Hints and Tips on Fish Care

I personally feel that fish care is one of the most important aspects in angling, and we should all ensure that our quarry is returned in the same or better condition as we caught it. It is the very least we can do as we are the ones removing it from its natural environment. This also ensures that the next person can share the same beauty of the fish as you did.

Here are a few tips to help and to consider when dealing with a fish:

1. Ensure your nets, weigh sling and unhooking mats are all dry between sessions. This will lower the risk of passing on a disease or infections.

2. Keep the fish in the landing net until you prepare your equipment.

3. Wet the unhooking mat and weigh sling as this will prevent the removal of the fish’s protective slime. Wetting the unhooking mat on a hot day is more vital as it will be hot to touch and can harm the fish.

4. Ensure the camera and weighing equipment is ready, and the scales are set to zero with the wet sling.

5. Break the net down if possible and roll the arms of the net down to just above the fish.

6. At this stage it is important to ensure all fins are folded back as you can permanent damage and extreme pain.

7. Transfer the fish to the unhooking mat ensuring you have a bucket of lake water close by. It is important to keep the fish wet throughout the weighing and photographic session.

8. When posing with your capture, do NOT stand or lift the fish any higher than necessary. The lower the better. This will lower the chance of your quarry being damaged, especially should it start to flip. If this should happen, curl the fish into your chest and lower to the mat. Wet the fish again and repeat the process.

9. Before returning the fish, we owe it to give it a quick check over and treat any hook damage or scales, which have been lifted during the fight. There are many products available for this purpose, Nash and Kryston are very good. However, Bonjela, the antiseptic cream for mouth ulcers and babies who are teething is just as good, and a small amount on the damaged area will speed the healing process.

10. When returning the fish, it is vital to keep the fish low to the ground, and in the weigh sling. This is a time when most fish gets damaged as the capture just wants to return the fish quickly, and takes a chance of carrying it in their hands. It is bound to flip and hit the ground causing scale damage or even worse, death. It would be sad to see your previous good work worth nothing when watching the fish struggling to swim off.

11. Hold the fish upright in the flotation sling or by hand until you feel the fish kick.

I hope you find this article of some help, especially if you are a newcomer, but even more so if you have been doing it wrong all these years.

Happy fishing and lets keep them all in great condition for others to catch.

Jan Michalski 
PDAS Committee Member