View Full Version : releasing air for catch and release

08-10-2005, 10:05 AM
check out bodega rockies for article on this subject or sharpen a football needle and insert it thru the side of fish into the air bladder sometimes add hand pressure to help expell air, it heals quickly and they survive.

08-10-2005, 10:34 AM
dude, that's for deep sea fishin' you don't have to do that to bass or trout.

08-10-2005, 10:36 AM
This is amateur, Doctor Kildare, "I'm a PC conservationist" excuse material for just killing fish & then feeling good about it. If you catch it but it won't survive release, easy to gauge....suck it up & just keep it. In Canada, they use the term "Live Release". That spells it out. If you need to stick needles in the thing, and do amateur medical procedures on the poor critter...who are you kidding? Why not perform CPR on it too? Next day the fish floats up, while you're 200 miles away and telling yourself what a great sportsman you are because you scrupulously released 20 & only kept your 5. C & R "sportsmen" are the main reason that inland fisheries are in trouble, IMO. If you catch it, keep it...and if you aren't going to eat it...don't fish at all....please. Take up rock climbing, or "bouldering", or some other cool yuppie outdoor sport instead.

08-10-2005, 11:15 AM

From a previous post on the Bodega Rock Fish Thread

Regarding catch and release and bringing them up from deep and their air bladder expanding from the change in hydrostatic pressure. at lake tahoe where the mackinaw are brought up from 1-200 ft. this is a normal occurence and in order for them to swim back down the air pressure must be relieved. a sharpened football needle inserted thru its side into the air bladder will relieve the pressure and sometime extra hand pressure on the side of the fish will help expell the air. this heals quickly and the fish survive. Mickey daniels has been doing this for 30 years at lake tahoe and tagging them for 25 years. he has re-caught his tagged fish as long as fifteen years since first caught. many other people have caught his tagged fish and called and told him where and when.

08-10-2005, 11:17 AM
I'm going to chime in on this one. I fish in the ocean alot and you don't always catch your target species. When we are at Catalina fishing for yellows and a black seabass inhales your offering, the only thing to do is to bleed the air bag so it can swim back down. Sometimes you just don't know what you have till you see it and by then it's to late. If I can figure it out early in the fight I will break it off, but that's hard to do because they fight the same at first. The only time you need let air out of fish is when they're bottom dwellers and you pull them up. I am not an amateur at this, and I will keep fish if there not going to make it. But what are you supposed to do with fish that you not allowed to keep. Might as well take a chance at revivng that fish, right. How about doing all the things neccessary before hooking the fish(circle hooks, barbless, artificial lures,etc.) to protect them from dying. My 2cts and that's about it.

08-10-2005, 01:06 PM
dude, that's for deep sea fishin' you don't have to do that to bass or trout.

I personally have never needed to use such procedures, mainly because I have never fish much below 50 feet deep- however, I know from heresay and from people that I have spoke to in the past few years that do indeed use this procedure on bass (and trout it appears) brought up from the deep, especially in winter months when they are considerably deeper than the rest of the year.
If you are truly taking measures to do such to a fish, it would appear to me(IMO) that the person is making an effort to keep the fish alive- Im definitely not saying that practice makes perfect, but a knowledgeable and experienced angler with such abilities should do so if it means the life or death of a fish. IMO.

08-10-2005, 02:24 PM
how about reeling them in slowly? i use this method all the time with bass caught 50' down... the only thing is, you tend to lose alot more fish by not reeling fast...(maybe that's why when fishing in deep water some tend to "horse" them in) but if you bring them up s l o w l y they seem to do very well, swimming right back down when released...if you pull them straight in and release, they're gonna be easy pickens for the birds... i highly doubt that c&r fishing is the reason inland fisheries are in trouble... seeing as how i've caught the same fish more than once.... however i do cringe when i see people leaving with limits every time... i guarantee those who do that have killed many more fish than i have!

08-10-2005, 03:22 PM
You are absolutely right jon_M- I know my only problem with bringing in a fish from deep is that I'm too excited to reel slowly- but I think a conscious effort to do so could, if adopted, reduce the fatality rate-
I must claim ignorance on the fact though that I really dont know just how much of a problem we have with this whole issue?
Are we losing that many fish to death because we are hauling them from the deep that is caused a bit of a stir up?
I ask these things because I do want to know- the more informed we are, the better off we are.

08-10-2005, 03:34 PM
well said BassFooler, ithink we should worry more about water resources,pollution,ect than fishermen,who tend to want to preserve the fisheries, inadvertantly killing a few fish!

08-10-2005, 05:06 PM
It think that the key is to understand what you are doing as an individual and then act responsibly. There is always going to be some mortality from any type of catch and release. But if you are fishing deep, the mortality rate increases quite a bit. It depends on the type of fish, the water conditions, the type of gear, and the depth.

