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How to Catch and Release Fish Successfully

When fishing in NYC, catch and release fishing is a valuable technique. There are many fish that are not right for eating and you will not want to take home. For instance, the trophy striped bass, while impressive in photos, will not be very tasty. Other fish may be too small to keep or eat or the wrong type.

Additionally, as you hone your skills with fishing, there may be days where you quickly reach your limit on how many fish you can take home per the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, but you want to continue fishing. In all of these cases, you will need to be able to practice catch and release fishing so that you can safely return fish to the water alive.

Catch and Release Fishing Guidelines

Catch and release fishing is a humane and eco-friendly way to fish. It prevents overfishing so that populations remain strong year over year and people in NYC can continue to enjoy fishing experiences. Handling the process of catching the fish and returning it to the water does require a bit of knowledge to be sure that they are not accidentally hurting or killing the fish. In general, you should follow these steps:

  • Don’t Play the Fish Too Long – Land you fish as fast as you can and avoid making it too tired as you reel in. Being tired means the fish will take longer to recover after you release it.
  • Minimize Out of Water Time – Keep the time that the fish spends out of the water as short as possible and release the fish as quickly as you can.
  • Keep Hands Moist – You should handle the fish as little as possible, and keep your hands wet when you do to be gentle on the fish’s scales.
  • Use a Landing Net – A landing net will also decrease the time that you handle the fish. Rubber nets are best since they are least likely to damage a fish’s gills.
  • Support the Fish – If holding the fish, cradle it gently in your hands. You should hold a larger fish with a hand underneath its belly.
  • Remove or Leave the Hook – Removing the hook is best unless it is deeply logged. In these cases, cut the line closely and leave the hook in the fish rather than trying to pull it out.
  • Return the Fish Gently – Let the fish go back into the water head first and slowly. If you can, let the fish jump into the water from your hand itself. Going too quickly here can shock the fish and kill it.

Certain fish species may also have additional requirements in order to facilitate catch and release fishing. For example, striped bass, which are under environmental regulations, require fishing with a circle hook as opposed to an offset hook or J-hook to help reduce the risk that the hook will become stuck in the fish’s stomach.

Additionally, you should be aware of any part you should also be aware of any additional guidelines or local area regulations.

If you are interested in trying fishing in NYC, taking a trip aboard the Marilyn Jean is a great way to get started. Because many of the anglers that sail on our half day and full day fishing trips in NYC enjoy sport fishing, catch and release is a staple – although not required, as long as regulations permit – on board and our crew can help you use the proper procedure to be sure that you are safely handling your fish. Buy a ticket for an upcoming fishing boat trip to experience the best sport fishing in NYC.

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