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Thread: Handling fish (tailing)

  1. Default Handling fish (tailing)

    I've been meaning to bring this up for some time now, and keep forgetting, but after this weekend at Leliekloof I decided to make a point of it. When handling larger fish (trout is this case) I have seen guys holding the fish by the tail (peduncle) and supporting the head under the pectoral fins/stomach. Now I reckon this is the best (is it???) way to handle a larger fish, since you are putting very little pressure on it's intestines (by pressing on the stomach) and holding it by the strongest part of the tail (peduncle). What does bother me, is seeing photographs of people holding fish in this way, BUT where the tail is bent upwards or downwards! That cannot be good - can it? The tails are supposed to be able to move sideways only, not up and down.





    The images above are just examples of what I mean - not pointing these (unknown) guys out. Is this something to pay attention too - or would this not really cause any damage/discomfort to the fish?
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  2. #2
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    I don't think its really a problem. What does bother me, is when guys pick up a fish vertically by the tail without supporting it in the abdomen. Particularly large saltwater fish. This apparently can cause dislocation of the spine.
    Squeezing a trout in the stomach or intestines, I don't think causes any permanent damage or discomfort unless its done very heavy handedly. As for discomfort, theres probably less discomfort than having a dirty great hook in the mouth. The pictures you posted are no problem, a trouts tail does have some up and down movement, not as much as side to side, granted, and when a trout "porpoises" to rise for surface food, they do arch their back and tail to some extent, but the guys in the picture aren't causing the trout any serious adverse effects.
    Disclaimer.... none of my posts are intended to be "expert advice"..just opinions from someone who is willing to help where he can.

  3. #3
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    Interesting thread Mario.

    I have no background in saying this, but I would be surprised if that upward/downward motion (without extreme force) causes damage. I suspect ligaments,vertebrae, etc will allow some give in the upward/downward range without causing damage, but I am guessing here.

    Would be great to have some scientific input.

  4. #4

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    Good post - bothers me every time I see it.
    And I've even seen it in some of my own pics which bothers me triple!
    It's not hard to turn one's hand around either - which shows the fish's tail better too.
    milk2.jpg
    The highest form of existence is play.

  5. #5
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    If you see how the fish are handled at the hatcheries, you will have a hearth attack
    Thinking, how can they do that, the fish will never survive.
    Yet, mortality is very low, and these are not fit wild fish.

    So, do not stress too much about a tail that is not straight.
    Korrie Broos

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    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
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  6. #6
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    I like doing it and don't think I harm the fish in any way apart from keeping it out of it's natural habitat i.e water for short periods at a time.

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    Gerrit Viljoen

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by smallstreams.co.za View Post
    I've been meaning to bring this up for some time now, and keep forgetting, but after this weekend at Leliekloof I decided to make a point of it. When handling larger fish (trout is this case) I have seen guys holding the fish by the tail (peduncle) and supporting the head under the pectoral fins/stomach. Now I reckon this is the best (is it???) way to handle a larger fish, since you are putting very little pressure on it's intestines (by pressing on the stomach) and holding it by the strongest part of the tail (peduncle). What does bother me, is seeing photographs of people holding fish in this way, BUT where the tail is bent upwards or downwards! That cannot be good - can it? The tails are supposed to be able to move sideways only, not up and down.





    The images above are just examples of what I mean - not pointing these (unknown) guys out. Is this something to pay attention too - or would this not really cause any damage/discomfort to the fish?
    i agree with you Mario, anything we do to fish once they have been caught should be minimised to not cause any damage. While you possibly won't be permanently injured with your arm twisted behind your back, it won't be comfortable or pleasant to endure - same applies to fish. Here is a good article although it doesn't specifically mention the "bent" tail - http://www.bishfish.co.nz/articles/f...p-and-kill.htm
    “Apparently people don't like the truth, but I do like it; I like it because it upsets a lot of people. If you show them enough times that their arguments are bullshit, then maybe just once, one of them will say, 'Oh! Wait a minute - I was wrong.' I live for that happening. Rare, I assure you” ― Lemmy Kilmister

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  8. Default

    Thanks for the link Darryl - I think you hit the nail on the head wrt to some of the other methods of holding fish these days, especially the fingers/knuckles pointing "inwards" to not obstruct the view of the fish. There are a lot of the younger guys that are doing some stellar work to promote fly fishing to the youth, but sadly their handling of fish leaves a lot to be desired. Chasing that "WOW SHOT" has become much more important for them to get it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than the health of the fish - pretty sad (for the fish) imo. Even worse is that when pointing it out, the laaities get all cocky. Now I suppose at their age I would also have reacted that way (bulletproof and the knowledge of the universe on your side), but these guys have a huge following, and are extremely influential to the younger (and even older) fly fishing crowd. Ensuring the survival of the fish should be #1, photos and video #2 (or lower).

    Wrt the original topic, I guess the consensus it that it will not do any harm. But for one, for the few larger fish I land I will make sure that the tail is not bent at this angle. It just does not look right to me, and as Darryl said, just because it can do it to a degree, does not mean it would be comfortable.

    Thanks for the comments and insights thus far guys!! Much appreciated!
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Beast Tamer View Post
    I like doing it and don't think I harm the fish in any way apart from keeping it out of it's natural habitat i.e water for short periods at a time.

    Gerrit, that tail is pretty straight hey. I don't see much wrong with that - I'm talking about guys "pistol gripping" it.
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  10. Default

    But PLEASE, still use your hands to handle trout

    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

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