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How To Release A Fish-Simple Steps To Catch And Release

Updated on May 7, 2011

How To Release A Fish

One of the most important things as an angler is knowing how to release a fish. If you don’t know how then it really is something you need to focus on learning. The key is knowing catch and release inside and out. By knowing and understanding how to release a fish you are allowing others to catch that fish but you are also working on preserving the numbers. I see way too many people who have no clue as to how to release a fish properly. Also with all the new catch and release rules I have more and more people questioning me on the techniques. Below I will try and make the process easier for you to understand and participate in.

Probably if there was one single tip you really needed to follow then that tip would be time. Time is very important when it comes to putting your catch back. A fish out of water for too long will likely not recover. 20 minutes down the road you will see it floating to the top. Gently be sure to get it back in the water.

If at all possible keep the fish in the water while doing the releasing. Get the hook out as quickly as you can in a safe manner as to not injure the fish. Catch and release is a good reason to use single barbless hooks. Usually just a little flick of the wrist and the fish will be swimming away. This is a very important tip on how to release a fish.

You can’t get rough with your catch. You want to be as gentle as possible and hold the fish very lightly around the belly. Contrary to what you may see on television you do want to keep your hands or fingers out of eye sockets and gills. Squeezing will kill the fish so refrain.

Once in a while after fighting hard your catch may go unconscious. Don’t get too excited, this can be reversed. Be sure to hold the fish in the water in an upright position. You need to get the water running through its gills. You will do this by moving the fish back and forth very gently in the water. This could take several minutes, however once the fish comes to it will start to struggle. This will be your notice to let the fish go.

If you need to take pictures with your fish you want to do this rather quickly. Hold the fish sideways or horizontally. Be sure not to squeeze the fish at all. Do not hold the fish in an up and down position and get it back into the water as quickly as possible

The biggest and most important thing to remember is the sport of catching fish for the most part is supposed to be fun. Everyone is entitled to get the same enjoyment as you. Take the time to follow these simple steps and to practice common sense. Keep taking care of our fishing resource and we will have an enjoyable hobby and sport for many decades to come. Just take the time to learn how to release a fish.

The Biggest Secret To Catching More Fish

Also check out my brand new blog, Keep On Fishing


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    • Dale Mazurek profile image

      Dale Mazurek 7 years ago from Canada

      Hello you really should try it, there is nothing more relaxing in this world.

      thanks for once again stopping by drbj, I look forward to a ton more fishing articles

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      I dunno, Dale. Lynda thought this hub was about relationships, and I thought it contained pointers for wide receivers in the game of football.

      Regardless, every fish owes you a debt of gratitude.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I fully agree with your last remark, Dale. I can't see myself ever going fishing but I still enjoy reading about it in your hub. Thank you for your comprehensive hub.

    • Dale Mazurek profile image

      Dale Mazurek 7 years ago from Canada

      Dont get me wrong. I to love a good feast of fresh fish. However what really irks me is when people keep more than they can eat.

      As long as you only keep what you eat then its all good


    • puter_dr profile image

      Mike Bouska 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Catch and release is a great way to fish unless you need a fish for dinner.

      I have a friend who fishes every couple days, and he will only keep one or two, but he will catch and release the rest of the day.

    • dionysia profile image

      dionysia 7 years ago from China

      The key is knowing catch and release inside...

    • Dale Mazurek profile image

      Dale Mazurek 7 years ago from Canada

      Hi Lynda, thats funny, actually have lots more on the topic of love, marriage and dating but just trying to mix things up a bit.

      Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment


    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Oh, sorry -- I thought this was another of your hubs on dating, love and marriage -- Catch and Release -- I have a few friends who practice that, but their bait ain't what it used to be.

      My mistake -- fishing, nah. Not for me. Lynda