Catch and Release Best Practices

I was a little disappointed with the number of people who showed up for the most recent Tuesday night Zoom. Not from an ego standpoint. But rather from one of “we need this now more than ever.” One interpretation of the lower turnout would be that people already know C&R best practices. A casual scroll though Internet forums and social media shows this is far from the case: fish being held with dry hands. Striped bass (a stressed stock, remember?) being hefted vertically from their lips or laid onto boat decks. Wild brook trout being landed and photographed on rocks and twigs.

So please. Learn and practice safe catch and release principles: Barbless hooks. Land fish fast. Keep handling to a minimum and then only handle with wet hands. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a photo of that fish?” Keep fish totally submerged in your net, in current if possible, until you’re ready to shoot. For pics, it’s 1-2-3-lift-shoot. Then back into the net. (Ideal shot, we see water dripping from your hands and from the fish.) Consider underwater photography where the fish never leaves the water. Revive the fish if needed before release.

I know most of my readers already know this. I thank you. The fish thank you. The next angler who catches that fish thanks you. Please share this information with others as you see fit. And here’s a great catch-and-release best practices resource:

6 comments on “Catch and Release Best Practices

  1. Paul Ferri says:


    I had very busy evenings in January taken on a house project. I would have loved to attend the C&R Zoom but was unable too. Although I release fish “properly” there is always room to learn.

    My best technique is to no take a picture of them. I don’t need photos of 11” trout. So I try to remove the hook without taking them out if the water.

    See you soon.

    Paul Ferri

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Steve Culton says:

      Hey Paul, no worries. I didn’t mean to imply that I was disappointed with you or anyone specific, but rather that I wished I’d seen some new faces who desperately need to know this stuff. Good luck with your house project and see you next time!

  2. rich rubin says:

    Steve, do you use s 2 hand rod? If so in the salt?

    Good health is true wealth

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Rich, I sure do. My Salmo Sax is a switch rod, but I rarely use it in true TH mode anymore. That is reserved for my “Out Front” THer, a custom build from my friend Mike Oliver. Great rod for bombing it out there, whether the Mouth of the Hous or the West side beaches of Block.

  3. Jason says:

    Hi Steve, my punishment was having to watch the Rangers lose a game!
    Seriously, all fishermen, new or experienced, need to know how to protect the resources we have. Thanks for putting it out there! Jason

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