Catch & Release Fish Handling Tips
- Don’t hold the fish out of the water for more than 30 seconds.
- Wet hands and hold fish by lip with one hand and support its body with the other hand.
- Hold fish over water in case it is dropped.
- For videos about safe handling, care and proper catch-and-release techniques visit dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/bass/videos.aspx
- When removing the hook, use a soft rubber or small-mesh nylon landing net to hold fish, or firmly hold the fish with a wet rag or glove.
- Use a non-offset circle hook when using bait to reduce the potential for deep-hooking the fish.
- Use barbless hooks with artificial bait. Barbs can be pinched down with pliers or filed off.
- Always have pliers, a de-hooker or hemostats handy for deeply hooked fish.
- If the hook cannot be removed from a deep or gut hooked fish without causing bleeding to the fish, then leave the hook in and cut the line as close to the mouth as possible.
- Try reviving a fish that is not lively by opening its mouth and pulling it forward to force water over the gills.
- Additional information is available at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/pages/catch-and-release.aspx. See Sharks for shark release recommendations.