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Fishing Etiquette

pick up the goddamned trash!


How often do we reach a fishing spot only to see it dressed with rubbish - like a terrible fashion disaster? Or bring home every fish, big or small until one day, there is none left? We made these mistakes not because we want to but because the spread of fishing etiquette were limited. But now with the rapid spread of internet and responsibility on our part, all of that can change. Here are five all should undertake.

1. Leave No Trash

Everybody loves a scenic fishing spot so make it a habit to bring trash home for proper disposal. It is not about my trash or your trash but our trash.

2. Proper Fish Handling

Fish may appear strong when making runs but are actually quite delicate. Resuscitate them before releasing. Hold its tail and push forward (against current if there is any) repeatedly until it is strong enough to swim away by itself. If you are fishing from a high platform and water is out of reach, release the fish from as high as possible head first into the water.

Fish can be thumbed for photography and release as long as it is done vertically and swiftly. Thumbing hard struggling species or anything more than 2lb is not encouraged though. Cradling, belly-lifting or palming are still the preferred choice of experienced fishermen when net or lip-grip is not available.

3. Practice Catch Limit

Not limited only to amount but size as well. The local Fish and Game department usually provides a guideline to this but when one is not available, we will have to exercise our own judgement. Can I eat that many fish? Is this species getting rare around my place? Is it too small for consumption?

4. Fishing Spot Priority

First come first serve, simple as that. If you see someone fishing alone, don't just walk over and give him a big loud "Hello!" Certain fish like the old common carp or mahseer is sensitive to noises. One loud friendly "hello" can ruin hours of waiting. Wave your right hand as a form of greeting and wait for a reply. Read between the lines of his reply to see if it is a "come let's fish together" or "I prefer to be left alone." The same applies for boat fishing.

5. Be Independent

Tie your own rigs. Bring your own equipment. If I rely on a friend to tie my rig then two people will cease to fish. Fishermen are friendly and will offer their tackle if we forgot ours. That is fine and it will create strong bond among fishermen. Just make sure we don't make it a habit and turn into a tackle leech.

Leave no trash and everyone can fish in scenic rivers like the Monongahela...

or soul soothing jungle ponds of South East Asia.

Thumbing fish for photo. Do it swiftly and no harm will come to the fish.
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Belly-lifting a bighead carp of 8-9kg. For catch and release, hand beneath the gills instead of in it.

Friends will gladly lend you their tackle but that doesn't mean one should be a tackle leech.