let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby eagles » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:46 pm

. I fish the same two lakes and adjoining stream in Northern Ca and know the owners . Any fish that die in that lake would be pretty well seen most of the time . In May I caught a large bow ,put up a great fight and I lost it after a good struggle . Caught the SAME fish at a later time with my fly still in its mouth full of fight . You are free to believe what you like but the fish live and are caught again far more often than not , I have done it and see it yearly so I realy dont care what some one wrote down or posts and it does not make me at all mad , I just have a good laugh when studies are supposed to trump reality I have seen for over four decades. By the way I never fought a trout for 30 minutes . . Do some die in a normal fight ,maybe. due most die , HELL no , I have no interest in yanking fish out of the water like a hunk of lead unles I was starving That isnt even fishing to me .By they way I just read the article you are refering to by the Guy in Oregon who is talking about fighting a fish until it is half dead . if you keep reading it down further he states " I PREFER TO RELEASE 99.9 PERCENT OF THE TROUT I CATCH " :lol: He also describes as "correct " the exact method I spoke about ,moving the fish back and forth in an above post . One needs to read the entire article .Just found another artlce that saysd Biologists say FIVE PERCENT OF RELEASED TROUT DIE , Im no math whiz but that seems like about 95 percent LIVE . The key is they need to do dsow steady swiming when you let them go and then they can get rid of that lactic acid in about two hours ,so geting them ready to leave and be able to swim off is important .
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Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby rvrgzr » Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:42 am

Daniel @ TenkaraUSA wrote: I have been fishing hard for the last 6 days, and caught tons of fish (more on this later).

Gosh, Daniel, life is tough, isn't it? I'm trying to drum up some sympathy for ya, but it just ain't workin'. ;)

Having caught a fish or two that I was unable to 'yank out', the longer the fight the more the fish is stressed; so, I bring it to the net as quickly as possible, remove the fly from the fish's mouth, and dip it in the net back in the water. If you're fishing for grayling in summer-warmed water, it'll take longer to resuscitate the fish than it did to bring it to the net. Enjoy.
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Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby BrianF » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:08 pm

I wish there were more definitive information about the safest catch-and-release strategies.

Should you use a net at all? I am unaware of a single academic study recommending the use of a net, and know of at least two studies (both Canadian) that recommend against it. Yet it is conventional wisdom that nets increase C&R survival rate, and it seems obvious that they help to reduce the duration of the fight. Then again, without a net, the fish often doesn't leave the water at all.

Circle hooks? These show up in many articles about C&R practice, yet in my experience they are rarely used by any fishermen.

Barbless hooks? These are a given for most of us, yet significant data casts doubt on how much of a difference there is in barbs vs. barbless. Yet all of us with experience with both types of hook know how much harder it is to rip out a barbed hook, and it seems obvious that the barbless release should damage the fish less on average.

Which is better: fast hard fight or longer easier fight? When I catch a large fish on my Iwana, the fight is usually very fast. The fish gets exhausted in a few seconds. However, with a stiffer rod the fight can last much longer before the fish is tired enough to bring in. Which fish has better survival chances? Arguments can be, and are, made both ways.

Some information found from Google searches:

http://anglingunlimited.com/fishing/cat ... -properly/

Upon releasing a fish, most anglers figure that if it swims away, it’s just fine and will survive. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true. In studies on hooking mortality, biologists hold fish for observation, usually for a number of days. What they’ve found is that a fish which appears all right at the time of release may have suffered trauma, injury from the hook or damage from handling, which leads to death later on. That the fish swims away under its own power doesn’t assure its survival.

Circle hooks and modified circle hooks radically decrease the rate of gut hooking and this is well documented in studies.

Mortality is also affected by exhaustion. A big fish fought on ultra-light tackle can’t be forced to the boat until it’s totally gassed. This can stress your catch past the brink. Exhaustion creates extremely high levels of lactic acid – potentially fatal. Also, large fish have a problem with overheated muscles that actually begin to break down in the course of a long fight. An exhausted fish has a lot of problems avoiding predators after release.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 101117.htm

Experts recommend avoiding use of nets to pick up fish. If absolutely necessary, use fish-friendly landing nets with soft knotless mesh to reduce harm to a fish's scales, skin, eyes and fins.

