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I see many posts about fish handling and care mentioning being cautious about touching the fish as removing the slime coating to be harmful, and some sites to even go as far to saying it's commonly fatal. 

 

I don't believe this to be the case, or at least believe it to be so critically the case. I fish several local ponds that get a good bit of fishing traffic, and I frequently see other anglers, and myself included, handling fish with bare hands that haven't been wetted prior to doing so. Yet I never, ever see dead fish in these bodies of water. If rubbing off the fish's slime was so lethal, wouldn't I see more dead fish?

 

I'm not saying I do it intentionally, but many times if I can't lip the bass due to it flopping around, I may grasp it under the belly as that many times will calm the fish while I'm unhooking it.

 

What's your take? Am I wrong in my assumptions? or is it more a tale of caution to the fish rather than imminent death?

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I think its more of a tale of caution.  Taking the slime coat off will only make the fish more vulnerable to infections and disease, not give it diseases spontaneously.  So if anything it just increases the risk.  Plus, handling the fish quickly and gently may not remove the slime coat entirely.

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I've heard people be really cautious with trout, but I've never fished for them so don't know. 

 

The only thing I do religiously is dip the measuring board before putting them on it. 

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Removing the slime from one side of the fish as can happen when laying the fish on the boat deck to unhook or measure will create a situation of more water resistance on the slime-less side and force the fish to swim in a circle.

 

Please send all inquiries about my mountain top Florida cottage to my personal message account!  Thanks you.

 

 

oe

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The slime coat quickly grows back when the fish is put back in the water, unless the water is poor quality.

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I see many posts about fish handling and care mentioning being cautious about touching the fish as removing the slime coating to be harmful, and some sites to even go as far to saying it's commonly fatal. 

 

I don't believe this to be the case, or at least believe it to be so critically the case. I fish several local ponds that get a good bit of fishing traffic, and I frequently see other anglers, and myself included, handling fish with bare hands that haven't been wetted prior to doing so. Yet I never, ever see dead fish in these bodies of water. If rubbing off the fish's slime was so lethal, wouldn't I see more dead fish?

 

I'm not saying I do it intentionally, but many times if I can't lip the bass due to it flopping around, I may grasp it under the belly as that many times will calm the fish while I'm unhooking it.

 

What's your take? Am I wrong in my assumptions? or is it more a tale of caution to the fish rather than imminent death?

Have you seen bass tournaments on TV? Fish slime care is the least you will see as a concern.

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Not all fish are equal regarding slime coating.

Bass in general are heavy scaled fish with heavy coating of protective slime that guards them against harmful bacteria or parasite in the water. Removing the slime coat subjects that area to desease, if a harmful bacteria or parasite is present in the water where the bass lives, before the slime recovers.

You see bass with sores, bleeding fins or tails not associated with nest building , it's a sign of desease. Bass die slowly from desease and you don't usually see them floating.

Boat carpets and nylon nets are more harmful than carefully hand handling the bass.

Tom

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I don't see it as a big deal. Sometimes the fish will jump off the hook landing on the ground and I have to pick them up and put them back in the water. I never see dead bass down there. I saw a dead bream yesterday, but I haven't fished for bream there for a long time. I see dead catfish there every so often, but I'm not allowed to fish for them, so that isn't because of me.

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A 2007 study that looked at agency guidelines or recommendations in this area (including all 50 states as well as 13 Canadian Provinces) found that "of the 25 agencies that discussed the importance of slime or scales, 19 also recommended handling a fish with wet hands, wet gloves, or a version thereof. Specifically, 59% recommended wet hands, 16% recommended wet gloves, and 25% recommended either." However, as of the study's publication date, there were not any published experiments that specifically dealt with slime removal or handling in a catch-and-release context. However, in aquaculture facilities it is a well known "best practice" that fish should be handled with wet hands and as minimally as possible. As such, that is likely a good guideline to go by.

 

-T9

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Honest question but where do all these delayed mortality dead bass end up? I do see occasional pike washed up on the *****. I do see dead perch and sunfish quite often floating or dying at the surface. But I have never even once seen a SMB or LMB.

