Fish Handling Tips

Fish Care Videos
Pro Aaron Martens provides valuable tips for properly handling fish so they can fight another day.

Yeah, I'm very avid, but I have a few times not letting the fish in, I tell guys back east.  They're really bad about it, some of the guys.  But never let the fish touch the boat.  Carpet, boat.  I mean, when I bounce a fish I have a Phoenix sticker about that big around and when I bounce like a three or four pounder, usually a two pounder you can handle pretty well.  Hold them up and kind of grab them.  

And we don't use nets, so usually when I get the bigger fish they always hit that spot.  It's funny because it's like, it's right where most of the fish land.  If I have a big one, he's flopping real hard and I don't want the bait to fly out and whatever might happen, might pull his lip out or whatever.  I kind of will lay him down.  It's like a slick material.  It's like a sticker.  It's got kind of soft and it's like a rubberized material.  I lay him right down on that spot and it's white.  It's like a white color and so it doesn't get hot.  But I believe if you bounce a fish in the bottom of the boat where your feet go when you drive, and you let him flop around, there's a good chance you probably kill that fish.  Or it made him sick or he's going to get spots on him. 

Some lakes are different than others.  Some lakes they'll heal up, but a lot of places back east are real hot and I see so many fish that have like the mold growing on them and they're all covered in mold.  I mean, I see them almost every day I'm fishing.  I know it's from those guys that bounce them on the carpet.  The water is 90 degrees and there's parasites everywhere and stuff attacks them.  So I get really avid about that.  I tell them, I've yelled at guys, elite guys, get that fish off the carpet.  I get kind of mad about it.  

But that rule on the MLF is my rule.  The not touching, the penalty for letting them touch the carpet.  When I tell them that at the beginning they kind of didn't do it and I was, like, that's the most important rule you can have.  You know, conservation, you're saving fish.  The next tournament that came out, they made that rule.  And a lot of guys, I've been penalized like six times.  I've had fish on the hooks that come off, fall on the carpet.  I've had fish that were small and hooked them and I couldn't keep up with them and they hit the carpet.  I've had six or eight penalties at least from that.