CATCH AND RELEASE
As someone who fishes regularly for recreation, I practice catch and release all the time, releasing both undersized fish and fish I don’t need for the table. I seldom keep my limit and I might release dozens of fish in a day when the fishing is good, so I need to be happy those fish are going to survive. However, when I fish deep water, I keep what I catch and stop when I’ve caught enough.
Since most of my fishing is done with lures in less than 20 metres of water, barotrauma is seldom an issue for the snapper, kingfish, kahawai and trevally I routinely catch. I’m well-practiced at handling and releasing fish at the boat, so I’m confident they live to fight another day.
Handling fish sympathetically is important, including small fish, which anglers often treat too casually. Where possible, don’t handle fish at all other than to remove the hook (use pliers to squeeze down the barb and make hook removal easier). Bigger fish can be unhooked in the water beside the boat, in the net (you