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I just read an article in the Sport Fishing Magazine about releasing big fish. The jist of the article says that if you hold a big fish in a verticle state with a Boca Grip or other device, it causes internal injuries to the fish. The article says that fish held in the verticle position causes damages to organs and connecting membranes designed to be constantly bouyed by the thickness (density) of water. When fish are held by the mouth, gravity pulls things downward in a most unnatural way, straining organs and ripping tissue. This is also likely to be true of fish that are "tailed".

Fisheries biologist Ron Taylor states, "Large fish should never be held by the botton Jaw only, with a Boca Grip or similar tool...If unsupported, many large fish will rupture the ISTHMUS- a cartilaginous bundle of ligaments that connect the head and body- and the fish will die a slow death from starvation. The connection isthmus essential for the tremendous gulping action of large-mouthed predators when feeding."

Basically the article says that when lifting big fish for photos, support them with your other hand somewhere near its anal fin in a horizontal position.

Now, I am not sure how big a fish has to be,to be called a big fish, but it makes sense to me to support them in a horizontal plane as much as possible. Take its weight quickly and then support the fish by cradling it underneath...VJER
 

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I believe that you are not supposed to have sharks out of the water on the ground for extended periods of time as they have no bones and thier own weight will cause them to die of internal injuries.
 
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