For a sport fisherman, a taxidermied marlin, sailfish or other trophy fish hanging on the wall might be his prized possession. However, keeping a trophy fish isn’t always a possibility when you’re deep sea fishing, nor is it the most humane option available.
Instead of taxidermizing the fish or cooking it for dinner, everyone should consider catch-and-release fishing while they’re on private fishing charters in Hawaii. Continue reading to learn how to properly release fish back into the ocean to ensure they’re able to swim away relatively unharmed.
Minimize fight time
Any fish you hook is going to fight for its life while it’s on the line. It’s not unlikely that the fish will jump out of the water and struggle mightily to unhook itself and swim away. As you can imagine, the longer the fish has to fight, and the more time it spends out of the water, the lower the probability that the fish survives. The faster you can reel in the fish, the greater the chance that the fish lives to see another day. Additionally, you’ll be less tired if you have to spend less time reeling!
Keep it wet
You don’t need to be a marine biologist to know that fish need water to survive. The longer the fish is out of the water, the more likely it’ll perish. If you can, remove the hook while the fish is in the water, so that it doesn’t ever have to leave its natural habitat. If you do have to bring it on board, handle the fish with wet gloves and lay it on a wet towel while the hook is removed. Doing so will help preserve the fish’s natural slime that defends against bacteria and parasites.
As mentioned above, unhooking in the water is the preferred method. However, that’s not always a possibility, especially with bigger fish. If you must take the fish out of the water to unhook it, do it as quickly as you possibly can. Take care when removing the hook, as being too rough can be just as harmful as taking too long.
Don’t throw it
Would you want to be thrown off a boat into the ocean? Probably not! So, treat the fish as you would want to be treated and release it gently back into the water. Take care and put the fish in the water facing forward, not backward, as this can damage the gills and kill the fish.
Be smart about photos
We know you’ll want a photo with your fish to post on your Instagram account, but don’t spend too much time posing for photos with the fish, since a fish can’t breathe while it’s out of the water. Also, be careful of how you hold the fish! Never grip the gills or underbelly, and make sure your hands are wet while holding it.
For a fishing trip that’s just as enjoyable for you as it is safe for the fish you’re catching, be sure to choose Sea Wife Charters! Our dedication to safety and fun makes us the number one choice when it comes to private fishing charters in Hawaii.