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I recently emailed some catch and release photos of some trophy trout caught in Baffin Bay to a buddy of mine to entice him to come down and take a fishing trip with me. I was surprised when I got the reply because he had some interesting comments about the way the gentlemen in the pictures were handling the fish. He stated when you hold a trout by the bottom lip (like from your boga), and lift him vertically out of the water without supporting his body that the fish will certainly die. He said that it tears something in their "guts" and it is certain doom for the trout. Has anyone heard this? Is this true?
 

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The best way to release any fish is to never take it out of the water. If you must, cradle it's belly with your hand and hold it horizontally to reduce as much stress as possible on the internal organs. Also, use wet hands as much as possible.
 

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as everyone knows, speckled trout are actually called "spotted weakfish." the reason they are named this is because of their "weak" and tender mouth structure. so yes, holding them by their mouth could, and probably would, cause serious damage to their mouthparts. if you handle them by the mouth, most of them will probably die upon release. a speckled trout does not have the oral bone structure of a bass, or a redfish, therefore, you should never handle a trout by it's mouth.
 

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Nailsy, I have heard that too. When they are held up vertically, some of their internal structure is damaged, and things shift, especially on the larger trout. I don't know if this is true or not, but if there is a chance it is, we should probably handle them the way Bigfrost suggests.
 

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If this is true, everyone should make note of it. People take a lot of pride in "CPR" on trophy trout. It is not doing any good if we are handling the fish wrong, photographing them and then releasing them only to die.
 

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Ok, this is a good topic, BUT........ I have to catch a "Trophy" trout first! :headknock


Dustin?
 

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I used to work for TPW&D in the hatchery at Sea Center. It is amazing on how many do live after handling them. At the time we handled them pretty much any way you can think of. We did not have any Boga Grips so I am not sure about the support idea. I do think there is a lot of truth about this. As much as I have read on this I have made sure that we support them so they will not be in danger.

Give me a call Jeff W. and we may be able to get together soon and catch a few of these trophies you have been asking me about.

Capt. Dustin Lee
Fish'N Addiction Guide service
[email protected]

Team Lone Star Graphite Rods.
 

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TopWater Tango
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Nailsy said:
He stated when you hold a trout by the bottom lip (like from your boga), and lift him vertically out of the water without supporting his body that the fish will certainly die. He said that it tears something in their "guts" and it is certain doom for the trout. Has anyone heard this? Is this true?
He may be 100% correct, I'm no expert. But, I do know they will die for sure in a cooler full of ice.

I too wish someone of great knowledge would tell us the BEST way to handle a fish before release. I hear, "don't use net's because of the slime issue" , now "don't use a Boga and lift them straight up from the water", " try to handle the fish as little as possible". Dang, next someone will say we need to remove the hooks from our top waters. I know it's already been said.

I want the fish I release to live to fight another day, so what to do? This is the million dollar question.

Jed
 

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redlegg said:
He may be 100% correct, I'm no expert. But, I do know they will die for sure in a cooler full of ice.

I too wish someone of great knowledge would tell us the BEST way to handle a fish before release. I hear, "don't use net's because of the slime issue" , now "don't use a Boga and lift them straight up from the water", " try to handle the fish as little as possible". Dang, next someone will say we need to remove the hooks from our top waters. I know it's already been said.

I want the fish I release to live to fight another day, so what to do? This is the million dollar question.

Jed
Like you said, they ain't surviving a trip to the ice chest. As far as I am concerned I will do the best I can and we'll just take our chances. I see ups and downs to every method. For example, a net may remove some slime but on the other hand it will let you cut the fight down and let you release a much less exhausted fish. A Boga is good but the fish has to be pretty worn down to get it on her, same as with hand landing, and you stand a higher chance of loosing the fish. I don't know what to think on weighing them with a Boga. I don't think there is conclusive proof that it kills them.

I don't know. I think I'll just keep doing the best I can. I know not all of them survive release but some will and that is good enough. None survive the ice bath.
 

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Hmmm, perhaps a new phraze for conservation should be born. "Just catch 10" This would mean to catch and ice 10 trout and then go fish for something else so the death and mahem stop at 10? ;)

*ducks and runs for cover*
 

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"He may be 100% correct, I'm no expert. But, I do know they will die for sure in a cooler full of ice."

Redlegg

I grab 'em and unhook 'em and let 'em go.
Most of the time when I catch big trout I'm alone anyway, and there isn't a good way to get a photo.

Let's face it. An album full of "dead fish pictures" is not very interesting.IMO
I know some of you keep one.LOL

Uh, here's me and a dead fish and here's me and another dead fish,and.................
 

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justletmein, that's great. Do whatever makes you happy. I for one am not on the water to judge people. So long as you are legal you can do whatever makes you happy.

Some folks like Redlegg and I like to target big trout. It is what gives us a charge. We catch plenty of smaller fish to eat along the way and we do keep enough of those to eat as we need them. When we catch big trout we typically will release them if at all possible. On a good day I will catch multiple fish over 25" and it just isn't legal to keep them (over 1) not to mention I really don't want to eat trout that size. I'd much rather eat some 16-20" fish personally. I'd say I release 90% of the trout I catch that are over 24". That is just how I like to do it. I am not pushing that on anyone, though.

Redlegg and I fished together a couple weeks ago and I released one over 30". I could have kept her and had a skin mount done. I could have kept her and slid a fillet knife down her backbone. It was my perogative to revive her and release her. I feel good about it. I'm not saying anyone else needs to do it unless they want to.

On the flip side if you like to "Just Kill 10" then do it, just don't push it on folks who want to C&R the ones they don't need for eating.
 

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Don't mind me Salty, I'm just a little frisky today for some reason. I'm with you on not pushing anything on folks and I'll reserve my "JKX" campain for those trying to push the "JK5" on me. On a side note though, if we found out that a certain percentage of released fish did not make it at what point should we consider stopping the C&R practice? 40%? 50%? I doubt that it's that high though, probably more like 10% if you're careful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Relax Guys, I just wanted to know if anyone had some substantial evidence to deny or support this claim. I've read all the JKX threads and hopefully thats where those comments and opinions will stay.
 

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Yes guys, lets please not turn this into a "just keep however many" debate. We all would just like to know what is the best way to handle big trout in order to assure a sucessful release. Does holding upright by the boga really damage them? Does using a net really take too much slime off of them? These are the questions we are needing answers to.
 

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Just call me JJ
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Well like the others said, handle as little as possible. I can't say for trout, but know that large sharks kinda crush their insides with their own weight if you pull them too far out of the water so at least there's some sort of precident (sp?). Just try to use both hands and if you have to weight with a boga do it real slowly and don't jar the fish around as that's what will cause tears.
 
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