We prefer to keep most fish in the water, especially billfish. You should, too. Keep them wet.
Makes for healthier release, more sporting photos and fish usually displays stunning natural colours this way.
Taking fish out of water is surely not good for the fish. I was asked before about taking photos of billfish out of water, here is the reply I gave;
I cannot speak for the other guides or operators but this is what we do.
We encourage our guests to keep their catch in the waters. If they request, and it is their first ever billfish, we try to oblige provided the fish is in reasonable condition. The fish is out of the water for literally seconds. Probably 10-15 secs and they’re put back in the water and revived.
When a billfish is leadered, it is unhooked and kept in the water with the boat moving to allow it to recover before even considering if it’s coming out.
Our guests, if they choose to have a photo taken with the fish out of water and we allow it, it will only be the one fish. Their other billfish catches, if any, will be photographed boat side.
Those who have ever fished with me, saltwater or freshwater, will know how much priority I place on the condition of the fish.
Me and my team have the final say how and if the fish will be photographed. We’ve had many well-traveled guests too that are more than happy with all boat side or even no photos, we just bring the fish in and released quickly without photos taken.
We’ve been doing this a long time and spend a lot of hours on the water and would like to believe we know our fish. I won’t judge others or comment about how they do things because I’m not there to experience them with my own eyes.
I look forward to the day when our fisheries here are as mature as some other more educated locations and we have strict regulations, enforcements and laws to abide to.
For now, we do what we can and apply our know-hows to preserve what we do as we we know how important this resource is to our livelihood.
How about you? How do you manage sustainable fishing? Perhaps you can share some knowledge which if useful, we’ll be more than happy to consider implementing.