Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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This made the rounds over at PondBoss, thought it might serve us as well over here. Beware the one handed grip! Broken jaws may not be apparent to the angler, but the damage to the bass can be terminal.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=4...

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If I hold them by the jaw, I do so vertically and make every effort to support them. I don't hold them in the horizontal "jaw breaker" pose.

If at all possible, I work the hook loose while they stay in the water. Its one reason I use barbless hooks (the other reason is the one time I put the barb into my hand... I only needed one such episode to learn.)

I think vertical is the jaw breaker. You might have your 'zontals twisted...

Correct. The one handed vertical hold is dangerous also.

I had read that even 2 handed vertical wasn't a good idea on the larger ones. As a practical matter it is hard to support them well standing on their tails. I am not sure what the lower limit is where it starts mattering. On a related note, we need to eat more bass. In Texas they are actually pushing the idea because they need to thin the herd to get more large ones. It was hard to maintain a good bass fishery when nearly everyone kept them and they managed to get bass fishermen to adopt C&R almost universally. Turns out it is also hard to maintain a good bass fishery when nearly no one keeps them.

Andy, it depends on the desired goals for the fishery. If big bass are the goal, then culling the smaller bass is usually recommended. If big bluegills are the goal, then releasing lots of smaller bass is a real good idea.

I don't know where the size comes in, as far as the jaw hold doing damage to a bass....it would seem that smaller bass would survive such handling easier than larger fish, but, perhaps their jaw structure is correspondingly weaker due to their smaller size?

One thing I am fairly confident of however: holding a bass, ANY sized bass, horizontally using two wet hands, has miniscule chance of harming the fish.

not if you hold them with your thumb in the mouth straight locking their mouth open and not by the jaw itself.those big females full of eggs like the one in the left pic should never be handled anyway.i know its hard to not get a pic of a trophy bass but we dont help our cause by mishandling fish.i young guy at my club actually had his foot on a bass trying to rip the hook out.i told he ever does that again i'd do the same to him.i think he believed me.

Interesting - top lip them? I thought one of the reasons the bottom lip grip is so popular is that it pretty much paralyzes them though. Do they still quit head shaking if you top lip them?

bottom lip but thumb way in there.no stress on the jaw itself.thats why i never understood the design of a bass boat.you have to kneel on the deck just to get at the fish or even net it.i know you have a better vantage point but a deep v is so much easier to fish out of.and you can support yourself leaning over the side all your stuff stays inside not all over the deck.

As the saying goes.."Get a grip on tail and lip"....

So holding them, period, is bad.
That adds a challenge.... Good thing I've got a net.

But then, I've never caught a big bass, so I may not have to worry.
Fish and I have an arrangement:
I agree to come say hello, enjoy the peace and quiet, and show them my flies.
They, in return, agree to not bite them or get caught.
It's a win-win.

If you're fishing alone, and trying for that selfie while holding a large bass, then I think the potential for harming the fish due to improper hold is definitely there. Holding a bass horizontally, with wet hands, while supporting it's weight equally, is your best shot. And it's doable.

But probably not while snapping selfies.

Because I fish alone, 95% of the time. I usually get pics in the water, or with the fish on the grass, leaves, etc.

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