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Fish Photo Handling

08 Nov

Jackie Hayden 40 inch northernIf fish are removed from the water for a photo or measurement, key aspects of proper handling include:

Keep it wet:
Avoid touching the fish with dry hands or putting them down on dry surfaces ( boat gunwhales or boat bottom, docks, shoreline rocks and sand) Dry hands and surfaces removes the scales and protective slime layer leaving the fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections. Only touch fish with wet hands or using a wet towel.

Use proper holding techniques:
Never hang a fish from their jaws/mouth/gills vertically. Hold all fish horizontally and support as much of its body as possible to avoid injuring its internal organs especially larger fish.

48.5" NORTHERN PIKE

48.5″ NORTHERN PIKE

Never grip a fish by the eye sockets if you intend to release it. By doing so you abrade its eyes, injure the surrounding tissue and may cause blindness

Learn the proper hand placement for holding fish under the jaw bone not in the gills. If you never held a large fish have a experienced angler or fishing guide show you, or have the guide hold your fish for the photo.

Measuring the Fish:
When you catch that trophy fish and your desire is to release it to fight again, but you wish to have the measurements for a fiberglass replica here’s what to do. If possible measure the fish in the water using a floating ruler or a tailor’s tape. Measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and around the girth of fish at the widest point of body. If you’re bringing the fish onboard for a measurement using a bump board (ruler with a stopper at one end) wet the ruler before you use it. The time for measuring and photo’s should be minimized to under 25 seconds.

Measuring Northern Pike

Measuring Northern Pike

For the sake of survival of the fish we discourage the use of conventional scales where the fish is hung by the jaw for weighing the fish to be released – it can damage the jaw or gills and places extra stress on the backbone and internal organs of the fish.

If you’re wondering how much you’re catch and released trophy weighed. We have a handy fish weight calculator to determine the approximate weight of your catch. Just Click Here

Releasing the fish:
Place the fish gently back upright in the water, holding the tail and supporting it’s weight by placing your hand under the belly, gently roll the fish side to side allowing it to get its bearings and catch its breath until it is fully able to swim off under its own power. If current is present it is important to face the fish into the current thereby allowing fresh, oxygenated water through its gills. Do not try to release or revive a fish using a thrusting forward/backward motion, the backward motion will suffocate the fish.

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Photo Tips
As catch and release fishing is growing in popularity amongst anglers, photography has become the most important way to record a trophy fish or a memorable moment from a fishing trip. A good quality photo will give you a reference for the fish’s exact coloration and particular markings, a skilled taxidermist can create a fiberglass lifelike replica mount or commission a custom trophy portrait that encompasses the entire story behind the catch, both are worthy of “fine art!”

The following few tips will help you take better pictures the next time you go fishing.

  • Before lifting the fish out of the water, have your camera turned on and ready to shoot. Don’t hurt the fishes chances of survival by keeping it out of the water for too long.
  • Shooting angles, always have the sun BEHIND the photographer, natural sunlight provides the best light with rich warm uniform colors and tones.
  • Always use the fill flash, even during mid day when the sun is at it’s peak. Using fill flash will add light to shadowy area’s of your photo.
  • Push back the hat and take off the sunglasses to remove the shadows hiding the anglers face, and remember that SMILE!
  • Don’t have the angler hands obscure any portion of the fish especially the head.  Keep hands as hidden as possible
  • Take a few photo’s to ensure that you get at least one good shot.

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