Angling has evolved greatly in the last 40 plus year’s since I first picked up a rod, and one of the biggest advance’s in the last 2 decade’s is the growing appetite for better Catch & Release practice’s among sporting angler’s, most of it is common sense associated with good fish handling, but here are some good point’s to consider, and more can be found on RecycledFish.org U.S. group’s has carried out much research on C & R and have based the following from their finding’s. We as angler’s have a powerful positive -or negative- impact on the water’s we fish, catch + release is at the heart of it, because it’s one of the most tangible thing’s an angler can do to benefit fisheries. Consider where your fishing : Can you safely bring a fish to hand and release it from above the waterline eg pier, bridge, rock’s ? If your serious about the fish’s survival consider fishing from a spot that allow’s you to legitimately land and release fish safely and gently. Choose your tackle wisely: The right size hook’s and line strength for the fish your going to target is a good place to start if you intend to release your fish, remember fish caught with lure or fly using single hook’s have the best chance of survival, change treble’s for single’s if possible. Pinch down the barb’s on all of your hook’s : Barbless hook’s allow for a much easier and quicker release of your fish, with less damage to the fish’s mouth, use your plier’s/forcep’s to pinch down the barb’s on your hook’s, you’ll be surprised by how few fish you lose, and you’ll wish you done it long ago, your plier’s/forcep’s are a great asset for un-hooking also. Don’t fight your fish any longer than necessary : Purposely allowing your battle with a fish to continue when it’s not necessary place’s undue strain on on the fish, exhausted fish often swim away but die day’s later because of lactic acid that build’s up in their system, the longer they fight the more toxic lactic acid that build’s up, you should land your fish swiftly, but not carelessly – after all the point is to land the fish!! Keep fish in the water : Don’t lift your fish out of the water, don’t even touch the fish if you don’t have to, many fish can be released without ever touching , just bend over remove hook’s with your plier’s or hand and let it swim away. Research has shown that keeping a fish in the water dramatically increase’s it’s chance’s of survival, fish kept out of water for more than 1 minute have a greatly diminished chance of survival, once a fish has been out of the water for 3 minute’s it has virtually no chance of survival even if it swim’s away. Keep your hand’s wet when holding fish : If you do handle a fish, and you do it with dry hand’s it will cause some of the protective coating ( mucus ) on the fish’s skin to come off, this coating is designed to protect fish from disease, wet hand’s reduce this risk and can actually make it a little easier to handle your catch. Maintain control of the fish : Fish that are allowed to trash around on land or on a boat harm themselve’s and expend a lot of undue energy, control it by grabbing it’s bottom lip or grabbing it across the back, avoid squeezing the fish around the belly. Keep small fish vertical when holding them by the jaw, use a horizontal hold for larger fish : If you catch a bass or another fish that you will lift from the water by the jaw, be sure to keep the body in a straight up and down position, DON’T attempt to hold the fish at a 45 degree angle or in a horizontal position by the jaw alone, you can dislocate the fish’s jaw dooming it to starvation. If you catch a large fish be SURE to hold it horizontally at all time’s, as they have lived their life in suspension, and a vertical hold can tear their internal organ’s, viscera, and dislocate’s their spine, for a horizontal photo of the fish wet your other hand ( not holding the mouth or jaw ) and support the fish under the belly to take the stress off the jaw and internal organ’s. Use long nose plier’s/forcep’s ; Plier’s and similar tool’s allow you to remove hook’s with better control and limit’s your” hand’s on” contact with the fish, I always carry both forcep’s and plier’s which are capable of snipping though hook’s if need be. Knotless mesh landing net’s ; A great asset on any boat is a knotless landing net, if you use a net make sure it’s a soft, or knotless mesh which is less abrasive against the fish’s skin and slime, along with the cradling support of the net it make’s for safe fish handling. Release your fish promptly ; The best bet for your fish’s survival is to let it go immediately. Revive your fish carefully ; In moving water hold your fish pointing into the current in a slower portion of the river/flow until it is revived and swim’s away on it’s own, there’s still debate about moving the fish back and forth or just holding it in the water. Take photo’s as quickly as possible ; The practice of catch-photo-release is a good one, it’s our favorite kind of “CPR”, but photo’s should be taken quickly with minimum impact on the fish, photo’s with the angler in the water holding a fish, dripping water, about to be released make’s a great photo, statement, and future generation’s will benefit from today’s catch and release.