Being a saltwater angler isn’t just about fishing during your free time, it’s about sustainably fishing. While you’re out on the water, doing what you love best, keep in mind these simple tips for fishing responsibly:
Limit your bag, don’t bag your limit.
Are you actually going to eat all those fish? How about take enough for a meal and release the rest for another day.
Attach ALL tackle to the main line.
This helps prevent loss of tackle, which is costly to you and harmful to your target species!
Use circle hooks.
These, along with wide gap and barbless hooks, greatly reduce the chance of lethally wounding fish. This is especially important in catch and release.
Have a fair fight.
Dragging out the fight time can stress fish, cranking fish in can hurt them. Be fair in your fight, to increase survival of released fish.
Release fish properly.
If you can’t keep the fish in the water, wet your hands before handling. Don’t use the gills or eyes as finger holds. Support under the belly of large fish. Return fish to the water head first. If a hook is stuck, cut the line as close to the hook as possible.
Catch a fish you weren’t targeting? Release it properly anyway! They help maintain the ecosystem of the species you love to catch.
Take photos, not trophies.
If you’re not planning on eating the fish, why kill it? Release mounts look identical to the actual fish – especially if you submit a photo of the one you catch! – and last a lot longer.
No trash equals a happy ocean.
Bring a garbage bag with you for a trash bag whenever you go fishing. Bring a separate bag for used monofilament. This can be recycled!
Watch where you tread.
Be mindful of the habitat around you. Stirring up silt, pulling eelgrass, and even causing big splashes can stress fish enough to make them leave the area.