Florida is known as “The Fishing Capital Of The World”, and for good reason. In 2009, over a million people bought a saltwater recreational fishing license in Florida, 646,000 Florida residents and 384,000 non-residents. Those anglers take an estimated 11 million fishing trips a year. Thats a lot of fishing pressure on the states fish population. Florida’s fishery managers have implemented a slew of regulations to control harvest of the states fish populations, but it is up to the anglers of the state to ensure there are plenty of fish left in the oceans for future generations. One of the best ways to do this is to practice catch and release.
There are many things that will kill a fish that has been hooked and brought to the boat, but the biggest killer is stress. The struggle to escape your hook can exhaust the fish causing an accumulation of excessive amounts of lactic acid in their muscles and blood and leading to death. The best way to prevent this from happening is to use fishing tackle that is large enough to allow you to quickly land your catch. “Fighting” your catch sounds like fun, but causes unnecessary stress on the fish. Hook wounds can also cause fatal damage to fish. If the fish swallows your hook or is hooked in a way that will make it hard to remove the hook, it is best to just cut the line. It is also a good idea to use steel or bronze hooks. Steel and bronze hooks dissolve in a few days and have no lasting effect on the fish.Stainless steel, cadmium- or nickel-plated hooks take much longer to dissolve causing more damage to the fish.
Here are some other tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Decide beforehand which fish are to be kept and immediately release all others.
Avoid the use of gaffs and never remove large fish such as tarpon from the water.
If the hook is difficult to remove by hand, use long-nosed pliers or a hook-removal tool.
Try fishing with barbless hooks or crimp and remove the barb.
Wet your hands or gloves before handling the fish.
If your fish is in good shape, put it back into the water headfirst.
Large pelagic species such as sharks and tarpon should be brought alongside the boat within 20 minutes of being hooked.
Reel Work Sport Fishing
301 Seabreeze Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Ft Lauderdale Fishing Charters