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The next major improvement in Catch and Release is improving survival rates of released trophies. It does no good to release a fish if it doesn't survive and we all can make improvements on how we handle trophy fish. Here a few quick tips for handling your next BIG fish:
NETTING – It is okay to net a trophy fish if you do it properly. Leave your netted trophy fish in the net and in the water, remove the lure then lift your trophy out of the net. (If you bring a netted fish into the boat it's going to flop around and entangle itself more.)
HOLDING A TROPHY – Wet your hands before holding your fish, this will keep you from removing the fish's protective "slime." ALWAYS hold your trophy pike and lake trout with two hands with one supporting the stomach. DO NOT hold a trophy vertically with one arm.
ACT QUICKLY – Time is of the essence. You want to enjoy your trophy and get a good photo, but act quickly. Think of yourself holding your breath under water... that is what fish are doing out of water. While your trophy is being removed from the net, set up your picture to save time.
WEIGHT – Never weigh a fish by hanging it from a scale...weigh your fish in the net by attaching your scale to the net and raising it, the weight of the netting is so small the reading is still accurate.