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Correctly Holding Fish

safe Angling Practice #6: 

When landing a fish and removing it from the water for a quick photo, holding the fish in a horizontal fashion, with one hand near the head, gently under the jaw flaps in front of the gills or the lower jaw, depending on the fish, and the other hand/ arm under the fish’s belly or chest to support the fish’s body weight, is much better for the fish.

As the fish’s environment is the water, it’s body weight is supported by the water itself, in part floating the mass of the fish’s body. Out of water, gravity is much more pronounced, thus the fish has pull on the fish’s body and internal organs, etc., is much more stressful.

Holding a fish vertically by it’s lower jaw or gill flaps puts an unnatural strain on the fish, potentially straining and/ or dislocating the fish’s jaw or spine. This is esp. true of larger fish, with much more body mass that is buoyed by water in it’s natural environment.