Many people think that fishing only requires sitting for a long period and waiting for the fish to take the bait. However, contrary to many people’s perception, fishing is not a boring sport or activity. There is even catch-and-release fishing for those who do not fancy eating or taking home their catch or those who do not want to be an angler out of sympathy for the catch. If you belong to the latter but want to give fishing a try, then it is essential for you to know how to use fishing pliers to ensure that you do not hurt the fishes.
Catch and Release: The Thrill
What is the point of fishing if you will not take home the catch? Many people ask this question because they do not understand that bringing home the fish is not the only prize for the angler.
What many individuals fail to understand is that fishing is an activity that requires skill. The sport is not about sitting and talking to your buddy while waiting for a fish to take your bait. Fishing requires anticipation and proper timing. In fact, one has to learn the skill of knowing when to reel after the catch has taken the bait.
Catch-and-release has become a popular kind of fishing because, contrary to what many people think, not all anglers want to take home and partake their catch. For some, the thrill only lies in catching the fish. So, the fisher makes sure to bring back the fish immediately to prevent any harm on their catch.
Causing No Harm To The Catch
Fishing, as mentioned, requires skill. And catch-and-release fishing requires the following:
- Careful Handling
Many experts would say that the survival of the catch depends on the handling of the angler. Hence, the goal is to bring back the fish to the water quickly and safely, which entails unhooking the fish without hurting it. Additionally, the caught fish can recover within 48 hours if it is brought back immediately to the water without any injury.
Anglers attempting to do a catch-and-release have to grab the catch with their hands and hold on to it so that it cannot escape and fall on hard surfaces. It is also recommended to hold the fish on it fins below the gills or what is more commonly known as the pectoral fins. Use the index finger precisely below the fish’s chin to prevent it from falling out of your hands.
Furthermore, some people also make the mistake of dangling the catch on its jaw. This is not advisable as holding the fish this way increases its chances of moving around, which will eventually tire them.
- Fast Reeling
Nonetheless, another skill a person must learn in catch-and-release fishing is the ability to reel fast. Reeling slowly may cause a lot of harm to the fish as this gives it the chance to wriggle out of the hook, again, an activity that will tire the fish. The point of reeling fast is to minimize the struggle of the catch, which increases the fish’s chances of surviving.
- Fish Unhooking
Taking the fish off the hook is another point to master when doing some catch-and-release fishing. Anglers should be careful not to tear the lips apart or cause any injury to it. If the hook is found on the edge of the catch’s lips, then one can easily slide it off. Anglers must take out the hook slowly and gently to prevent hurting the catch.
Unfortunately, there are instances where the fish has swallowed the hook. This makes the task of taking off the hook more challenging and complicated. If this is the case, then one must remove the metal using fishing pliers.
How To Use Fishing Pliers
The fishing pliers are the primary tool needed to take out the hook from the fish. If one is intent on ensuring the survival of the catch, then one must use this tool with a lot of care.
In many cases, the jaw of the fish is closed, and the angler must open them and take out the hook by opening the handle of the fishing pliers. It is necessary to open up the split rings by placing the pliers’ nose in between the split rings and pressing the fishing pliers’ nose.
The angler must slide the hook until it reaches the split ring’s open end by holding the fishing pliers. The split must be left open to allow the hook to pass through it. The angler must then open the split ring again until the hook slides into the opening. Now gently remove the hook using the fishing pliers.
Keep in mind that knowing how to use fishing pliers properly is the key to keeping the catch safe and healthy.
Aside from being able to take out the hook without wounding the catch’s mouth, one must also take into consideration the kind of hook to use for catch-and-release fishing.
Experts recommend using the circle hook rather than the J-hook. After all, studies have shown that one of the crucial factors in helping the fish survive is where the hook touches the fish. If the hook reaches the fish on its gullet or gills, then it is likely that the fish will only have 65 percent chance of surviving because of internal injuries it has sustained. On the other hand, the fish that got caught with a hook in its mouth is likely to survive by 95 percent as internal injuries are minimized.
If one is serious about catch-and-release fishing and wants to put the welfare of the fish above else, then it is best to use a circle hook that is barbless. This kind of hook minimizes the risk of harming the fish, not to mention is available in many stores and not hard to find.
Indeed, catch-and-release fishing is the way to go for those who are not to keen on taking home their catch and want to ensure the safety of the fish. However, one must plan well when doing so. Buy the hooks needed and know the basics of holding and removing them so as not to injure the catch.