[ Catch And Release Tips ]
Handling live fish
with care ensures safe release to swim again
Black bass are often released quickly after being caught by
anglers, sometimes only out of the water long enough for a moment of
admiration and a photograph.
Releasing black bass back into the water to continue growing
and reproducing can be a smart choice, but there are a few steps that
can help ensure black bass and other sport fish are released unscathed
by the few minutes it spends in an angler’s possession. With a little
effort, anglers who choose to release fish can know that their catch was
not released in vain, whether they are tournament anglers who collect
large catches of fish, or recreational anglers who enjoy sharing nature
with their families.
One of the most important steps to ensuring the survival of
caught and released fish is the way the fish is lifted from the water
Gene Gilliland, central region fisheries supervisor for the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, advises anglers to
carefully avoid holding larger bass by the lower jaw in a vertical
position — a hold often seen in photographs — as this can dislocate or
even break the fish’s jaw, preventing it from eating and likely
resulting in the death of the fish. Gilliland also advises anglers to
wet their hands before handling a fish with bare hands.
Additionally, the following tips are suggested for handling
larger bass that will be released:
* Using your dominant hand, grip the fish with your thumb inside the
mouth and your fingers locked on the outside of the mouth.
* Support the back end of the fish with your opposite hand placed
beneath the fish just forward of the tail.
* Lift the fish out of the water in a horizontal position using both
hands for support.
* Handle the fish only when putting it into a livewell or holding tank.
Avoid keeping the fish out of water or habitually removing it from the
water for photographs. A good rule of thumb is to avoid keeping a fish
out of water longer than you can hold your own breath.
When care is taken to preserve the life of a fish planned
for release, anglers can be certain their good intentions will be
followed by continued productivity of their favorite fishing holes and
angling hot spots.
Keeping one’s catch of fresh fish is also popular among
Oklahoma anglers and can result in a delicious meal with family and
friends in addition to reliving the memory of the catch. Fish battered
in cornmeal and preferred seasoning are considered delicious when
pan-fried. Other preparation methods include broiling until flaky, or
cooked by any method of choice and served with cole slaw and hot sauce
in a tortilla for a delicious “fish taco.”
When keeping fish for the freezer, care should be taken to
avoid “freezer burn” which occurs when oxygen is allowed to contact the
meat directly in freezing conditions. It can be avoided by submerging
fish in water before freezing or by using a vacuum sealer — available at
sporting goods stores and other locations — to remove air from the
container that stores the fish for freezing.
email us at the link below.
Add a Photo if you like!
And your mailing address.
Then send to the
Oklahoma Wildlife Department's Angler Recognition Program
which recognizes anglers who catch exceptional fish
with a certificate bearing an embossed seal. Those who qualify will
receive a Master Angler Award or a Trophy Conservationist Award.
The program is designed to
acknowledge anglers for outstanding sport fishing accomplishments, to
encourage catch and release of trophy-size fish, and to provide
information on large fish caught throughout the state.
The program honors anglers who land and keep exceptional fish with the
Master Angler Award while anglers who catch and release exceptional fish
will receive a Trophy Conservationist Award. If a fish exceeds the
current state record for that species, the angler must contact a
Wildlife Department employee immediately so they can assist with
completion of the Oklahoma Record Fish Application.
To qualify for a Master Angler Award you must land a fish that meets or
exceed the minimum requirements listed in the chart below. To receive
the Trophy Conservationist Award, anglers must release their trophy
alive into the waters where caught and the fish must meet the minimum
length requirements listed below.
Applications are available from department offices and the current
year's Fishing Regulations. For details on Oklahoma's Angler Recognition
Program write to:
Aquatic Education, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, 1801 N.
Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
Species Weight Master Angler Length (Inches) Trophy Conservationist
Largemouth 8 lbs. 8 oz. (23)
Smallmouth 3 lbs. 8 oz. (20)
Spotted 3 lbs. (18)
Striped 20 lbs. (34)
Striped/White Hybrid 10 lbs. (28)
White 3 lbs. (19)
Channel 15 lbs. (34)
Blue 30 lbs. (41)
Flathead 40 lbs. (42)
Bullhead (All Species) 2 lbs. (16)
Paddlefish 60 lbs. (45*)
White and Black 2 lbs., 8 oz (16)
Sauger 2 lbs., 8 oz. (19)
Saugeye 7 lbs. (25)
Walleye 7 lbs. (27)
Sunfish All Species 1 lb. (9 1/2)
Trout All Species 4 lbs. (21)
*Paddlefish are measured along body from eye to fork in tail
THANKS to Tyler Knight for Ole' Okiefish giving that bass CPR picture.
Trophy Bass that hang on walls gather dust,
Trophy Bass left in water make more Trophies..
Angler Recognition Program
Practice CPR & Okiefish will send you a Certificate like this one -