The following tips are recommended to give a fish released the best chance of survival:
- Use barbless hooks or flatten barbs on all hooks, this will help with the quick removal of the hook from a fish with less chance of internal injuries.
- Keep the fish in the water when removing the hook, the longer it is out of water the greater the chance of it being injured.
- Wet your hands before touching a fish, dry hands will remove the mucus that prevents bacterial infection.
- Cut the line when it is not possible to remove the hook, a short piece of line can greatly increase the chance of survival.
- Do not handle a fish with your fingers in the gill slits, they can be easily injured.
- Hold the fish upright underwater after removing the hook and allow it to swim away under its own power.
- Fish that are bleeding from the mouth or gills probably will not survive, go ahead and keep these fish.