I have touched on how to handle fish when it comes to taking pictures, well there is most on how to handle them when you release them:
1) cardinal rule always “wet” your hands before grabbing a fish.
2) take as much time to fully revive the fish, it can take up to several minutes BUT this is part of fishing, besides nothing like getting a splash in the face by a nice fish you just released !
3) hold the fish by the tail and wiggle it side to side watching it gills to ensure water if flowing through. You will feel the fishes strength coming back in your grip, only fully release it when it is breathing well and feels strong like it is ready to swim off.
4) you can actually rest a fish in your hand, holding underneath the belly it will calmly sit there until it is ready and off it goes. This method is quite relaxing for the fish as you are just cradling it with your hand.
5) torpedo method – well that is what I decided to call it ! This is for large fish like pike and musky. Was letting a 23lb musky go after a brutal fight, I could not revive it, tried for several minutes then I decided to torpedo it back into the water. Held the fish like I was throwing a spear into the water with two hands, dropped it quickly and the burst of water through it’s lungs brought it back to life ! It came to the surface and then took off quickly. I did not want it to die and trying this came to mind, oddly enough it worked and has worked on many other occasions.
6) use a net for a safe release ! Nets exist now with flat bottoms making it a very comfortable release for the fish, it sits there in the net submerged under water until it is ready to go, tilt the net and out it will swim.
Again some simple tips to esnsure released fish have the best chance at survival…
The AMFisH guy…