Catch-and-release is a common technique in tournaments and for anglers who catch fish and want to give them an opportunity to swim another day (and perhaps be caught again). Some anglers, especially novices, may think that catch-and-release fishing means simply returning the fish to water after removing their hook, but if this practice stresses the fish, it may die. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission tells bass anglers the best way to catch and release fish.
“To minimize stress on fish… try not to remove the fish from the water, even when you’re removing the hook from the fish’s mouth. Handle the fish as little as possible to help reduce the loss of slime coat, which is the fish’s main defense against infection and disease.”
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Photo by: Maryland Department of Natural Resources