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Catch & Release Fish Handling Tips

Fishing Regulations Icon Maryland Fishing

Handling

  • 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

De-Hooking

  • 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.

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