Boating NZ : FREE TO READ April 2014
subscribe online at www.mags4gifts.co.nz/boating-nz 91 the fishery. A couple of decent-sized snapper provides more good eating than a limit of 30cm fish, and using tackle and techniques that catch mostly legal-sized snapper reduces the incidental catch of undersized fish that may die after release. The best way to target bigger snapper is to use bigger hooks. Bait fishers should use 5/0 hooks and larger because big hooks are less likely to hook snapper and other species in the throat or gills where they can do fatal damage. Fish are also less likely to swallow large hooks – hooks that penetrate the stomach almost always kill. You’ll still catch undersize snapper on large hooks, but they’re usually hooked in the mouth and their chances of survival after release are good. If possible, use re-curved/circle hooks without offsets for bait fishing. Circle hooks generally hook fish in the corner of the mouth, which significantly reduces the chances of deep-hooking them and makes releasing easy. Offset, ie, kirbed, circle hooks hook fish in the throat, gills and gut almost as often as conventional J-hook styles. Fish actively. Hold onto the rod and don’t leave it in the rod holder. That way you can react smartly to a bite rather than having a fish swallow the bait before you can pick up the rod. Use lures rather than natural bait. Lures tend to attract bigger snapper and they are seldom swallowed, so most fish are hooked in the mouth. Avoid very small lures – they will only attract and hook smaller fish. No one says you have to fill your fish bin every time you go fishing – limit your catch, don’t catch your limit. HANDLE WITH CARE Handle undersized fish or any fish destined for release, with care – a fish out of water is fragile. Use a net. Small fish can be lifted on the line, but using a net is better. Rubber enviro nets or nets with bags of soft fabric mesh do the least damage. Use wet hands or a wet towel to handle fish out of the water. Never lie them on a dry, hot deck and don’t let them flap about on a hard surface. Removing slime or scales can result in skin infections that kill fish many months after release. Where possible, leave fish in the water while you remove the hook. The best releases are those where the fish isn’t handled at all. “No one says you have to fill your fish bin every time you go fishing – limit your catch, don’t catch your limit.” CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Where possible leave a fish destined for release in the water when you remove the hooks; Hold small fish gently and firmly using wet hands or a wet towel/rag to avoid damaging scales or their protective slime; Don’t squeeze the gill plates too hard and keep your fingers out of the gills altogether if you intend releasing a fish. REGULAR_Out of ocean_April14.indd 91 18/03/2014 8:48:20 a.m.
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