Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna L. Birkholm

November 9th, 1998

Pocket Cleaning

Fall being here, I decided it was time to clean out some pockets from a summer of travel and fishing.

One problem is a rather serious one; a couple of my fishing licenses are in one of those neat plastic holders some of the shops give out. The holders are in the nice inside-zippered pocket of my neoprene waders.

Living on the Pacific coast, we do fish some saltwater. Opps! Seems the manufacturer of the waders didn't figure anyone would ever wear their waders on the salt - so the zipper has metal parts. Parts that have now frozen or corroded themselves together. Again. An anomaly? Nope. My husband, JC has the same problem with his. Again.


Since the maker of my waders is Bare, which is about ten miles from the Pacific ocean, you would think they would have done a better job. I am disappointed to say the least. The waders do not leak, they are 3 or 4 years old, and fine. Except for a little attention to detail, like having a real plastic zipper on the pocket. Well maybe they figured no one ever gets seawater on the inside of their waders. Or that no one would ever hang waders by the feet for them to dry. Ya right.

I am really glad a Fisheries Enforcement Officer didn't ask for my license. Can you see me with my trusty jackknife cutting a hole in the pocket so I could retrieve my license? Shame on Bare! Did having metal instead of plastic really save a lot of money?

Back to the pockets...from my polar fleece jacket, I dug out a few more licenses. While I'm at it, our favorite polar fleece jackets also have a metal 'slider' on them. We have them working at the moment. And to be fair, Simms has offered to replace them. (Shouldn't have made them that way in the first place!)

In our travels this summer, we did purchase several fishing licenses. All are pretty much the same, although the costs did vary some. But one license was unusual. Maybe your state or province has the same thing, and if so, let me know and we will give them a pat on the back here too. What was nice, and I think a bit telling about the attitude of this state - which is Oregon, USA, is what they took the time to put on the back of the license. (If you think what Oregon has done with this is a good idea, you might drop a line to the Fisheries License Department in your region asking them to do the same thing!)

Handling Diagram

On the back of the Oregon license is: HANDLE WITH CARE, and the little diagram of the proper way to handle a fish! But that's not all. It comes with instructions! It is very well done. Hurrah for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I've copied the instructions below.

Catch and Release is Catching On!

When you catch and release fish, you are preserving a valuable resource for other anglers to enjoy in the future. But if you aren't careful, the fish you release may simply die. If you keep fishing, you could kill more fish than a person who catches his or her limit and goes home. Here are some tips to help your released fish survive.

Suggested Tackle

Barbless hooks strongly advised! Use pliers to pinch barbs down.

Use strong line to bring your catch in gently but quickly.

Fish caught with flies or lures survive more often than fish caught with bait.

Overly large hooks can damage mouth parts and eyes.

Small hooks may be taken deeply by fish.

Landing Your Catch

Land your fish as carefully and quickly as possible.

Avoid removing the fish from the water. If your "trophy" is a photo, have the camera ready and gently cradle the fish at water level while someone else snaps the picture.

Avoid using a net which can damage the fishes' skin. If you must, use a soft cotton net, not nylon.

Removing Your Hook

Remove the hook quickly and gently, keeping the fish under water.

Use long-nosed pliers or a hemostat to back the hook out.

When fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook. (Hook will dissolve.)

Use steel hooks that will quickly rust out. Avoid using stainless steel hooks.

Cut your line rather than injure an active fish.

Reviving Your Catch

Point your fish into a slow current or gently move it back and forth until its gills are working and it maintains its balance.

When the fish recovers and attempts to swim out of your hands, let it go.

Large fish may take some time to revive.

Let's give a little credit where credit is due - (Thanks Oregon!) and also be brave enough to tell it like it is when it isn't right. (Fix your zippers Bare!) ~ Deanna Birkholm

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