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12 Top Tips on Safeguarding Your Catch

Courtesy of the Professional Coarse Fisheries Association

  1. A plastic disgorger is essential to help you unhook fish quickly and safely - always take a selection with you when fishing.
  2. Handle fish with wet hands only - do not use dry towels or cloths as these will strip them of their protective slime.
  3. Hold fish low - never stand up holding a fish and do not carry them in anything other than a landing net or weigh sling.
  4. Unhook on a mat - think about where you unhook fish - wet unhooking mats help to cushion the fish. NEVER unhook fish on hard ground or on wooden stages.
  5. Keep fish calm. When the fish is out of water, try shielding its eyes with your hand or the wet landing net - fish become much calmer in the dark.
  6. Balance your tackle (rods, lines, poles and elastics). Tackle that is too heavy for the size of fish being caught can cause unnecessary damage - match your tackle to the size of fish you are likely to catch.
  7. Use fish friendly landing nets and keepnets that have the Angling Foundation's water-lily' approval mark - they have been tested to ensure that they are fish safe. Also ensure your landing net is large enough for the fish you may catch.
  8. Keepnets well submerged - In summer water temperatures are higher in shallow water. If you use a keepnet, ensure that as much of it as possible is submerged and extended,
  9. Never discard line - Always ensure discarded line is cut into lengths no longer than 25mm and that you dispose of it properly. As with all litter, take it home if there are no bins provided.
  10. Use keepnets sensibly - Where possible, never retain over 50lb of fish in one keepnet at a time, as you can crush the fish in the bottom of the net when lifting it out of the water. Take two or more nets if large catches are expected.
  11. Do not use fixed rigs - this will prevent the fish dragging a leger weight or swim feeder behind it should the line break.
  12. Return fish gently to the water - and never 'throw them back'. If a fish rolls onto its side, hold it upright in the water until it swims away strongly.

Finally, remember that you are the eyes and ears of waterside wildlife. If you see fish or other wildlife in distress, please report your sightings immediately to the fishery owner, manager or bailiffil it swims away strongly.

Finally, remember that you are the eyes and ears of waterside wildlife. If you see fish or other wildlife in distress, please report your sightings immediately to the fishery owner, manager or bailiff.