Unhook the fish quickly
Once you get a fish on your hook, the best thing to do is try to get it off the line as fast as possible. While the fish is fighting on your line and the longer it stays on, the greater chance that it won’t survive. Don’t let the fish stay on longer than it really needs. This will help the fish recover and live longer, giving the next angler an opportunity to catch the fish.
Avoid touching the fish
If you’ve been fishing before, you know that there’s a slimy coating on the outside body of a fish. It protects the fish from disease and infection. Once your hands touch the fish, the slime can be wiped away which increase the chance of that fish catching bacteria or parasites. Try to touch the body of the fish as little as possible.
Use wet hands
Along with slimy coating, it’s always best to have wet hands before handling the fish. Quickly dip your hands in the water before grabbing the fish. Dry hands help remove more of the slimy coating.
Don’t bend the jaw
The common way to handle a fish is how shoving your thumb in the mouth and using the lower jaw for leverage. If you hold the fish horizontally, you risk straining and breaking the jaw. Hold it vertically or use your hand to support the belly of the fish to create less stress.
Don’t throw the fish back
Handle the fish as gently as possible. Don’t toss or throw the fish an excessive distance. You don’t have to be so delicate with it either. Treat the fish with respect.