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5 Tips for Catch and Release

Now that deer hunting season is officially closed for the summer, we’ve officially moved on to our favorite summer fishing holes. Even though we’re racking up as many Big Mouth Bass as possible, there will always be a few fishing holes where we’ll need to catch and release. Just in case you’re gotten too used to bringing them home, here’s a refresher on catch and release.


1. Bring the Right Tools

When you head out on a lake or a river where catch and release is mandatory, you have to make sure you’ve got the right tools.   In addition to your regular gear and tackle box, at the very least you’ll need a set of needle nose pliers and a knife or some scissors.  But, while we’re on the subject it’s equally important to make sure you have extra line, additional hooks and various lures and bobbers (depending on which type of fishing you’re doing.)


2. Remove the Hook

After you land your catch and take your picture for proof, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the hook. Especially when it’s one of your good lures, you’re going to need your pliers to to get that hook out. If you can’t get the hook out easily, the best thing to do is leave the hook in place and cut the live with your knife so you don’t rip the fishes’ gills. A good reminder is to use a single hook rather than multi-point hooks when you know you’ll be catch and release fishing.


3. Hold the Fish in Water

Once you get you’ve removed the hook, you’ll need to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. But, before you can fully release the fish back into the water you’ll need to relief the shock.One additional note, when holding your fish, don’t just hold it by the bottom lip. Be sure to use your other hand to support the fish under it’s belly and behind its pectoral fins.


4. Fish CPR

If you took a little longer trying to rescue your favorite lure, your fish may need a slower reintroduction into the water. Once your fish is in the water move it around in a figure eight pattern to move water across the gills and get your fish breathing properly again.


5. Release the Fish into the Water 

Now that you’ve properly retrieved your lure and reintegrated your fish into the water, you can finally let it go, and hope you don’t catch it again a few minutes later.
Now that you’ve remembered how to actually let a fish go somewhere other that your cooler, you’re ready to hit any fishing hole and fish the summer away.
Where are some of your favorite catch a release spots?
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