it vertically, but suspect the same could be accomplished by handling the gut of a fish too roughly, if at all. my personally confirmed "by catch" usually have one of two problems--1) a deep hookset that I take too long trying to get out rather than just cutting the line, or 2) a gill hooked bleeder. I can not ever recall having mishandled a bass to its death that didn't involve the fact that there was a hook still stuck in some place vital.

Personally I think bass are amazingly tough fish, especially the schoolies, which I have found on many occasions to outfight their larger bretheren. I am in no way suggesting it's ok to mishandle a striper when releasing it or that educating those who don't know how to isn't important--it's critical. But when Nathan suggested we should handle stripers like trout I thought it was slightly overboard (no offense Nathan). I actually put on my bass hat and thought that I would be offended if a fisherman compared me to a trout :) (which in my mind is an infinitely more delicate creature).

Maybe I'm on permenant defense since some PITA fool lectured me on the cruelty of fishing recently.

I guess I just don't want anybody yelling at me on the water next summer 'cause I lipped a bass.

Tight lines and clean releases,


01-16-2001, 04:57 PM

I'd say b) and d). I lip fish myself, but I've also seen people lip stripers the way freshwater guys lip small/largemouth, by holding the lower lip with the fish HORIZONTAL, the only thing supporting it is the fishes jaw (and I have no idea why that's acceptable for those species).

For me, it's mostly an issue from a boat. If I can see the fly in the mouth, release is done in the water. If not, I have to take it out of the water and if it's a large one, I usually do this by the lip and by tail.

The only lipping that bugs me is the one I described in another post and the one I described here. I also simply don't know if Bogas decrease damage or they are convenient for people who don't like to put their fingers in fish mouths (I was one of these for a while after I got a 3/0 hook in my hand - took a while before I could get over hook-fear).

Other than those, there's probably more damage to our thumbs than the fish.

01-17-2001, 07:18 AM
I don't think Boga Grips decrease damage, unless it's by way of allowing the angler to have better control of the fish and release it more quickly. The nice thing about Bogas is that they grip the fish firmly and they rotate with the fish if the fish spins.

01-17-2001, 07:36 AM
ok, I can live with that :) Horizontal lipping is negative.
I don't use a boga grip, but I fished with a few guides who do and I found it to be pretty useful, especially on blues.