The future of our sport is dependent upon careful treatment of all fish that are going to be released. We at Bottom Dwellers Tackle both practice and strongly encourage CPR (catch/photograph/release) of all trophy catfish. There is more to a successful CPR than just releasing the fish. Careful handling of the fish is key to its survival after the stress of capture.
Some of the problems with weighing trophy fish:
A trophy catfish should not be weighed by its jaw and never weigh a fish by its gill plates. You can fracture the jaw or do soft tissue damage to its gills. Damage to the jaw... the fish can't eat. Damage to the gills... the fish can't breath.
Fish can and will twist out of your control and the result is the fish taking a nasty fall. Fish aren't use to gravity and a fall can do serious damage.
We have all tried using our nets to weigh fish. This can be cumbersome at best and makes it very difficult to get an accurate weight on a true trophy.
Any injury can result in a fish that swims off to die a slow, agonizing death.
What can we as trophy catfishermen do?
We can't guarantee the survival after release but we can give the fish a better chance with safe handling. One way to do that is with a device like the Catfish Weigh Sling. A sling gives much more control over the fish and allows for a more accurate weight as well. Am I saying you cannot safely CPR a fish without a weigh sling? Absolutely not, many have done it for years. I am saying a weigh sling will make it a lot easier in you and the fish.
**Note: Never put a fish of any species into a dry sling, net, or any dry fabric. Always wet the surface first and it will do much less damage to the slime coat of the fish.
Not because we are in the catfishing business but because we are catfishermen!!!