Fish handling skills


The introduction of knotless kecpnets and landing nets has helped a great deal in preventing unnecessary dam-Use a rod rest to keep a big net fully extended in shallow water rent, and tails continually brushing against a keepnet will quickly be worn away. Choose the site for the keepnet before you begin fishing and try to avoid areas where half the keepnet length is out of water be-cause of a steep banking. A fish which is dropped so that it slithers down a length of dry netting will lose a lot of scales. If the water is swirling in several directions, as frequently happens at the edge of a river, pass a spare rod rest through the bottom end of the net and press it into the riverbed to keep the net extended.

Removing hooks

When you land a fish, try to unhook it as gently and efficiently as possible. Small hooks can be more difficult to remove than large ones, so always have your disgorger handy and use this if you have difficulty grasping the hook with your fingers. Don’t pull at the hook but gently ease it out. Barbless hooks are simple to remove even if the fish is hooked in the back of its mouth. With a larger fish it is easier to remove the hook whilst the fish is in the landing net. After unhooking a big fish, grasp it directly behind the gill cover with one hand and support the ‘wrist’ of the tail with the other hand. Gently place the fish into the kecpnet, don’t throw it. To return your catch at theend of the day simply lower the mouth of your keepnel. Tilt the bottom of the net up slightly, and let the fish swim out. If you want to weigh a particular specimen than place the fish in a polythene shopping bag or a landing net with the latter method, don’t forget to subtract I he weight of the net.

Should you want to take a photograph of a fish then make sure your camera equipment is ready before removing the fish from the net. Try to ensure that the fish is out of the water for the minimum time needed to take the photograph. Any fish you want to lake home for eating, such as trout or grayling, should be killed quickly and cleanly with a blow to the back of the head with a solid object. Do not kill any more fish than you need.

When you return coarse fish to the water ensure as far as possible they are as healthy as they were when you caught them keeping your hands wet helps avoid injuries to the fish.