Saltwater Fishing: Lip Gripper Tools
With increasing fishing pressure and more people fishing every day all over the world, fish survival rates are key to the success of preserving our fisheries. Coming after improper unhooking of fish, mishandling is a leading cause of post-release mortality in fish. Most of the damage is done from squeezing the fish too hard, dislocating the fishes jaw, and injuring its gills and exposed organs. These injuries, however, can be easily avoided with the use of a lip gripping tool. They function on the principle that by pulling a lever, the gripper opens and is placed over the lip of the fish and then released, holding the fish in place without damaging it in any way.
These tools started with the Boga Grip, priced up to $245. That's a lot of money to drop over the side of the boat trying to help save a fish. However this is not the only option. Many new types of lip grippers have been developed that are just as effective at a fraction of the cost.
Weighs to 15lbs. Lightweight durable fish lip grip scale.
This product is essentially the same as a Boga Grip but is priced as low as $15 and has stainless jaws, a rotating handle, a scale, and a lanyard. This is what I use and find it works great for not only landing fish that I plan to release, but also in photographing them as I don't have to hold them by the gills or throat.
Mustad makes a product similar to the EconoScale but it has a digital scale. It is slightly more expensive but has the same functionality as the others.
Hobie also makes a Fish Grip that works similarly to the others but has a slightly different design and is constructed of lightweight and durable plastic. It does not, however, have a scale but floats and works just as well.
Whichever of these tools you choose, you will be making a difference in the sustainability of fisheries and decreasing the post-release mortality rate of fish. Now get out there and catch some fish!