Most thinking fishermen will be aware of the need to release at least some fish – those that are undersized, or surplus to immediate requirements spring to mind, and for some anglers, releasing fish as a matter of course. But there are ‘rules’ for releasing fish that will ensure the fish has the greatest chance of surviving.
Rule 1: Speed Does Not Kill
The faster you can get a fish to the boat or shore the better its chances of survival. The longer the fight the less chance the fish has of surviving.
It is likely that the survival rates decrease exponentially as fight time increases. That is as fight-time goes up, survival chances decrease at an ever increasing rate. If you fish on a catch-and-release basis you should use gear that will minimise the fight time.
Rule 2: Get Wet
Lifting a fish out of the water, decreases its survival chances. The longer a fish is out of the water its chances of survival decrease expotentially. Try and remove the hook while the fish is in the water…
For all five rules plus a bonus rule – go here