The Fish Picture

tfo_logo_ovalBy Lefty Kreh and TFO

The fish photo is often a visual reward for that long planned trip and hard earned catch. But, in all of the excitement of hooking and landing a fish, anglers often forget that a sudden jerk out of the water and a tight grip can harm the fish.

Here an angler demonstrates poor hand placement when holding a fish in a lip grip.

Here an angler demonstrates poor hand placement when holding a fish in a lip grip.

Even the angle at which a fish is held can impact its chances of survival.

A common pose with salmon and steelhead anglers, the "dig in," can have negative consequences for the internal health of the fish.  ©Nick Conklin, Temple Fork Outfitters.

A common pose with salmon and steelhead anglers, the “dig in,” can have negative consequences for the internal health of the fish.
©Nick Conklin, Temple Fork Outfitters.

The most common catch photo is of the angler holding the fish with one hand in a vertical angle. This pose is most popular with largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers; however, toothy fish have often bared the brunt of this “dangling” pose. Whether held by the lip or the bottom of the tail (permit anglers we’re looking at you!) dangling a fish by either end can cause severe internal injuries. Popular among salmon and steelhead anglers is the “digging in” pose. The fish is held with the head at a downward angle and tail end pointing up. Poses like this can be especially damming, as internal damage can result. Similar to deer and humans, a fish’s organs are contained in a thin sac. When held vertically or at odd angles, gravity can cause the weight of their organs to fatally tear though the thin lining. Don’t handle the fish if possible. The best scenario is to bring the fish close, but, while still in the water remove the fly or lure.

Fish can be fatally harmed if held improperly with a lip grip. ©Nick Conklin, Temple Fork Outfitters.

Fish can be fatally harmed if held improperly with a lip grip.
©Nick Conklin, Temple Fork Outfitters.

Some states even have strict regulations against lifting fish out of the water to be photographed. So, before hoisting that fish out of the water for a photo, check the regulations, or else that toothy smile may turn into a frown.

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About templeforkoutfitters
Armed with a lifetime passion for fishing, we set out to establish a new standard of value for fly and conventional rods. We have relied on our own experience and advice of many professionals in creating what we believe is the perfect marriage - price and performance. Sound too good to be true? Cast one and you be the judge.

2 Responses to The Fish Picture

  1. Wild Bill says:

    So what is the correct way to hold a fish?

    • “Wild Bill”

      Thanks for the question.

      Briefly, the best advice stated in the article is, “Don’t handle the fish if possible. The best scenario is to bring the fish close, but, while still in the water remove the fly or lure.”

      If you have any further questions, or even suggestions on proper fish handling techniques, please shoot me a note at Nick@tforods.com.

      Thank you!

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