Original post made by Brian McKee(Brimcowa) on May 2, 2003 Keeping that fish alive to fight another day There are many complications associated with treble hooks. I doubt there are many cats out there that succumb due to a lack of oxygen or feeding opportunities caused by the lodging of a treble in a most inopportune location on its anatomy. But with that said, why run the risk of causing such a situation to happen at all? Hence, I stopped purchasing trebles some time ago... There are many catch and release scenarios that can cause death either quick and painless or slow and deplorable. The first one is connected to the length of the fight. A fish, (due to its lack of red blood cells in its muscle tissue) become oxygen starved and tire quickly and recover much more slowly than us mammals! Biologists attribute most angling kills to this sort of avoidable situation...fish on?...get it to hand or net as quickly as possible and release it...right away! The chances of survival drop considerably the longer you play a fish. This always annoys me when I see a C&R show where the host or guest holds the fish by the tail as if they are doing the fish a favor. Release it...NOW!! Holding the fish until it's "recovered" from the fight is not IN ANY WAY beneficial to the fish, and only serves to alleviate a small semblence of guilt associated with the struggle that the holder might feel he has caused. And speaking of holding...the next greatest killer of fish...a very slow death I might add, is attributable to doing just that...HOLDING! That slime on the fish serves a very important purpose to its survival. If you remove or disturb it in any way, you might just as well have killed it right then and there. It would have been more humane than the slow death from the bacteria, microbes and fungi that are now able to penetrate the fish by your loosing of the fish's armor. That slime is as important to that fish as his gills! By your disturbance of it, there is no way for that fish to survive...period! What to do? There are special gloves out there that won't remove the slime but I just simply reach down with needlenose while keeping pressure on the line and release my 2/0 with a quick flick of the wrist. If the fish is pretty big, you can grab it through the gill plate as long as you stay away from the gill tissue. The gill plate does offer an ample gripping area and tends to subdue the fish under most instances. Nets are last. They too can do damage to that protective coating and even tear the flesh which speeds the infection process. If you can't see the hook, you can pry the mouth open with your needlenose or hook removers but if the hook is not in sight...cut the line! We are not (at least most of us are not) surgeons and when we start fumbling around and groping down into the gullet of a fish to retrieve a $.25 hook, the internal damage we cause is reason enough to throw the guy on ice. So just cut the line if it's a C&R situation. So get him to heel quick, don't touch, don't grope around, don't drag it through the sand, don't even bring it out of the water if you can help it...the kinder you are in your C&R the better survival chances of the quarry, to grow and give bigger and better fights down the road.