What Is The Catch and Release Fishing Programme?
As the name suggests catch and release fishing is a practice that anglers use to return caught fish to the waters from which they were taken. There are different factors that encourage fishermen to return the fish they catch. They can range from an undersize fish being caught to their bag limits reaching their quota.
Catch and release has been widely adopted in all parts of Australia. The survival rate of fish being returned is high.
To maximise the safe return of fish it is important to follow some simple steps. The two major factors that lower the survival rate of the fish are poor handling and deep hooking.
Try and rig your fishing rod with artificial lures to increase the chances of catching fish by the mouth rather than the gut. In the event that the fish is hooked deeply cut the line as close to the mouth as possible. By doing this you will increase the survival of the fish from 12% to 85% as gutted hooks will be shed within 3 weeks. If you are using bait use a non-offset hook.
If you determine the fish is undersized then keep the fish in the water and unhook it. Having a pair of needle-nose pliers will also speed up the time of removing hooks from the fish. If the fish is hooked by the mouth remove the hook as quickly as possible.
How to handle a catch a release fish
When extracting the fish from the water the best method to use is a soft knotless fishing net A knotted landing net can damage the scales, eyes and fins of the fish. The soft knotted landing net increases fish survival dramatically. Once the fish is on your boat do not drop it onto a hard surface. If possible place the fish on a smooth wet area or a vinyl-covered mat and handle it with wet hands or wet gloves before trying to remove the hook. Avoid touching the fish by the gills and eyes.
Remember the fish is probably exhausted from the fight. So when you place it back into the water have it facing the current so the water can flow through its gills which will increase its recovery rate. If the fish is wanting to swim away release it.
Here is a list of fishing tools that will help you when you are releasing the fish you have caught back into the water system.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries DPI has produced a catch and release fishing mat that has colour image displays of some of the most popular fish caught. There is a conversion table that can give you the approximate weight of the fish from its length. The mats are made from UV material. The cost is $11.00 including GST for a single mat or $33 for a pack of 5.
The Hook Em Fishing Knotless Netting Landing Net is a heavy duty net with a 1.2m handle that features 2 EVA grips for comfortable operation. The outer ring of the net is made from heavy duty stainless steel to give you that added security when lifting fish once you have them secured into the net. $119.95
Frichy 11" Bent Nose Fishing Pliers
1. Drop forged high carbon steel, with functions of opening split rings, wire cutting and crimping.
2. Teflon anti-rust coated jaws.
3. Comfortable nonslip grips.
4. Size 11"
5. Cost $29.99