How To Hold A Fish

Learn how to hold a fish for proper catch and release in this essential video.
Loading the player ...

Trouble viewing this video? Watch it on Youtube!

View Transcript

Hey folks. Glenn May here with and today, I want to talk to you about how to hold a fish.


Now I've seen on our Facebook page and on our forums, we post lots of pictures and every once in a while someone will post and say 'hey your'e holding the fish wrong, you're going to hurt them'. Well sometimes that's right, and often times it's not. So let me show you the ways that you can handle a fish and you won't hurt them either.


There's basically three different ways. Two are universal and one is contingent. So let me show you the contingent one first.


Well we happen to have a volunteer right here. We pull them out.  Come here you. Feisty little guy.


Now, one of the things you have to keep in mind when you grab a fish is you have to have a really firm grip on them. You don't have to have a death grip, but a really firm grip so he doesn't wriggle out of your hands.


Now, the contingent way to hold them, so you can see I got him on a little bit of an angle. I've put a lot of weight on the jaw right there. That's okay for a fish this small. That's perfectly fine because he doesn't have a whole lot of weight so there's not a ton of pressure on his jaw. Now if he was three pounds, four pounds or more than that, then no, you don't want to hold them that way because there's too much pressure on the jaw and you can actually damage it. But a fish this size, this is perfectly acceptable.


And I think this is where a lot of misconceptions are coming about holding fish. With the smaller ones, it's okay to do this, but not the bigger ones.


Let me show you how to hold them the universal way regardless of size. Let me grab another one.


So when you're grabbing a bigger fish, like I said, you cannot hold them that way. There's really two ways to hold them. One is straight up and down and this is okay for a fish this big. You're not putting pressure or stress on the jaw. It's hanging straight down.


Think of it as when you're hanging from the monkey bars as a kid. You're grip is going to give up long before your shoulder or elbows do. This is ok for fish this big.


Now another way to hold the fish is to support its weight and then you can hold them sideways. Again I'm just supporting its weight. I'm just putting, see my finger. I'm not grabbing him. You don't want to hold him, you don’t want to rub off any slime coat on them.


Then again that's why you want to have a firm grip, cause if they fall on the ground, the slime coat will come off, but this is another great way to hold the fish. Great for pictures. This way or this way, but don't hold them sideways like I just showed the smaller one, cause that can damage a fish like this.


Hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit

Watch More Fish Care Videos