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BTT Releases Guide for Best Bonefish Handling Practices

Photo: Pat Ford

In collaboration with leading fishing guides and lodges, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has launched a campaign to educate anglers on the optimum way to handle bonefish to help increase survival rates and conserve healthy populations. The techniques have been developed in concert with some of the top guides in the Florida Keys and Bahamas through years of practice, with the goal of making them standard practice for anglers, guides, and tournaments in order to ensure healthy bonefish stocks for generations to come. The techniques are outlined in a NEW VIDEO produced by Headwake Media and on the campaign landing page.

“Catching a bonefish is one of the pinnacles of a shallow-water angler’s lifetime achievements,” said Dr. Ross Boucek, BTT scientist. “The fishery is economically and culturally important throughout its geographic range, but the fishery can only be sustainable if most fish survive catch and release.”

Research shows that improper handling of bonefish, like excessive handling and removing the fish from the water for more than 15 seconds, can cause up to six times higher rate of mortality after the fish is released. So the less handling of the fish the better. Experienced Keys fishing guides have had success using dehooking devices because they can release fish without touching them at all, greatly reducing the stress on the fish.

The bonefish handling recommendations are a stepwise process that anglers and guides can follow to help ensure a healthy release for their catch. Click Here to view the recommendations.