Do you net them and tie them off to boat or net and bring in boat and risk total destruction of property?
nice flathead:wink:I try to keep my handling of a flathead to a minimum.
If it is a small fish that I don't want to bother snapping a picture of, I will try to lip him and remove the hook and let him go without bringing him into the boat. If it is a situation where I cannot lip him, too much current or something like that, I will net him but leave the net in the water, remove the hook, and let him go directly into the river.
If it is a fish that I want a photo of, I will net him and remove the hook and leave the net in the water until I am ready to photo - when ready the fish comes out of the net - smiles pretty for a picture - and right back into the water with as little handling as possible.
If it is a really big fish or I am alone trying to handle a big fish - I will net him and lift him carefully into the boat. I have found that taking a very soaking, wet rag and placing it on their head to cover their eyes will sometimes keep them calm and prevent them from thrashing around. I try to get them back in the water as quickly as possible.
I have never tied off a fish. I'm not sure how you would do that. I would hate to see someone running a rope through their gills or cutting a hole in their jaw for a rope. I do have a very large, soft duck decoy bag on my boat just in case I want to try to keep a large fish alive for longer than a quick photo. It will hold a very large flathead with no problem and wouldn't hurt the fish that much. I've never used it yet but I am prepared just in case I need a large "Keep" bag.