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Catch and release advice


1. Use the strongest practical nylon cast to aid quick landing of fish. Long playing leads to the build-up of harmful metabolites such as lactic acid which kills fish even after they appear to swim away unscathed.

2. Use single or double hooks but avoid using triple hooks. Pinch the barbs by carefully crimping them with slim-jawed pliers. This is better than using barbless hooks.

3. Try and plan your release strategy as you are playing the fish - think where the best area would be to net or beach, unhook & release your fish. Avoid sandy beaches and silty bays, and where there are extensive areas where the water depth is shallower than the depth of the fish.

4. Take great care in handling fish. It helps if there are two of you so try and fish in pairs. Do not pick the fish up by the tail and carry it to the bank for unhooking purposes. If possible use a wide- mouthed small knot-less mesh net to minimise handling and remove the hook and release the fish while still in the water. Wet the hands first or use surgical gloves and wet them as well, avoid the gill area, do not squeeze the stomach and take care not to rub off scales. Turning the fish upside down will often prevent it from struggling. Use your knees or the river bank to keep the frame of the net level and just above the water surface.

5. Use long-nosed artery forceps or slim-jawed pliers for removing hooks.

6. Try to minimise out of water and handling times. Return the fish as quickly as possible. Some photographers keep fish out of the water far too long, considerably reducing their chances of recovery. Support it until it has recovered enough to swim away.

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