NINE TIPS FOR LOW-STRESS SHOTS
1 Use a net and land the fish as quickly as possible.
2 Always handle fish with wet hands, make sure they have regained their equilibrium and don’t release them until they want to swim away.
3 Keep the fish in the net and in the water, allowing it to recover while you and the photographer (if there is one) position yourselves for the shot and prepare the camera.
4 Let the photographer direct the action and tell you when to lift the fish, when to put it back in the net and when to release it. Often my fishing partners have unhooked a fish and released it with the words, “Did you get that?” only to be less than impressed that the camera hadn't even started up, far less taken the picture.
5 If the fish isn't in the water or dripping water, it's too dry. Shots with drops of water look great; they add motion and authenticity to the picture.
6 Set the camera to continuous shooting. The single-shot setting will always catch you when you blink.
7 It's been suggested that the best way to take pictures of fish is with them underwater. That's fine on a crystal-clear river with good light levels, not so good in coloured water or when light levels are low. Great shots can be taken with the fish partially in the water, able to breath and well supported, but clearly visible.
8 Hand position is critical to a good shot and the fish’s welfare. One hand cradling just behind the pectoral fins and one hand with finger and thumb gently circling the tail gives a secure grip, supporting the fish without squeezing it or impeding its breathing. Holding the fish vertically stresses its vertebrae and doesn’t make a good picture.
9 Keep the fish over the net. Don’t lift it high out of the water. Don't put the fish on grass, gravel or the bottom of a boat as these surfaces can damage the mucus layer and the skin.
10 If fishing on your own, photograph the fish in the net and in the water. Using your camera with one hand while releasing the fish with the other makes a great shot.
Keep fish in a clear rubbermesh net.