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Do you love big bluegill?

Not certain about the most of us, but since I'm a float tuber and a pontooner, I'm close to the surface of the water, already at arms level to hold the fishes in horizontal, double-handled method, wetting my hands before man-handling the fish. When I'm on the shoreline, I always have a 5 gallon bucket filled with the local water, preserving the natural biomatters and organics within that water to wet my hands with before handling the fish.

However, I can confidently say 90% of us still hold the fish vertically when we CPR (capture, picture, release) holding large species, aside from the smaller, lighter, bubble weight BGs. Why would this matter?

Fishes in the water swim horizontally. They descend and ascend horizontally, in an angle. They don't go vertical in the water. When being pulled out the water, the majority of the body mass suddenly shifts from horizontal to vertical, creating stresses both on the jaw and the body. Imagine you're wearing a 100lbs weight in additional to your own body weight, and someone grab you by the jaw, lifts you up, and suspends you from a minute to probably 3 minutes. What's the damages resulting from that event?

The comeback statement probably fired back like, "Well, I CPR, and nothing happen to the fishes."

How would you know? Do you swim with the fish for the next 3 to 5 days, to monitor their physiological damages before they go belly up? There are many documented events at my waters where double digit bass bellied up, not only being dragged from the depth too quickly without proper deflation, but also jawline damages due to improper handling. There goes the prized sport fishes the bass chasers are so happy to nurture.

"I handle my fish with one hand horizontally with no problem."

Sorry to say, but you just damage the fish's jaw, preventing it from properly feeding due to permanent opened jawlock. You might as well have kept it.

"I properly handle the fishes using both hands during CPR."

Did you actually protect the fishes by wetting your hands first, or place it on a wet towel to prevent the protective slime layer from being stripped off?

Sport fishermen like to toss their catches right back into the water like the fishes are dolphins. My gosh, I see 10 to 25 years veterans, holding the huge fishes by one hand on the jaws, and just swung those poor thing right off into the waters like their yesterday dead baits. I'm just baffled of their knowledge in handling prized fishes that they are chasing after. For me, I don't really care. I chase after fishes that I can eat, not released to be caught over and over again. However, catching a water monsters and release it will be a blessing to brag about in the decades to come, with cautious handling tactics.


We're all guilty of mishandling the CPR fishes. I'm included at time when I have to handle an aggressive fish for CPR. However, since I'm on the float, I tried my best to hold onto the fishes in the water, setting up the CPR station/deck/apron, and get the fishes into/onto it. But, the fishes that I will hold onto for my dinner, I will manhandle it vertically, or with one hand, clearly indicating that those victims will be my meals.


What's your take?

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Yes I've read numerous articles about bass saying that it's best if you can support the fish with the off hand but the vertical hold suffices on smaller fish for a matter of seconds if necessary.

I tried to stay away from commenting,but like a moth to the flame,I just couldn't resist.I never advocate treating things mean,I do not like seeing humans or animals hurt,be it intentional or accidental.I will admitt,I rolled my eyes just a little on some of the post.While I agree that fish can on occasion become injured while being handled,and some Pehaps during the tug of war of us trying to wrestle the fish from his home,or the setting of the hook moment.I do chuckle at some of the ways we think will make the episode as pleasant for the fish as possible.My point is,yes we should not treat the fish in a crueful manner,but after reading some of the post,if I were a first time fisherman,I would consider another sport.Let me take you to a moment in my childhood.We were blessed with a nice well stocked farm pond,to catch hundreds of gills an afternoon was very common.We would often notch the dorsal of some gills( we each had our own way),after catching and carrying the gill half way around the pond by the hook,our notch applied,hook removed ,fish tossed back.Many many many times within mere min we would recatch often a fresh notched gill.year after year we caught gills with old notches,yet we never found dead gills other than a very small normal die off.While I do not advocate our childhood techniques,my point is fish are tougher than we give them credit for.Yes we should take measures to insure a healthy release,but also traverse the pathway carefully as not to give some groups the idea that fishermen no matter how careful we are just can't not hurt a fish no matter how hard we try.I think we should also include just how hardy our wildlife is,and not try and prove how fragile it is to the point activist agree with us at our own peril.

Indeed, we are all moths to the flame, and no one's opinions and experience can be debunked unless we voice our collective consensus on things. Great to have your input.

Ronald, you are truly blessed with a great childhood experience, and knowledge of the controlled environment to observe precious information about catch and releases. You are dead right about wildlife is hardy, but not all species are the same. We can't compare bass and gills to crappie and trout the same way, nor handle them like they're just any other hardy fish. The tug of war result already worn out any fish, and that extra caution and delicate release will be factored in for the fish survival rate.

Just like I've indicated before, I've seen so many bass, crappie, gills, carp, striper, kitties, and trout of all sizes bellied up, not because of depth traumas, or boating injuries, but poor handling. Mouth ripped, gut hooked forceful removal, impact and tissue damage shocks from an aerial forceful disengagement (rip the lip right off the fish at 5 to 10ft height as the fish slams into the water afterwards), the good old death grips.

If the anglers already know the conventional wisdom of proper handling, we don't have such issues to deal with in teaching the proper etiquette of handling wildlife. However, passing ill-knowledge to new anglers, and future generations, we might as well give up on the preservation of the aquacultures, since the costs is apparently have been much more in trying to make up for the damages done, rather than doing absolutely nothing.

