Correct catch care crucial for billfish
As a new Broome billfish season starts to warm up, anglers are again reminded to put catch care first.
Correct fish handling is a vital aspect of successful catch-and release fishing, which is common for small billfish, and there has been a lot of conjecture over the past 18 months about the wisdom of lifting billfish from the water.
While anglers like to have their photo taken with the sailfish or marlin, if you want to give the fish the absolute best chance of survival, then you should keep it in the water while this is done.
The lucky angler can lean over the side and hold the billfish by the beak for a photo.
It is logical any fish would be better in its natural environment, with its body weight being supported by the water.
Most experienced billfish anglers are already well aware of correct catch care, with many fished tagged for research and circle hooks used to prevent them being deep hooked.
Several leading marine biologists have expressed concerns about lifting billies from the water.
Studies on other species have also identified an incremental decrease in the chances of fish surviving the longer they are kept out of the water.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland with Broome Fishing Club’s Ben Little tagging a small sailfish at Broome’s sail grounds.