“Keep the fish in the water
Don’t lift fish out of the water – don’t even touch the fish if you don’t have to. Many fish can be released without ever touching them. Just bend over, remove the hook with your hand or with pliers, and let the fish swim away. Research has shown that keeping a fish in the water dramatically increases its chances of survival. Think of it – after the fight of your life, say going 12 rounds in a boxing ring or running a marathon, imagine having your air cut off! That’s exactly what we do when we lift fish from the water. Fish kept out of the water for more than one minute have a greatly diminished chance of survival, once a fish has been out of the water for three minutes, it has virtually no chance of survival, even if it swims away.
Keep your hands wet when handling fish
If you do handle a fish, and you do it with dry hands, it can cause some of the protective coating (“slime”) on the fish’s skin to come off. This coating is designed to protect fish from disease.” (more)
Trophy shots of live fish…Fish Porn…Most of us do it. To celebrate the size, the beauty, the outcome, the proof, the epic quality of it all. But, most of us that do such things have close calls with fish that are too over taxed by the struggle to just jet away. They leave but then rise to the top, belly up or on their side struggling to correct. I pose few fish that are not partly in the water or but a few seconds out of the water.
But, if you end up in that harmful struggle on the bank, on the apron of a tube or the deck of a boat seriously don’t waste time with a stressed, stunned fish. No squeezing them to protect them while they thrash. If you celebrate the beauty and quality of those fish then forget the picture. Get the fish back in the water and make certain they are revived.