Correct way to hold a fish

Here’s the correct way to hold a fish, holding it incorrectly will create issues for long term livability.

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You often see anglers, cottagers, weekend fisherman or your favorite fishing show on tv holding fish. Many are not aware of the correct and true way to hold a fish, regardless of the species.

From bass, red fish, grouper, walleye/pickerel, musky, salmon and even the smaller ones like crappie.

By holding the fish on an angel more than 10% you can severely damage it and limit its life span.

Below is an outline on why and a few photos (with a diagram) on the correct way.

Why is this a problem?

It’s a muscle thing. Bass (and all sunfish) eat by sucking prey into their buccal cavity (mouth).

It’s a five-step process that works like this:

  1. Open Jaw.
  2. Suck in water and prey.
  3. Close Jaw.
  4. Expel water out gills.
  5. Swallow prey (food).

It is that simple. However, the force generated to generate the necessary suction is considerable and requires a great deal of muscle strength. The muscles needed to do this are all jointly connected to the operculum fulcrum point (OFP). This is the same point where, in an improperly held fish, all the pressure of the fish’s body weight—suspended without support is focused. When those muscles are strained or injured, let alone torn, the fish’s ability to generate the suction necessary to capture prey is greatly reduced or, eliminated.

Make sense, next time think about this article and sustainability of the fisheries before holding your fish!

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One Comment

  1. Darryl Williams

    I have to say I never really thought about how to hold a fish correctly. Thank you for the correct information.

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