Didn’t I Just Catch You Awhile Ago?

With catch-and-release fishing we find ourselves landing a fish and then releasing it back
into the water, only to catch (what looks like) the same fish again. I find myself thinking…”Boy, these fish must really be hungry or dumb, biting on the bait after just being caught!” But, wait! There’s a “reel” good possibility that this is not the same fish, but a different one of the same species. You probably haven’t landed the first one again, and here’s the reason why:

  • First – many of these fish are school fish, they swim in large groups. There’s a gazillion of them down there, and the competition for food is intense.
  • Second- the “experience” of being caught is a stressful one (for the fish, AND the fisherman!). A fish uses up a lot of energy trying to get away.
  • Third – when back into the water they probably sense that they just had an unpleasant experience. That fish is going to find a nice, deep, quiet spot to get a little “R and R” and build his energy back up. He probably won’t eat for a little while yet.

Catch-And-Release techniques should be carefully performed. Don’t let the fish hit the dock or any other obstructions. Don’t step on any fish (REALLY?). Handle the fish with wet hands, if possible, and get the hook out as quickly and gently as possible. Support a large fish under the middle of it’s body, and drop, don’t throw, a fish back to the water. Certain deep-water protected species, it may be necessary to deflate the fish’s swim bladder with
a special tool for this purpose, before releasing it. If you’re going to keep your catch, he goes right on the ice, but that’s another story. Be kind to our finny friends and they’ll be around a long time!

Fish On!
Gene O’Connell
321/773-4647 or [email protected]