Fishing Basics – Catch and Release

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,705
    Ken Estes, fishing expert with L.L.Bean goes over catch and release fishing procedures.

    Ken Estes: Hi! My name is Ken Estes. I am one of the fishing experts here at L.


    Bean, and today we would like to talk to you about catch and release.

    We happen to be in the Flagship Store here in Freeport, Maine at the Indoor Trout Pond, and we would like to talk to you about why catch and release is so important.

    I spend most of my summer fly-fishing in salt water, here on the Coast of Maine for Striped Bass and Bluefish. This has been a great summer for catching Striped Bass. I have seen a lot of fish caught, but I have seen a lot of fish released, and that's a great thing.

    This really helps preserve our natural resource in both fresh and salt water, and it really ensures that our younger generation can get out there, and catch a fish.

    Before we get in the water, there are some things we can prepare before we start our fishing. The first thing I do is, I take my fly and I take my hemostats and I smash the barb on it, this ensures that the fly comes out of the fish much easier, and does less damage.

    The next thing that's important to me is the netting that I use, or the type of net that I use when I practice catch and release. If you've ever picked up a fish, you have noticed that he has a slimy coating on him, that coating is there to protect the fish.

    When you use a net such as this, all the netting is tied with knots. This is very abrasive to the side of the fish and what we are trying to do is we are trying to let that coating stay on the fish. When a fish is rolling around in a net like this, it tends to knock that coating off.

    The type of net I like to use is one that is a little more fish-friendly so to speak, it's a continuous weave, it has no knots in it and it's very easy on the fish when you have him in the net.

    The next thing I prepare myself to do, when I am getting ready to handle a fish is, I wet my hands in the water first. If you've ever picked a fish up right out of the water, you notice that he is a slimy coating on it. That coating is there to protect the fish against viruses, bacteria, and parasites that are in the water. We want to try and keep from knocking that coating off. So this is going to give the fish a much better chance of survival.

    So now let's see if we can catch a fish, but remember they call it fishing not catching.

    Before we get started today, we'd like to talk a little bit about fishing with the appropriate weight tackle. The trout we have here on the trout pound, are brook trout, rainbows and brown trout. Because we have a few brown trout that are pushing the 7-8 pound range, I have selected a 7 weight outfit, which is appropriate for catching these size fish.

    We want to think about our tackle matching the fish that we are pursuing. You can play a fish too long, and what it does is it creates stress on the fish. It raises the lactic acid levels within that fish and if those levels become too high, even though that fish might swim away, when you release it, it may not survive. So you don't have to do physical injury to the fish, for not to make it.

    Let's see if we can practice a little catch and release. We don't have a lot of room to cast in here. So I am going to get our fly out there, work it across the bottom, see if we can hook up the fish here, and we got this little rainbow. And rainbows do like to jump, so we might get a little splashing going on here, alright, that's a powerful fish.

    As soon as we can get his head up, there we go. Now that we have got our fish to the net, we want to adhere to a couple of things. We want to make sure we wet our hands before we handle the fish.

    Remember we talked about that slimy coating. I try not to handle the fish directly. I want to grab him from the outside of the net. As you remember earlier, we de-barbed our hook, so the hook pops right out. There you go!

    Now we want to let -- he is ready to go, but we are going to let him leave on his own terms, and there he goes, ready to be caught by another fisherman.

    We think if you adhere to these guidelines around catch and release, you'll have an enjoyable and successful day of fishing.