Catch and Release

Here are some tips when releasing a fish

Released Galjoen

In recent years the technology of fishing reels, rods, line and terminal tackle has drastically evolved so that we could all stand a decent chance of catching a fish. Braided lines allow a fisherman to get a greater distance where previously you had to put in way more effort and possible wade to get to the same distance. Rods are built stronger but lighter making for a more comfortable throw, and with reels in particular grinder/spinning reels allow for an easier cast with less resistance from line or braid when casting. While this is the case, all these improvements, however, make it easier for fishermen to overexploit fish species along our coast. With this comes great responsibility put into the angler(s) hands as the entire coast of South Africa is very poorly patrolled and managed due to not enough manpower and mismanagement of resources.

Released Red Steenbras

Catch and release has so much more in it than just the eye can see. Fishermen often get crucified when releasing fish next to local anglers, aswell as on Facebook getting told it’s just a sport/hobby for them. It indeed is a sport and a hobby and a way of sourcing naturally caught fresh fish. But it can be done more sustainable if the education and knowledge of which species to keep, bag limits and size to keep and which seasons they are allowed to get caught in is known, and this you can get at your local post office when you go buy a Fishing permit annually.

By releasing fish that are not needed/undersized or out of season you are allowing future generations to get the same pleasure that you have whilst enjoying your hobby. It is also your duty as a fisherman to report illegal activities.

Released Silver Kob

Here are some tips when releasing a fish:

  • Always respect a fish or any other marine creature.
  • Always keep the fish in a rockpool or bucket with fresh seawater.
  • Never drag the fish up the beach or leave the fish on dry sand.
  • Never grab a fish by its gills but rather pick it up around its body to support its weight.
  • If the fish has swallowed the hook do not try and play doctor or surgeon and rather cut the line as close to the mouth as possible.
  • Try and keep the fish on a wet surface when working with it without dropping or damaging the fish.
  • Try and get the fish as quickly as possible back into the sea and limit photos to 2 or 3.

If you are very interested in catch and release, contact Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) in Durban and become part of a scientific tag and release project that will only benefit fish species in South Africa.

Released Garrick

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