RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important
Here are some helpful hints to decrease post-release fish mortality - gleaned from peer-reviewed research manuscripts.
· Use barbless hooks since they reduce the time needed to remove a hook before releasing the fish.
· Use stainless steel hooks because stainless steel hooks left in fish will not rust and will likely be thrown, while hooks that rust may cause a toxic shock response in some saltwater fishes.
· Use flies or artificial lures since natural baits are more likely to be swallowed.
· Reduce fight time because energetic fish recover faster.
· Keep the fish in the water. If you want a picture of your catch before releasing it, get the camera ready prior to removing the fish from the water to minimize the time the fish spends out of the water.
· Use a dehooking device to reduce handling.
· Be gentle if you handle the fish. Wet your hands first to minimize the amount of protective coating of slime handling removes from the fish.
Help a tired fish when releasing it. Hold the fish in the water in an upright (swimming) position. Hold the fish loosely by the base of the tail and under the stomach until it is strong enough to swim away