Catch and release refers to the manner in which a fish is caught and then released back into the water. The primary purpose for catch and release is to help sustain the population of many fish species, especially when threatened by natural and man-made causes, including over fishing.
Bass are one species for which catch and release is often suggested. Successfully releasing a caught fish back into the water involves the proper catching and handling of the fish.
Playing the Bass
Hooked bass should be allowed to struggle against the line as little as possible. Playing a fish should be kept to a minimum, as the more time a hooked bass spends fighting, the greater the possibility of injury to the mouth and body.
Reel the fish into the boat or bank while attempting to guide the bass away from structures such as stumps and limbs. Structures can oftentimes provide wrap points for line in which a bass may become tangled and injured.
Lipping or Netting the Bass
Retrieve a bass from the water by either gripping the lip or netting. Guide the bass to a convenient location so that it may be retrieved. Gripping the lip of the bass involves reaching down to the water level and using the thumb and fingers to clamp the lower lip of the bass.
Lift the bass with firm pressure on the lip and bring the bass up to a level where the hook may be removed. Net a bass by scooping the net under the bass while in the water. Net the bass with the head going into the net first to help reduce injury and prevent the bass from swimming away.
Releasing the Bass
Release the bass by grasping the lip of the bass with one hand and supporting the body with the other. Examine the bass to make sure all hooks and line are clear and lower the bass to the water level. Position the bass under the surface of the water and move the bass from side to side to force water through the gills of the fish. Gently move a hand toward the tail of the fish and release as the fish swims away.
Article Written By Keith Dooley
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.