WELL RONALD AND LEO , I think I tend to agree that the horizontal lip hold hurts them in some way, just stands to reason . I seriously doubt that most fisherman, especially TV hosts hold em that way cause they don't know any better. Personally I don't like to hurt em either , but ya see it on TV all the time with the ' GREEN CARP CREW" . IT JUST DOESN'T LOOK NATURAL TO BE HOLDING EM THAT WAY. I never really thought about it much till reading all the action on this blog......
   I also  believe that most fishernan would not intentionally do anything to harm what they are making their living off of , BASS. Almost no one could be that stupid. Like most folk including me I never thought about it much but thanks for the discussion , it's been enlightening to be sure.  

 HEY LEO any thoughts on using really light gear for panfish and playing a long time . Lactic acid or acidosis in the blood from long struggles. Years ago it was a big debate in the trout world I used to be a part of a LLLLLLLLLLLLLONG TIME AGO.. Leo I could be wrong about the terminology in the blood deal with the fishes , but for certain something happens during a prolonged fight and that is one of the reasons I personally use a little heavier fly rod . If they are going to be eaten it makes no difference I spose but if going to be release why not release em in the best shape they can be in ..... Just my slant on it and sure lots of folks will disagree with me on this , but it's just my own view. ...

Tooty, we're all stupid in some way, in some form, transition from our earlier youthful years to our decrepit years. I'm still stupid/foolish in a lot of ways. As we learn, we evolve. This is what the discussions are about. Learning, and evolving.

Ultralight gears do play the panfish, but if you time it, it doesn't take more than 10 seconds, to even 20 seconds of play. Imagine the mimicking of the struggles they have to perform their chasing/foraging in the wild. Meal just doesn't come dropping down in front of them. They have to dart and chase. However, when we land something big, like a carp, kitty, bass, or a titan of somekind on the ultralight, you bet that long play (exceeding 5 minutes) will build up a heck of lactic acid in their system. This exceed all their systemic capacity to recover quickly to avoid being prey to larger predators. It doesn't mean they can't recover. It'll take longer for them to recover, at the cost of them losing a bit of weight for not constantly feeding. However, when that tug-o-war goes into the 30 minutes and into the hours, well, let's just say the chance of survival is creeping down to the near nil.

Lactic acid exchange rate is based on the dissolved oxygen level in the water. If you have high load of oxygen in the water, even with the extreme fatigue, the fish will recover..eventually. Most water out there don't have that specialized dissolved oxygen content. So, the fish will pretty much die from oxygen deficit, since they can't swim as the muscles lock up, and not enough oxygen extracted from the water as it goes through the gillplates during lateral movements.

There's no issues with horizontal handling. We just need to handle them with a proper mindset. Horizontal handling of the lighter fishes can indeed be done with one hand, while lipping, and being supportive with the remaining fingers. Once you know the horizontal can't be done with one hand, and support the fish with your remaining fingers, secondary hand is required to cradle the fish horizontally. As everyone mentioned, the net is next best thing beside the wet hands. The best is removing the hook while the fish is still in the water. This is why I have this tool with me at all time:

http://dehooker4arc.com/

I have one for the larger species (from 6lbs bass to 40" habibut), and smaller one for the smaller species (from 6" trout to panfishes). Anything smaller, I have to use the surgical forceps.

But if you're catching them, and the results end up in your belly as food, it doesn't matter if you battle them for 5 seconds, to a few days, it truly doesn't make any different. There are plenty of anglers out there just want to have fun, or continue to have fun after the capture limits are reached (like me), proper practice should be used to instill the proper handling techniques into our habits, and ensure every aspect of the preservation is considered.

This is why conventional wisdom is paired by experience, and scientific knowledge.

WELL LEO as always you have my answers ...... Sounds terrifying for the fish that do back after a long battle and your observations of normal life for a gill is insightlfull to say the least. Almost makes me want to quit fishing !!!!!!!!! Naw just teasing my friend. 

 YOU KNOW MY BACKGROUND LEO and becoming more sensitive to things around me as I age are getting the best of me . I used to relish squirrel hunting with my son and can't do it anymore except maybe once a year. just can't squeeze the trigger on em anymore and if I thought about it more I'd probably give up fishing and become a Stamp Collector or some such harmless hobby.........

  

Squirrel hunting to stamp collecting?! Something is wrong with you Tooty..hehehehehe.

I still relish on the 1100fps trigger-pulling on the flying rats around here (pigeons). I would love to shoot those annoying 24/7 barking rats (chihuahua..consist of 80% of the dogs the California urbanized neighborhoods) too, but, I don't want the neighbors to do file lawsuits.

Leo I used to hunt with an Anschutz rifle for 30 years for the tree rats and llllllllloved to make eye ball shots on em , no pain whatsoever for em they just FADE TO BLACK. Can't do it to much anymore due to my consious bothering me . The rifles I used were costly but I thought that's what the squirrels deserved to meet their demise with , now I just let em run free buddy.........

The season opens Aug. 15th here in the Hoosier state, Tooty......I'll be out looking through the crosshairs......

Well folks I need squirrel hunters, I 've got so many squirrels at my farm some of them have to sleep on the ground   LOFR

  What Leo said, LOFR

HEY MAN WERE YA LIVE ? LOTS OF SQUIRRELS NO PROBLEMO......

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