August 03, 2022

Importance of correct fish handling by Jako Lucas

Man with Fish

Correct fish handling is important and to me, it means that we have to be aware of our impact on the environment. It translates to our conscious efforts in protecting our fisheries and wildlife and ensuring that we educate others and our younger generations. 

I will tell you that, having been a full-time fly-fishing guide, videographer, and photographer for over 12 years now, my whole life revolves around the water and what lives in it. Not only do a I make a living out of it, but the more time I spend out on the water, the more I realize that we have to make sure that we do whatever is necessary, so future generations can also enjoy our waters and this sport that we love so much. 

I believe it is so important that we get this message across in a positive manner. Focusing on the negativity will not help us educate and inform people. 

It is very difficult to deny that the classic ‘grip-and-grin’ is still one of the most effective methods to showcase clients’ or your own trophy fish. Therefore, I believe that it will be hard to completely stop doing so. More importantly, I believe it is of paramount importance to instead educate anglers on handling the fish in the correct manner. 

For example, I always explain to my clients, that they must understand that this fish has been fighting for its life and keeping it out of the water for too long is like me sticking your head under water after running a marathon.  

So, the most effective way I have my clients hold the fish is by instructing them to hold their breath as they pick the fish up and when they need to breathe, they then realize that they should give the fish a breather as well.

 The key points to remember when getting ready for your ‘grip-and-grin’ is:

  • Making sure this fish is wet at all times 
  • Ensure the fish has time to breathe 
  • Hold your breath while taking your photo

In saying this, we also have to consider it from a photographer and videographers’ point of view. We use our medium to share these incredible places with others and by doing this we are able to create awareness. Also considering the advantages that social media has to offer, we are able to bring this awareness to a wider audience. Luckily, by using social media, we are not just able to educate but also, almost immediately, advise someone who is not following the right procedures and help them.  

There has also been a movement in the industry towards getting more creative angles; for example, where the fish is still in the water.

At the end of the day, we all will benefit, and we need to drive that understanding through so that we all know that if we just do our little part, we can have a huge influence and bring about transformation. 

As I said before, not only will we be the ones that benefit, but it will benefit future generations to enjoy the wonders that nature has to offer.

 If we damage a fishery by either killing or catching too many fish, we may cause fish populations to shrink significantly or even collapse and in so doing, disrupting the entire food chain. 

Oceans and river systems are the largest ecosystems on Earth, generating more than half of the oxygen people breathe, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping reduce the impact of climate change. 

I could go on and on, yet the basic and most obvious answer is… to survive.