ON HANDLING

This is important. Water temperatures are approaching 77 degrees on a lot of the main river and much higher in the back bays. Twice this past week we had to stay with fish for an hour despite cutting hooks, applying coke to bleeding, and very minimal handling. The fish you catch is worth far more than your picture so treat it like gold. Ask yourself if you really need a picture of the fish if it isn’t a large or special fish. Look for signs of stress like extra redness or blood in the fins. Any pink on the side of the fish is a serious indicator of stress and means you should probably just roll that fish out of the net with no air time at all. Minimize handling and time out of the water, and be responsible.
To the guys I saw fishing muskies with light spinning tackle and no nets. You are going to kill muskies if you catch them at this time of year. No question. It is a privilege to be able to fish for the biggest muskies in the world and you owe it to them to have the right gear to make sure you can take care of them. Get heavy rods and reels, a giant net so you don’t break the fins and tail AND CAN LEAVE THE FISH IN THE WATER WHILE YOU WORK ON IT, and proper release tools like Knipex cutters. FISH FIRST.
peace out,
JA

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