Catching and releasing a fish that is too small or simply because you want it to live is a wonderful gesture. Unfortunately many well meaning anglers grab, squeeze, plop on the ground, handle with a towel, etc. in an attempt to remove a hook. A released fish may appear to swim away, but if you handle a fish in an inappropriate manner it will most likely die! To properly release a fish try to remove the hook without removing the fish from the water or touching it. Never touch a fish with dry hands. A hemostat, available at tackle shops, is an especially useful tool for removing a hook. If the fish has swallowed the hook do not attempt to remove it, instead cut the line as short as possible. If the fish has trouble swimming away, gently support it upright in the water moving it slowly back and forth to allow water to pass through its gills until it regains its strength and is able to swim away. Following these guidelines will improve the quality of fishing and enhance the enjoyment you derive from it!

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