Perhaps you do not have the time to grill` a large fish while on your Hawaii fishing adventure. Maybe you think you can catch something bigger. It’s also possible you just want to catch a fish rather than kill it. These and many more are good reasons for using catch and release when fishing in the ocean. However, you need to know how to do this correctly. Here are five tips on the catch and release of large fish in Hawaii:
- Hold fish correctly: Due to their bulk, large fish are more sensitive to the landing process than they appear. You need to be just as careful with them as you are with smaller fish, which can be difficult because they are heavy. While this pose is frequently featured in pictures, do not hold a fish vertically by its jaws or gills. That separates the vertebrae in their spines. Instead, hold the fish horizontally, with one hand holding the tail and the other right below the chin. Rest the fish’s belly on the boat rail or your lap.
- Wet your hands: Fish are covered with a protective slime that can go away if you handle the fish with a towel, gloves or your dry hands. Wet your hands first before touching the fish. That will preserve their slime and keep them from catching infections.
- Do not touch the gills: The gills are the most sensitive and vital organ on every fish. They are protected by gill plates for a reason, and that is why you should never touch or mess with them. Even a small brush against the gills can damage them. Wet your hands and keep them away from the gills.
- Allow recovery time: If you were forced underwater and then brought back to the surface, you would not be able to run a marathon right away. You would need some time to catch your breath and regain your strength. Fish are the same way, and you need to allow recovery time or you might as well just hand your catch off to a predator. Place them in the water, holding them by the tail. Move them from side to side in a swimming motion. When the fish starts to animate and “kick” to escape you, that is a good sign it is nearly time to let go. Once the fish is vigorous, let it go.
- Watch your catch: If possible, watch your fish as it recovers. Sometimes, they need a little help and you can hold them in place or move them from side to side more to reduce lactic acid buildup. Sometimes, you may even be able to get into the water and help them out if they are struggling. You can prevent these situations by allowing for a long recovery time rather than merely throwing them back.
Sea Wife Charters offers many opportunities for fishing in the ocean in Hawaii, whether it is to catch quarry for your fish fry or practice catch and release. Contact us today to schedule your charter.