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Ethical Catch and Release practices for the modern fisherman

Recommended Catch and Release Practices

High quality sport fishing is enhanced by anglers who choose to practice catch-and-release
and proper handling practices. We help do this by harvesting only those fish you
will use, and releasing the rest of our catch unharmed in the best possible physical condition when you make the decision to harvest it for food or to release it. The following is a summary of suggested “best practices” that should be considered. The following is a summary of “best practices” that should be considered. These days many species her in NC have release or release only citations.

Choosing Your Tackle

  • Use strong enough line to bring your catch in quickly.
  • Fish caught with flies or lures survive at a higher rate than fish caught with bait.
  • Use hooks appropriate to the size of the fish. And CIRCLE hooks when appropriate. Substitute single hooks for trebles where appropriate. (required in some instances)
  • Use pliers to pinch barbs on hooks down. (required in some instances)

Landing Your Catch

  • Land your fish as carefully and quickly as possible.
  • Avoid removing the fish from the water.
  • Do not let fish flop about in shallow water, on the ground, or in the bottom
    of your boat.
  • Use landing nets made with soft rubber or knotless mesh.

Handling Your Catch

  • Keep your fish in the water.
  • Cradle large fish gently with both hands: one under its belly, one at the tail.
  • Keep your fingers out of and away from the gills and eyes.
  • Use wet hands or wet cloth gloves to handle the fish.
  • Never squeeze the fish.
  • Minimize time out of the water – Fish cannot remain healthy out
    of water for longer than you can hold your breath.

Removing Your Hook

  • Use long nose pliers or hook removers to back the hook out (ARC Dehookers, Catch & Hook, Hook Remover, EZ Hook Remover).
  • Remove the hook quickly, keeping the fish underwater.
  • When the fish is hooked deeply, cut the line to release the fish. If the fish
    is bleeding form (from) the gills, it is likely to die and, provided it’s of legal
    size, you should keep it as part of your bag limit.
  • Use steel hooks that will rust out, avoid stainless steel hooks. (Fast rusting bronzed are fine for bait, not so practical for artificials or flies.
  • Don’t hold fish up in the gill-plates.

Reviving Your Catch

  • Keep your catch in the water at all times. If you want to take a photograph,
    have the photographer get ready, then lift the fish barely out of the water
    and quickly return it to the water.
  • Point your catch into the water and gently move it back and forth until its gills are working properly and it maintains its upright balance. When the fish recovers and attempts to swim away, let it swim from your hands.
  • Large fish may take some time to revive.
  • Mention Problem of discarded fishing line.


Problem of Barotrauma

  • Reviving fish from depths. Problem of physics of gas expansion and pressure.
  • Floating at the surface, stomachs protruding out of the fish’s mouth, Bulging eyes, Flared gills, Inflated body cavities
  • 33 Feet Depth = one atmosphere (volume of gas doubles in air bladder).
  • Snapper, grouper, sea bass etc.
  • Fizz gas release method releasing gas with a syringe needle. Problem of damaging other organs if you misplace the syringe needle.
  • Descending device for release…SeaQualizer (


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