Here is what goes on:

All the fish's body fluids contain dissolved gasses. Mostly nitrogen actually, since that is the most abundant gas in the atmosphere. When you bring a fish up from deep water, as pressure decreases and temperature increases, bubbles form in the blood and in most of the tissues . You don't see this effect or the damage that results from it, but the fish gets the bends. What you see is expansion of the swim bladder. The swim bladder usually contains gas in the gaseous state rather than dissolved gas. How much gas depends on whether the fish was using its bladder to remain suspended at a particular depth or not. Bottom fish usually use their bladders to maintain neutral buoyancy so that they don't have to use much energy while swimming. Some mid water fish don't use their bladders much which allows them to swim rapidly to different depths to feed. Other fish like ling, halibut, and catfish keep their air bladders deflated so that they can lay on the bottom. The amount of swelling you see when you bring a deep fish up usually depends on how much air was in the bladder in the first place. The volume of gas increases as pressure decreases. A good rule of thumb is that the volume of the bladder will increase 2-fold every 30 ft. So bringing up a fish from 60 ft will increase the volume of the swim bladder by a factor of 4. Bringing up a fish from 90 ft will increase the volume by a factor of 8. This expansion damages both the bladder and the surrounding organs. The longer the bladder is expanded (and the longer bubbles persist in the other tissues), the more damage that is done. So if you are going to return a fish caught deep, it is best to get it back to the original depth as soon as possible.

This can be done either by puncturing the bladder as described and hoping that the fish can swim back down or by hooking the fish onto a release device and lowering the fish back down rapidly. The second method is far superior. Most people never learn how to puncture the swim bladder without damaging other organs. The "right" way varies according to the species of fish. Squeezing a fish to remove the air does as much harm as good. You can't do this without doing further damage to internal organs that are already stressed from the bends.

So what are the survival rates? Generally not very good for fish hooked at depths greater than 60 ft or so. The fact that some tagged fish are eventually re-captured doesn't tell us very much. Do 50% survive? Or is it less than 10%? Some studies have been done, but the results are very specific to a given species and set of water conditions. The point is that a lot of fish that are released after being brought up from deep water are going to die. Punching a hole in the side of a fish and squeezing the air out may let it swim away and let you feel better. But understand that many are going to die and be wasted. When the regs let you fish for rockfish at 120 ft and require that you release certain species, the goal is only to try to keep you "off" those species.

Personally, I try not to fish deep if there are alternatives. 50 ft is about my limit. Like several others on the boards, I've learned that even macs will move up to fairly shallow water when they are actively feeding. If I have to fish deep (such as this time of year at Tahoe), I plan on keeping everything I catch. In saltwater, I just rationalize the release of illegal species as by catch. I hate it, but that's the way it must be. If I ever got into a bunch of cow cod or yellow eyes, I would probably move the boat.

08-10-2005, 07:51 PM
that sucks, i wish those release devices were more available and easy to use... :'( :'( :'(

08-11-2005, 07:28 AM
For a simple release device that works well, tie a large barb less hook upside down to your line with a large weight attached to the eye. Hook the fish in the lip, put your reel in free spool and toss it in. The weight drags the fish to the bottom then pull up on the line to release the fish.

08-11-2005, 07:56 AM
My gosh Doc- where did you go to have all of this information implanted into yer brain??? You have more information on more subjects and more fixes to more problems that I thought was possible to come from one person- :o
Pretty damn impressive.

08-11-2005, 09:29 AM
Great thread and comments from doc as usual. I have always felt that when it comes to catch and release arguments that if you do not want to hurt the little fishies, don't throw sharp pointy things into the water for them to bite. ::)

Bless us and splash us ;D

08-11-2005, 09:33 AM
Great thread and comments from doc as usual. I have always felt that when it comes to catch and release arguments that if you do not want to hurt the little fishies, don't throw sharp pointy things into the water for them to bite. ::)

Okay!!! Who's throwing knives at the fishes'es?? ;D

08-11-2005, 05:22 PM
as drstressor said what is the actual mortality rate. 0 % is ideal for c&r but this is the real world. the ones that do survive are better than none and its all part of the food chain. daniels has a diary he has been keeping for years and he would be glad to answer questions i think

08-16-2005, 02:04 PM
As a tournament bass fisherman I know that i have had to pop the air bladder of countless fish at places like Folsom, Oroville, and even clear lake. The fact is fish don't have to be really really deep to have a problem. I've had fish in 15 feet of water that couldn't get back down. While uncommon, it happens. This isn't some foreign practice, you can go to fisherman's warehouse or anywhere else and purchase a needle designed specifically for this purpose and they come with instructions. You may not think that a lot of fish need to be popped but I watched a weigh in at Folsom last year where guys didn't know how to pop their fish. By the end of weigh in there were 10 bass floating around and they died. If a bass can't get down, that doesn't get better with time, the bends don't go away, that fish will never sink, its dead. If a fish floats you need to pop it or sink it. There is a very simple method to sink a fish... Tie weights to the inside of a milk crate and tie a rope to the outside bottom. Set the crate in the water bottom up and insert fish, it will float up inside and be trapped. Lower the crate to the bottom, wait a minute and pull up the crate. As soon as the fish depressurizes it can swim away as there is no bottom to the crate. It works and its simple.

Have fun out there but be responsible!


08-20-2005, 07:48 AM
And what about tournaments where they release everything??

08-24-2005, 10:29 AM
Hay all,
Can you burp a fish on the way up and make a difference?
How deep will it work if you can?
How is it done if doable? :-[


08-24-2005, 10:45 AM
Some fish have air bladders that are connected to the esophagus and some do not. Macs have such a connection and can be burped. To do this, you have to stop the boat and fight the fish vertically. Deep caught macs generally just give up once you get them high enough off the bottom for the air bladder to expand. The trick is to stop pulling them up about 30 - 40 ft below the boat. Keep a tight line and wait until you see a big bubble or two come to the surface. Then bring them in the rest of the way. Be prepared for a surface fight at the boat if they have been burped properly.

I do this with larger macs that I don't intend to keep. And that would be all larger macs. ;D