Fishing is a sport for some and a pastime for many. Spending the day on the water can be relaxing and provide an opportunity for a fish dinner. But there is no need to keep the fish if you do not intend on eating it.
Fish can be released successfully back into the water after being caught. This is called catch and release. There are a lot of advantages when it comes to catching and releasing fish, chief among them being nature conservation. This will ensure there are plenty of fish for future generations.
Here are the top three reasons to practice catch and release when fishing.
- The fish will grow
Ever wanted to land a monster fish? Fish need time to grow and reproduce before they can turn into that trophy catch you can show off on social media. Practicing catch and release will give fish the chance to grow. This will give anglers bigger fish to catch year after year. Some fishermen even catch the same trophy fish year after year and can see how much they grow.
The bigger fish will also be able to reproduce. This will result in a larger population and give anglers more chance to catch fish.
- It benefits future fisherman
Practicing catch and release fishing will benefit anglers who come along in the future. Many fisheries place limits on the number of fish a person can bring in every day. But if everyone caught the maximum allowed, the waters would be left with very few fish.
By releasing catches, it gives other anglers the opportunity to reel in that monster fish. It provides more opportunities and keeps the local fish population at respectable numbers.
- It’s healthier
While catch and release is healthy for the fish population, it also healthy for the fisherman. Older fish can absorb toxins and pollutants in the water. This makes them a less healthy option to eat. Eating larger fish is not recommended by many state fisheries agencies.
Releasing the larger fish reduces an angler’s chances of consuming toxins and puts the most productive spawners back into the water.
Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of catch and release fishing, how do you do it properly? What are some of the best techniques to use?
According to the National Park Service, the type of gear you use is the most important factor for whether a fish will survive catch and release. They recommend using artificial lures or flies, a rod and reel that quickly lands the fish, and a properly sized single hook.
When landing the fish, NPS recommends avoiding playing the fish to exhaustion, avoid injury by keeping the fish in deep water, and use of a landing net that reduces handling and stress on the fish.
After you catch the fish, avoid removing the fish from water, use wet hands or gloves to handle, keep the fish properly supported, avoid squeezing, and avoid touching the gills. When you remove the hook, keep the fish wet and calm, use the right tool like needle-nosed pliers and if necessary, leave the hook.
When hosting a tournament, the Connect Leaderboard Tournament Management system allows for fish to be safely returned to the water. We make it easy to move away from traditional tournaments where anglers keep catches in their live well all day and then come across the stage. With our system you can weigh the catch and release it immediately.
Practicing catch and release will ensure waterways are stocked with fish for years to come.