Trout Unlimited:

• Nets: If possible, don't use a net while landing your fish. They can cause damage to fish scales and its protective slime layer.


Like many anglers, I question the theory that a barbless hook improves a released fish's long-term chance for survival. Without a barb, a hook can penetrate more deeply into the mouth tissue, in some instances slicing into the gill rakers. I've seen large brook trout and salmon bleed to death due to the use of razor-sharp barbless hooks. Some fisheries biologists also wonder where the evidence is to support such a sweeping gear regulation. Do barbed hooks really cause more delayed mortality than barbless ones in catch-and-release situations?

One of the most comprehensive studies was done during the summers of 1964 and 1965 at Yellowstone Lake, in Wyoming. It looked at post-release mortality of cutthroat trout angled on a variety of gear. Lures tested were barbed and barbless No. 12 dry flies; barbed and barbless treble-hooked spoons measuring 1.34 inches in length and .58 inches across; and No. 3 spinner trolling rigs baited with worms on No. 4 hooks.

Groups of 25 trout caught on each type of hook and lure were placed in free-floating live boxes for 10-day periods. Control groups of unhooked trout were electro-shocked and also held for observation. Anglers caught 509 cutthroats and 62 control trout were electrofished. The average trout was 14 inches (35 cm) in length, but the range was from 9 to almost 17 inches (22 to 43 cm). The fish were observed daily for the first three days and then every other day.

Hooking mortality ranged from zero to 84 per cent in individual test groups, while mean mortalities ranged from 2.7 to 73 per cent. No significant differences in mortality were detected among trout caught with barbed and barbless flies (4 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively), barbed and barbless treble-hook spoons (2.65 and 6 per cent ), trolled worms that were not swallowed (8.2 per cent), and unhooked control trout (4.8 per cent). A significant difference was apparent for trout that swallowed a worm and hook. Within 24 hours, 73 per cent of them died.

The study suggested to researchers that the mortality of fly-caught trout is largely due to hook placement (in the gills or esophagus) and that barbless restrictions on treble-hook lures contribute little to the overall mortality of released trout.

My point in quoting these is to emphasize how inconclusive the data are, even data from solid scientific sources. I personally make the decisions I think are best for my C&R practices, but I'm not nearly confident enough in them to judge anyone else's decisions.
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Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby wrknapp » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:12 pm


Yours is the best compilation I have ever seen. Thanks!

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee" Is 43:2a "I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble" Jer 31:9b
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Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby rsetina » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:47 pm

That must have taken a while to put together Brian. Thanks for doing so.

My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: let the fish fight a little or yank it out

Postby Andrew McKenna » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:50 pm

The problem with a barbed hook, as opposed to de-barbing or fishing barbless, is the damage done in removing the hook. There is another post here that recommended a method for keeping a fish in the water while using a thumb to release the hook that i have been trying to use where possible. this helps keep the fish in the water (no air time!) and is a very effective technique where the fish has not consumed the fly. where the fly is swallowed, I cannot see an instance where a barbed hook can be less destructive than a barbless one. i recently posted that i had killed a fish during C&R while removing a swallowed fly with a forceps too large for the task (small fish, small fly). I replaced the forceps with a mini version and have been far more aware of the risks of damage to a fish during catch, play and release.

On playing a fish - the original subject of this thread - I believe that less is better. Tenkara allows for a wide arc and the elesticity of the system, in my limited experience, provides a more gentle landing over my 6wt. Of course, I'll add that I'm very far from being a good fisherman and will freely admit that I can always improve all aspects of the game.

That said, I still think we deal with an imperfect system in C&R. I try to reduce the impact I have on the fish I am fortunate enough to catch and believe that a deep breath (for us, not the fish) and visualising a FRAGILE sticker on your fish improve the chance of survival.

Andrew McKenna
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