FREE LINE 03 - Page 184

Fish Care
By Peter Kingsbury
am going to talk through
what I believe is the best way
to unhook, weigh and photograph your prize capture
safely. The inspiration behind
writing this piece is my own
observations whilst fishing this spring
on a local water where I observed fish
being lifted from the water by the
handle of the landing net, causing it
to break, and also the lack of care and
attention paid to the way the fish is
lying, and not checking the fins before
lifting. Now these are very important
to the fish, which are very delicate,
and if a fin breaks, it can become
infected or will keep breaking, and the
fish will become stressed.
1. Firstly, before you fish a water,
make sure that you have suitable
equipment - large unhooking mat,
large weigh sling and a large 42in
2. Once you have had the fight of a
lifetime and your prize is netted,
check that the fish is fine, secure
(Below) What to do once your prize
fish has been netted.
(Above right) Always check fins
before collapsing the net and carrying
the fish to unhooking mat.
(Below right) Always have a suitable
unhooking mat and sling, make sure
it is positioned away from hard
ground, preferably on even grassy
ground, and make sure it is wet before
putting a fish on it. Also check
position to avoid shadowy photos –
this fish could be a PB and you don’t
want shadows on the fish.
the net, and bite your line above
whatever leader you are using.
This enables you to get the rod
out of the way.
3. When you have checked the fish
is in the net ok, make sure your
unhooking mat is in a suitable
position. Try to get a piece of flat,
soft ground, avoid gravel pathw a y s o r s l o pe s , a nd w e t the
unhooking mat with lake water.
4. Get the weigh sling and scales
wet with lake water, and then
shake to get rid of the excess
water. Zero the scales with weigh
sling attached, and put the weigh
sling on the mat and the scales to
the side.
5. Next get the antiseptic and forceps to hand.
6. L o o k t h r o u g h t h e c a m e r a t o
check if the shots would be suitable – no shadows on the fish or
yourself. I always find a spot to
take my trophy shots before I
have even caught anything.


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