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January 24th, 2000

Lip a Trout?
By James Castwell

I suppose you read these things to find out stuff. After all, your time is worth something and now you have given a bit of it to me. I am not sure you are going to get your moneys worth on this one. I don't have the answers, just more questions.

If there was an answer, I would have tried to find it for all of us. But, so far, nothing. No common agreement among those who are perhaps guilty but like to look 'macho,' and those who would like to look 'knowledgeable' but may injure fish by so doing. It is about releasing fish. All kinds of fish; trout, bass, pike, salmon, any specie of fish. Let's take a look at some of the questions.

I want to release a fish, it may be the wrong size to keep or I just want to release it for some other reason. I reach down and grip the fish with my hand and as gently as I can, squeeze the fish as I lift it some, and remove the hook. It squirms and I squeeze only a little more. Still not enough to really hurt the fish. Right? I don't know. How much is too much? Let's say the fish is a trout, why not use the lower jaw like the bass guys do? Would it hurt them? It might, but where are any reports on it written? Would it be better than grabbing it? I don't do it, but I don't know.

I'll bet some of you watch the fishing shows on TV. Now, correct me here, but aren't these guys supposed to be experts? Professionals? Shouldn't I be able to watch them and learn the right way to do things? But they all seem to things their own way. Seems to me there should be a best way to do all these things.

The other part of all of this is how to hold one up for the camera, or just to get it over the side of the boat. I know you have seen this happen. Our star puts one or two fingers into the gill plate and holds the fish up. Not in between the gill rakers, but between them and the inside of the gill plate. Is this a good thing? Does it cause any infection? If it is just fine, why don't they all do it?

There doesn't seem to be any consistent method of doing things among the experts and the professionals. And I reckon no one will do any study just because of this column. Maybe it only will make some of us think about these ideas once in a while. That may not be too bad a thing after all.

Like I said, you didn't get any answers, just more questions. Sometimes that's all I have. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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