Fish Handling (intro)
I've never written any sort of "how too" guide before. But especially with the proliferation of the internet and photo sharing we see so many images of proud fisherman and their catch. Being that I exist mainly in the Catch & Release realm of fly fishing, landing then photographing, and finally releasing fish in good healthy condition is of the best interest of myself and others. So what I hope to provide here is a step by step guide for the C&R angler who wants to save the moment of triumph or simply record of a great catch digitally saved for him and the world to see. And for simple fish handling and releasing even if no photos are taken.
Getting great photos of fish can be quite difficult, however it can also be quite simple and harmless to you and the fish if certain methods are used and certain things are avoided. We can all agree that if more people out on your favorite river are releasing fish unscathed it's a win win for us all. And the reality is that if a fish is handled in the wrong way and dies after what the angler assumes is a healthy release, it becomes a complete and total loss to everyone.
What I will try and outline here are steps to take after a fish is hooked. You are on your own up to this point, but as soon as you have a fish hooked, it's life and well being are in your hands. From there we will look at how to fight and land a fish quickly, how to remove flies quickly, how to get the best photo possible, then how to help the fish rest and recover and finally release the fish in great condition.