Coarse fishing is an activity that is done for fun we therefore practice a catch and release principle and in most cases it is illegal to take fish for the table. If you are considering this then you will need to read the bye laws for the area in which you are fishing and check the fishery rules. It is however illegal to take fish from one fishery and introduce them into another fishery; this prevents the spread of diseases. Releasing your catch will help preserve stocks for future generation.
Small fish up to 10cm in size can be lifted out of the water unsupported by lifting them out of the water by lifting the rod and gently swinging the fish I and catching it with your spare hand.
Fish over 10cm in size should be supported when lifting out of the water; this is done by using a landing net.
Fish should be handled with wet hands; this is to ensure that the protective slim on the outside of the fish does not get removed. This slim protects the fish from disease and from invasive insects.
Small fish can be unhooked by holding the fish in one hand and then by using the free hand to carefully guide the hook point back out of the fish in the opposite direction to what it entered. Do not yank the hook out as this will damage the fish’s mouth. For larger fish it is advised to leave them in the landing net whilst holding the fish firmly down, to stop it flapping about and injuring itself. This can be done by placing the net on your knees or on an unhooking mat for larger fish.
Unhooking takes practice – if you are struggling return the fish to the water for a minute and then try again or ask a friend to help.
Unhooking Using a Disgorger
A disgorger is an essential tool in fishing. It is used when a fish takes the hook down into the mouth and it’s not possible to hold the hook.
To use a disgorger twist the line around the tool near to the fish’s mouth and slide the slot on the line. Pull the line tight between the rod tip and the fish! – Keep it tight! Slide the disgorgers slot down into the fish until it reaches the hook and push a little further to dislodge the hook. Make a half turn and then pull it out.
Keeping the line tight is the key to success!
Keepnets are used to retain fish in for the duration of the fishing trip, fish should not be retained for more than 5 hours and no fish over 1lb should be retained in a keepnet. Most fisheries do not allow the use of them and generally they would only be used in a match.
Do not throw fish back into the water! Gently release the fish in the edge of the lake and it should swim straight away. Bigger fish may need time to recover, place them back into the landing net and then lower them into the edge of the lake, take your time to make sure the fish has regained full strength and is able to swim off strongly. In warm conditions large fish may take some time to right themselves however it’s important to help them otherwise they can die if left unaided.