How to Properly Handle Bass During Catch & Release

April 14, 2017

How to Properly Handle Bass During Catch & Release

WARNING: This is a little bit of a rant. But I think it's important you read it and help spread the message. I'd love to hear your opinion on the matter too.

This is something that I see almost every time I go out fishing these days - and it drives me absolutely nuts!

What is it you ask?

Fellow anglers completely mishandling bass and potentially hurting them in the process.

What is the point of catch & release when such a large number of anglers don't handle bass the right way and thereby put these fish at risk to die a lingering death after they are released?

Although bass are generally pretty tough critters, it's still essential that we handle them right so that they stand the biggest chance of survival when they are released.

Here as some of the basics that every bass angler should be aware of:

  • Wet your hands before touching the fish.
  • Using your dominant hand, grip the fish with your thumb inside the mouth and your fingers locked on the outside of the mouth.
  • Support the rear of the fish with your other hand placed beneath the fish just ahead of the tail.
  • Lift the fish out of the water in a horizontal position using both hands for support.
  • Do not hold the fish by the lower jaw in a vertical position. (This can dislocate or break the jaw, essentially putting a death sentence on the bass).
  • Handle the fish only when putting it into a live-well or holding tank.
  • Do not keep the fish out of the water or keep removing it from the water for photographs.
  • If you must handle the fish, try to do so out of the wind and keep it out of the water as little as possible.
  • Wind can dry out the eyes and gills quickly, resulting in further damage.

You also always want to have a good pair of fishing pliers with you that allows you to swiftly remove the hook, so that you're able to release it back in the water as quickly as possible (check out our Multi-Use Pliers here).

I hope you found this useful and help spread the message to anglers that might not handle their bass the right way.

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