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Cam R

Does it hurt a fish when you drop it

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When you’re unhooking a fish and it falls or you accidentally drop it, will it get injured in anyway?

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If it's only a few feet onto a carpeted deck, it might be a little stunned but that's all. Dropping it 5'+ onto a rail or gunnel might cause more damage.

 

"Let's be careful out there."

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Hello Cam and Welcome to Bass Resource ~

As @MN Fisher noted 'dropping' a fish may or may not 'injure' a fish.

Of course the act of 'hooking' the fish in the first place, can often be close to a mortal wound all my itself.

So there's that.

A-Jay

 

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Fish seem to be extremely durable and very fragile at the same time. I've caught them with massive, gaping wounds and spines so disfigured it was a wonder they could swim. Then I've had ones that seemed to be hooked in an area that should have been fine, and they go belly up about as fast as I can get them unhooked and back in the water despite careful handling. 

 

Fish live in a dangerous world, lots of things out there "can" injure or hurt them, I just do my best to try and be careful with them and not cause any extra harm to them. 

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I’m sure it hurts them to an extent, I mean if you fell full weight flat on the ground from 6 inches you may not be injured, but your gonna feel it. Oddly enough I have heard certain parts of a fish mouth have less nerve endings where being hooked may not be super painful, but for all I know Rapala wrote that article for tree huggers to think fishing is “humane” haha.

 

fish are pretty tough, but if you ever suspect you dropped it too hard, or perhaps gill hooked it so bad it’s gonna die, in those situations keep it, however I dropped a pike that tried to go crazy on me when we were taking a picture and he literally fish flopped himself back into the water and took off fast, which is strange because pike stun easily.

 

but, like one of the other anglers posted. I have nose hooked a pike landed it and released it within a minute and they have gone belly up even with me properly reviving the fish. 

 

I have been told fish release a stress hormone, when caught in my mind maybe it’s like adrenaline or something to where they can have too much and die from it? 

 

I am by no means a marine biologist so do not take this as fact. I might be right or my uncle told me an old wives tale and they die for unknown reasons during a fight. 

 

I do not recommend using lighter tackle than the fish your going for requires. It’s much safer to crank them in and release them quick than fight a 24 inch pike on a crappie rod for 30 minutes lol. Obviously exaggerating, and your gonna hook other species on accident, but generally speaking use equipment that matches your target.  

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10 hours ago, Cam R said:

When you’re unhooking a fish and it falls or you accidentally drop it, will it get injured in anyway?

I can't imagine it does any good. Bass are among the hardiest fish as far as rough handling, none the less, minimizing landing and handling actions that may be detrimental is just common sense and good sportsmanship. 

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Keep in mind, they frequently stock fish by dropping them from airplanes. I think one slipping from your hand now and then will be fine 😉

 

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1 hour ago, Team9nine said:

Keep in mind, they frequently stock fish by dropping them from airplanes. I think one slipping from your hand now and then will be fine 😉

 

4873BCB6-BA96-4366-B687-9A80A8824F0D.jpeg.7e84d3fda33d3eed37b63ab1c5c6bb79.jpeg

I’ve always wondered what the survival rate is by doing this. I’m pretty sure if it were humans there would be a lot floating after it were all said and done. 

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"Hurt" and "injured" are two different things.  Fish don't feel hurt, but they react to trauma, as in, get me back in the water.  They could be injured, but a short drop isn't likely to do much to a healthy fish.  A cut could get an infection or worse, parasite or fungus infect the wound, but again, a healthy fish, promptly returned to the water has a higher chance of survival.

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12 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

I’ve always wondered what the survival rate is by doing this. I’m pretty sure if it were humans there would be a lot floating after it were all said and done. 

Studies show 85-95% survival rate, though some agencies have claimed 99% - all pretty good odds, either way.

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Just now, Team9nine said:

Studies show 85-95% survival rate, though some agencies have claimed 99% - all pretty good odds, either way.

Those are great odds. I would have never thought it would be that high. Good to know. 

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1 minute ago, Team9nine said:

Studies show 85-95% survival rate, though some agencies have claimed 99% - all pretty good odds, either way.

I bet even more survive being eaten due to the bigger dispersal range as well.

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5 minutes ago, J Francho said:

I bet even more survive being eaten due to the bigger dispersal range as well.

Good point - lots of studies show the majority of fingerlings stocked in a lake from a single access point like a truck often end up being consumed in the first 6-24 hours by existing predators.

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28 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

I’ve always wondered what the survival rate is by doing this. I’m pretty sure if it were humans there would be a lot floating after it were all said and done. 

Not all living things are created equally. Cats can jump from incredible heights, and ants can withstand 5,000x their weight.

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7 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Good point - lots of studies show the majority of fingerlings stocked in a lake from a single access point like a truck often end up being consumed in the first 6-24 hours by existing predators.

Tens of thousands of trout are stocked in the trib near my house.  Just preceding this stocking, thousands, and I mean thousands of northerns of all sizes come up the creek, and wait in the flats for them.  It's actually a pretty amazing phenomenon.  I paddle up there, and have 30-40 northern pike days with a beat up BB-Z Junior, lol. 

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Respect the game you hunt and fish by handling them with care or killing quickly. Accidents happen that harm animals it's a hazardous world.

Bouncing bass into a boat is still common place and does harm the fish, dropping them isn't any different except it's a accident in lieu of a purposeful act.

Tom

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During the spawn my wife worked a LMB on a bed for about half an hour before she finally made it "eat." She dropped it while she was unhooking it. It went back to the bed and it had a dark spot and white flesh on its head from where it fell on a rock. I'm sure that hurt. We saw the same bruised fish on its bed for several daya in a row though, until it had moved on. We never messed with it again. For one it wasn't worth catching, but my wife had never had the opportunity to try to catch a fish off a bed; and for two, it had had enough after that.

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Thanks for the responses. I always catch and release and want all fish to be healthy when I release them. 

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I think the species also has a big part to do with, will it injure them or not. Bass are pretty durable, catfish refuse to die,  you can breath on a trout and kill it, not really, but trout are very fragile fish. 

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I am sure it doesn't feel so good for them, I wouldn't go Gronk spiking a bass. We all drop one once and a while, just be careful.

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I'd be more concerned of them losing thier slime coat than being dropped 3 ft

 

 

 

Mike

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They are constantly producing slime coat, so I'm not even too worried about that. 

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“Falls in a well, eyes go crossed. Gets kicked by a mule, they go back...I don’t know”

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2 hours ago, J Francho said:

They are constantly producing slime coat, so I'm not even too worried about that. 

Then there ya go!

 

 

 

 

Mike

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3 minutes ago, Mike L said:

Then there ya go!

 

 

 

 

Mike

I'll do you one further, if you accidentally scuff one up really good, you can put a cup of Kosher salt in your livewell, set it to recirc, and let it stay there for 10 minutes, then let them go.  Cull tags help with gentle removal.  The Kosher salt in that percentage is safe for the fish, and will stimulate slime coat production, and ward off parasites.

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