“Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” Mark Twain — The Great Outdoors (@MyGreatOutdoors) February 21, 2015
The practice of catch and release in recreational fishing is one of great debate. Many anglers believe that releasing is important to help conserve species and save money on stock fish. However, opposing anglers believe that fish, much like humans, feel pain and that catching and then releasing a fish could cause irreversible trauma.
I am one to release, mainly because I can’t stand the thought of killing a living thing, but also because I am never going to eat all of the fish that I catch (sounds like I catch a bounty of trout right?).
It is true that research shows fish do have pain perception, but it isn’t as big of a deal as some make it. Fishes’ mouths are made out of cartilage so a hook entrance is a lot like a pierced ear. There is little pain or bleeding to the area. If the practice of releasing is done carefully and correctly, the fish shouldn’t suffer much trauma at all.
Using barbless hooks is a very proactive way to lessen the pain inflicted on the fish. A barbless hook makes it much easier for a fisherman to slide the hook out of the fishes mouth with little struggle.
Another thing to keep in mind is that fish need to be in the water. So don’t keep the fish out too long measuring it and taking pictures. Be quick and gentle when releasing the little guy.
Here is an awesome video on how to perform the most gentle catch and release as possible. Plus, the narrator’s accent is positively dreamy.