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How to fish humanely : Preventing injury to fish while fishing using fishing lures and baits

While those who love fishing often love it with an absolute passion, there comes a time when the catch and release fisherman has no options but to dispatch a fish quickly and easily. Most of the time this is due to injury, primarily after swallowing a bait. However, most times this can be avoided with some advice which I will provide here.

There are two primary ways to catch a fish, firstly is with fishing baits and secondly is with fishing lures. When you fish using baits the problem is that most fish realise the taste of the bait is good and swallow it very quickly, often before you have a change to set the hook. The angler has to be quick to set the hook as soon as it is possible, if he is fishing for catch and release.

Leaving the bait in the mouth of the fish too long, will cause it to be swallowed. When a fish is retrieved and it is impossible to remove the hook because it is down too deep, the fish will need to be dispatched, as it is likely it will not be able to eat again in future due to the blockage, and also the rotten bait will cause it problems with absorption of ammonia.

The way around this is simple, use fishing lures. Fishing lures are great because the fish will normally take the bait, then realise it isn't what it was looking for and go to spit it out, at this time the fish can even accidently hook itself, but at other times the angler is always quick to obtain a hook up, before the fish has a chance to change it's mind.

Fishing lures most often end up hooked in the fishes mouth, this area of the fish is very strong, and will heal extremely fast, providing minimal discomfort and far less distress than if hooked using a bait deeper in the throat.

There are times too when fish will swallow a lure, especially if using lure scents, but the angler can often set the hook much faster and the fish being far fussier too, makes this a very simple way to catch fish.

If however you are in a situation where the fish is hooked too deep, and you can not cut the hook free, then you will need to go further and dispatch the fish. To do this, you use something called a fishing priest, this is a metal rod that looks like a small baseball bat, and is used to place a heavy strike directly above the fish behind the eyes at the back of the head. Normally first strike will render the fish unconscious, with a second and third heavy blow eventually causing the kill.

If you prefer a faster kill, there is also the process of spiking the brain, known as iki jime.

Keep these tips in mind when fishing, and remember, even if you are a catch and release fisherman, always prepare for the worst, be attentive and set the hook quickly to avoid any possible problems.


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