I myself have been completely guilty of mishandling fish, on more than one occasion in fact. I resembled a fly fishing novice back then. Fly fishing isn’t easy, fish are feisty, slippery, and proper handling isn’t exactly instinctual. Since the early days, I have grown as an angler, thus recognizing the importance of handling fish the right way.
To land net and release a fish is one thing throwing photography into the mix is another. Each time I hit the water, I am reminded the importance of proper fish handling, especially when trying to get the shot. I strive to keep it under 30 seconds, from the time the fish hits the net till the last shutter clicks. :25 The trout has been successfully brought to the net. The key here is to keep the trout in the water. Roll up those sleeves and get your hands wet. Dry hands remove the protective slime that coats all trout. Without it, trout are susceptible to infectious diseases and parasites.
:20 Kneel down. If the slippery sucker does decide to flop out of your hands, trust me it’s bound to happen, this way the trout is dropping a very short distance into the water.
:15 There is no need for the death grip. Ever. End of story. However, a sure and safe way to control the trout is by confidently grabbing the wrist of the tail. Cradle your free hand under the trout’s belly. Not only is this a safe way of holding but it also ensures
:10 Lights, camera, action!
:05 That’s a wrap! Send that trout off by gently facing him upstream. He’ll let you know when he’s ready.
:00 Ready to cast again! Handling these wild trout with immense respect is crucial to the health of future trout populations and generations of anglers to come.