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Fish are slightly more dense than the water in which they swim. Unless they die rather suddenly, most dead fish end up on the bottom of the lake to begin with. There, anything from turtles to crayfish can start feeding on the dead body. As such, most dead fish never make it to the surface because they have sit on the bottom for a while until the gases from decomposition build up in the swim bladder or body cavity which will then eventually float the fish.

 

-T9

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It's really all about timing. 10 seconds of exposure won't effect the slime coat too bad, and it'll get replenished once the fish is back in the water. Throwing the fish in the grass while you grab your camera and turn it on and otherwise not being somewhat respectful to the fish can result in the fish becoming infected. Essentially just keep the well-being of the fish in mind when handling and said fish should turn out fine.

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 I catch a lot of small runt bass in the clear water strip pits I fish at on my kayak and I pretty much grab them around the top.  I would lip them but they always jerk and will leave a mark on my left thumb and since they are small and numerous I just grab  the body from the top and I don't wet my hands before hand.   

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I've heard people be really cautious with trout, but I've never fished for them so don't know. 

 

The only thing I do religiously is dip the measuring board before putting them on it. 

I used to trout fish. You look at those fish wrong and they die. I wouldn't be surprised if I lost 1 of every 4 trout I ever caught. 

 

Bass however... I think its all a bunch of BS. I take care of my fish in a practical manner. Those that preach impractical fish handling need to practice what they preach by not fishing in the first place. The damage is done my friend. The MLF rules of landing fish while not touching the carpet or your body is absurd. Hanging a fish in mid-air from its hook hole while fumbling around trying to secure the fish without getting spiked or hooked??? 100% chance of tearing a larger hole in the fish. I promise you if you asked the fish they would rather touch the carpet that get their throat and gills torn up. 

 

Dipping the bump board is a reasonable practice and makes measuring the fish easier. (:

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I have filleted fish, of different kinds, leaving skin and scales on.  Wash them good and after while, while still fresh, there will be more slime on them.  This is really true with northern pike.  They are really slimy.  Slime on a live fish is rejuvenated quickly.  I remember reading somewhere that slime actually comes off of a fish, as it swims and is constantly refreshed.  Don't know if that is true.  Any biologists want to chime in?

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Not trying to change the subject here... but does anyone know how long it takes for the hole in the fish's mouth to heal?

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Not trying to change the subject here... but does anyone know how long it takes for the hole in the fish's mouth to heal?

lol

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Not trying to change the subject here... but does anyone know how long it takes for the hole in the fish's mouth to heal?

I would guess it's not much different from the healing time for humans. Which is 48 hrs to granulation- point when it is most fragile and prone to damage/re-opening- and about 2-3 weeks until it close to normal strength.

physiological%20changes.jpg

I have pulled a lot of LMB from the lake recently with jaw wounds in various stages of healing. These fish are beaten up this time of year.

Ooops sorry back to fish slime.

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I brought a really nice smallmouth into our quarantine tank when I worked at Cabela's. A few days before it's time to go into the aquarium was there, I found it floating on the surface nearly dead. When I netted it, there were 4 pink marks on one side, 1 on the other, nearly a perfect outline of someone's hand where they had grabbed the fish. Video later pointed to a custodian as the one who had been handling the fish. I'm guessing he must have had some kind of cleaner on his hands that removed the slime coat from the fish and eventually killed it. Normally I don't think that would have happened, but something to be aware of if you've possibly got something on your hands before handling a fish.

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Slime coat is very closely linked to stress coping in fish. It's customary to add artificial slime boosters into aquariums when adding new and stressed fish, as the slime coat is key to their overall comfort. Knowing how easily stress can kill a fish, care to not mess up their slime coat is an easy way to give that fish every advantage in recovery.

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The slime coat on a fish not only serves as a lubricant to reduce swimming friction, but is also an antiseptic

that staves off bacteria and fungi, similar to the saliva in your mouth.

Most lakes support turtles and ospreys, and some also support otter and eagles.

Not surprisingly, your window of opportunity to view a buoyant fish carcass is remarkably brief.

 

Roger

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Not trying to change the subject here... but does anyone know how long it takes for the hole in the fish's mouth to heal?

 

14.5 hours per millimeter     :glasses8:                

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I just err on the side of caution, I guess. I respect all life and don't want anything to die just for my recreation.

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that said, if I catch a trout, I'm eating it. That's what they stock them for.

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