Fulfilling the Catch and Release Ideal

Conservation is the cornerstone of preserving America’s fish and game species. Among anglers, the practice of catch and release is the most common form of conservation. Catch and release offers fish the greatest chance of survival after being caught, because it minimizes the amount of trauma experienced by the fish.

An effective catch and release begins the moment the fish is hooked. By limiting the amount of time the fish has to fight, you can reduce the level of exhaustion the fish will experience. This alone can have a great impact on the fish’s ability to survive.

The handling of the catch is equally important. Fish have delicate skin that can be easily damaged, making them susceptible to infections. The slime layer of their skin is an important barrier that needs to be carefully protected. Handling a fish should be kept to an absolute minimum, and wetting your hands beforehand is key to protecting the fish’s skin.

The best solution is to keep the fish in the water and only use your hands to remove the lure from its mouth. This is where having a selection of barbless lures makes catch and release easiest and most effective. Since there is no barb to deal with, it’s much easier to free a fish from the hook. This significantly reduces the amount of handling time. Often it’s even possible to keep the fish entirely in the water. Using lures with barbless hooks also means there is far less puncture damage to the fish.

Practicing catch and release allows us to protect and preserve our angling heritage for generations to come. The increasing availability and selection of barbless lures makes this sustainable practice something all anglers can easily embrace.