QUICK GUIDE TO BETTER HANDLING OF AUSTRALIAN BASS
With so many fishing impoundments available for fishing species like Australian Bass, native freshwater fish caught in rivers and creeks should be released. If you are looking to eat the fish you catch, head out to one of the many impoundments when chasing this fish.
If you do happen to catch one or are fishing for them to release, here are some of my tips to the better handling of Australian Bass that apply to just about all fish.
KEEP THE FISH UNDERWATER
Apart from wanting to take a photo for bragging rights, which I will get into later, the idea is to keep the fish underwater at all times. I would never take a fish out of water longer than I could handle underwater myself. Soft mesh nets are great for keeping an Australian Bass in place if you need to get your camera ready.
SUPPORT THE WEIGHT OF THE FISH
I am shocked when I see people in photos holding fish only by the head, gills or mouth. Can you imagine what that would feel like? I highly recommend using one hand on the underbelly to give the fish full-body support when lifting out of the water.
DON’T USE METAL LIP GRIPS ON BASS
I think this rule should apply to all fish. Metal fish grips can tear a hole in the throat. I have seen others using the standard thumb grip but the more I think about it, this must help to spread bacteria in the mouth of the fish. Look for fish lip grips that won’t damage the fish.
If you are fishing in creeks and river ways with the intent of releasing your fish, you will have a much easier time of it using barbless fishing hooks. If you don’t have barbless hooks, use a pair of pliers to crush the barbs. Hooks without barbs are a whole lot easier to remove with fish hook removers.
KEEP YOUR HANDS WET
Human hands are covered in oils and germs and fish are coated in a natural layer of mucus that protects them. The oil on our hands is very bad for fish, you could spread a fungus for example. If you are going to pick a fish up, make sure you have wet your hands thoroughly in water from the same environment as the fish.
DON’T PICK UP BY THE GILLS
Please do not pick up Australian Bass by the gills, or any fish for that matter. Australian Bass have a gill raker that could give you something close to a paper cut. Avoid that raker and the gills by not handling them.
USE A SOFT MESH FISHING NET
Soft fishing nets are designed so that they don’t damage fish. They are the only type of fishing net you ever want to be using anyway. They are inexpensive and the standard for fishing nets today.
Is there anything you want to add to this article? Do you have any tips for better handling of Australian Bass and other fish species? Let us know through the comments section below.