The silly season – Catch and Release

The silly season is upon us and there’s no turning back. With that it’s fair time to remind people of a few basic things, most of all the practice of catch and release. So, here’s a few key things to take into consideration to ensure a strong healthy release if that’s what you intend to do.

Fighting the fish

  • Fight hard, the quicker you bring it in the better chance it will have to swim off strong.
  • Use gear that is up to the task, no point being a hero with that butter knife at a gun fight.
  • Go barbless, you won’t lose fish because of it, trust me.

Handling

  • Use a soft rubberised knotless net
  • Have everything ready to go for release – camera, tag kit etc
  • When lifting fish for pictures etc get a good grip around the tail and support under the pectoral fins with the other hand – avoid the gills.
  • Keep the fish in the water as much as possible, you try holding your breath after running a marathon. If it means you dunk it back in the water for a breather then do it.
  • Don’t drag them over the rocks or sand. Saying “they’re pretty tough” doesn’t cut it.
  • Wait until the fish is upright and able to swim off on its own.
  • Only spear them into deep water if there s a risk from sharks
  • If sharks are present either race away from them in the boat and release, or throw a bucket of water in one direction followed soon after by the fish in the other direction – the sharks should respond to the first commotion and hopefully miss the fish release.
  • If you’re getting sharked there’s no point catching more fish. You may as well keep undersized fish and not worry about limits, plus you’re just educating the sharks for future easy meals.

There’s also this thing called etiquette… If someone’s fishing a flat drop in behind them and give them heaps of room. Same goes for fishing the navigation markers – there’s a load of them, go to a different one if there’s someone already there. Assessing the action of people fishing before rushing in goes a long way, having a friendly chat also helps if its a busy area.

Lastly, learn the basic navigation rules for when on the water. There are day skipper courses that cost less than the price of a standard tank of fuel, this should avoid any of those potentially ugly situations arising.

Have a safe and enjoyable festive season on the water.

 

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