Proper Fishing Handling

Fishin' Line
Grass carp

Grass carp

On Saturday, April 4, Brian Smatko and family went to Sharon Woods, hoping to catch some bass on the mini pontoon. Though the bass weren’t biting, the grass carp were getting snagged! Estimated around 70 pounds by staff and the anglers, it took an hour to get this monster to the boat, and I can only imagine what it took to get it up into the mini pontoon.

Here are some handling tips to ensure all of our fish live a full life span like this old girl.

  • Before handling, always wet hands
  • Each species has a right and wrong way to hold it to lessen injury; learn the differences
  • Use whatever tools necessary to get a hook safely out of a fish
  • If removing a hook seems to cause severe blood loss, cut as close to the hook, if not the hook itself, and release the fish to reduce the amount of blood loss
  • Get a fish back into water as soon as possible; every second is critical
  • If a fish seems to be stunned and is not swimming away after releasing, try to get water going through their gills. One tactic is to gingerly hold their body or tail, keep them upright, and slowly move their bodies forward and back. They often only need a few seconds before they race off away from us.
  • Do not try to catch a fish that seems injured or dead, unless you intend to doctor it. Let the fish serve its final purpose; to provide food for the other creatures in the lake.

This fish is a great example of a fish that has been treated correctly throughout its years. She has some rough spots, like rips in fins and scales missing, but judging by her scale rings, she outlived the typical lifespan of a grass carp by at least five years!

Great catch to Brian Smatko and clan, and here’s hoping we can see some more examples of great handling caught at our Great Parks!

Kate Mason
Sharon Woods Harbor Manager