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looking for expert info on releasing a fish


Scoot

Question

OK, not sure if this has been covered or not, but I have a question about releasing a fish. I was told, as most of our members were, that when releasing a fish you should hold a fish in the water upright, and gently rock it back and forth. The back and forth action "runs fresh water over the gills". This always made sense to me and I've always done it that way. However, more recently I've heard a couple times that there's no reason to rock the fish back and forth and that only a few sharks need to "move water over their gills" to get oxygen into their system.

So... my question is this: does rocking a fish back and forth when releasing it actually provide any real benefit to the fish?

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I'm not an expert.. But I have even been told that the back and forth action is counter productive, its not natural for the water to go "backwards" through the gills. I do my best to hold the fish upright and let it work the water through its own gills till its ready to go.

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I agree with Deitz I wouldn't rock the fish back and forth hold it upright as best as you can it doesn't hurt to rub the stomach just alittle and softly to help the fish out.

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it doesn't hurt to rub the stomach just alittle and softly to help the fish out.

That usually puts me to sleep when the wife does it. laugh

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If your intention is to really catch and release, having a dedicated high oxygenated live well is very helpful to release of fish. Often times it'll be more oxygenated then the water the fish was just caught on. There's a special liquid (I forget the name) that can be added to help revive the fish too.

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If the fish is of a size that is legal to keep, that would be an option until you are one shy of your limit. I don't agree, but I believe that you can do that legally.

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Originally Posted By: hhguide
it doesn't hurt to rub the stomach just alittle and softly to help the fish out.

That usually puts me to sleep when the wife does it. laugh

Thats Funny!

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Originally Posted By: hhguide
it doesn't hurt to rub the stomach just alittle and softly to help the fish out.

That usually puts me to sleep when the wife does it. laugh

TMI!!!! TMI!!!! smirk

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Originally Posted By: Sandmannd
Originally Posted By: hhguide
it doesn't hurt to rub the stomach just alittle and softly to help the fish out.

That usually puts me to sleep when the wife does it. laugh

TMI!!!! TMI!!!! smirk

Yep!!! There are just some things we don't need to know blush

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You mean just tossing them over the other side of the boat doesn't count????

grin I'm just kidding, best rule of thumb, just be nice. grin

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I watched a show on TV years ago that was trolling for muskie on the Great Lakes. They caught a lot of them. What they did sounded goofy when I first saw it, but now I do it the same way for all but really big fish (though I don't catch many of those, haha!). The hold it by tail and under head (gently) and basically just slide it quickly head first straight down into the water.

I do the same now for bass, pike, walleyes, even panfish. Just sldie it back in head first, quite fast. Every single one takes off when it hits the water and goes straight down.

The guides/pros/hosts/whatever who were on the show said that the fast rush of water over their gills (the right way) sort of wakes them up, and they are already headed back down to the cooler water which also helps. It does get cooler even a couple feet under the surface.

So, not sure if this is best or not, but try it and see. We have even waited to watch for pike or small muskies or walleyes after doing this, to see if they come back up, and haven't seen one yet. Not saying they all go in p-erfect condition, but we have had to go and pick up fish that we "rocked back and forth" in the past, but never one we slid back in. Maybe they just died deeper... :| but I don't think so, hope not.

Good luck,

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