How to Hold a Bass
Whether it is your first catch, or you have been stringing them up for decades, reeling in a big fish is always an exciting experience. From the hook, to the fight to bring it in, to pulling it out of the water, it is a fun adrenaline rush that is hard to match if you are an avid fisherman. When you bring in a fish however, it is important that you hold the fish correctly. If you are releasing it back into the water, there are special techniques that you should follow in order to protect the fish and allow it to swim away freely. If you are unsure of how to properly hold the bass, here are some helpful tips and tricks.
One of the many common things typically seen when a fisherman reels in a bass is grabbing it by the jaw, and forcing it open too wide. While the hook will usually not do significant damage to the fish, holding it by the jaw incorrectly can break and distort the bass' jaw, which will do serious damage once you let it go.
Holding the bass by the lip and jaw isn't what does the direct damage to the fish, it is how the rest of the fish is suspended in the air while you are lip-holding it. The proper way to hold the fish is vertically if you are grabbing it by the jaw. This process will remove any tension and stress on the jaw of the fish and still allow you to grip it firmly. The problems come when you try to raise the bass to a horizontal position with only the jaw. This will force the jaw to open wider than it is supposed to, causing the damage we have discussed. If you do wish to bring the bass up horizontally, be sure to support the rest of its body with your other hand so you keep the jaw line in tact.
The other important part of bass fishing after the catch and hold is properly releasing it back into the water. While this may seem very simple and straightforward, you can cause problems for the bass if it is not done correctly. Many fisherman will try to shake the fish back and forth to get water in the gills, but this can get too much water in the stomach, causing swimming problems. To allow the fish to be safe and healthy moving forward, simply set it in the water and let it swim out of your hand.
Another rule to follow is to dip your hands in the water before handling the fish. This allows you to hold the fish without disturbing it. When you pick up a fish with your bare dry hands, you are rubbing off part of its protective covering such as certain bacteria that help to protect the fish.
Follow some of these simple tips and tricks and you will keep the bass safe and abundant for all the fisherman in the area.
- John Harley