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Nothing compares with the feeling of reeling a trophy-sized bass in. But taking a picture with it and bragging about it with your friends and family is quite close.
It sounds like a simple job. But you must make sure you are holding the fish safely. You will be harming the fish otherwise. Don’t worry. Today I will show you how to hold and handle a bass.
There are two techniques. You can either hold it vertically or horizontally. Both work with bass. However, depending on the length and weight, you might choose one or the other.
We will discuss both techniques thoroughly, as well as other bits of advice. This way, you will cause minimal damage to the fish while also ensuring your own safety.
The Consequences of Holding Bass Wrong
Before showing you the correct ways of holding bass, I want to spread awareness first. It might not look like much. But holding the fish wrong will put unnecessary strain on the jaws. It might even cause the jaws to dislocate if the bass is heavy enough.
The consequences can be deadly as it might prevent the fish from feeding. You can also damage internal organs in the process.
I know; this matters little if you are keeping the fish. However, this becomes relevant if you are releasing it. Plus, I don’t like to cause unnecessary harm even if I’m keeping the catch.
The Two Ways of Holding a Bass Correctly
As we venture in the beginning, there are only two ways of holding a bass safely. Both are simple techniques that are easy to perform. Thus, there is really no reason not to apply them regularly.
Holding the Bass Vertically
The favorite among anglers of all ages and experience levels. The technique revolves around holding the fish vertically. The head and tail must be in the same line. This way, there won’t be any pressure tangential to the jaws.
But, who do you hold a bass vertically? First, you need to place your thumb inside its mouth. Your index finger should go under the lip.
Once you have a firm grip, you can easily move and manipulate the fish. Just keep the mouth and tail aligned, and avoid hard movements.
Keep in mind that you have held the bass firmly. You don’t want to execute the technique perfectly just to end up dropping it. In my experience, this method works fine for light specimens. But you should consider the next approach if you feel the bass is too heavy.
One unspoken advantage of holding the bass vertically is that you can use a fish scale to weigh the fish! You can’t do this while holding the fish horizontally.
Holding the Bass Horizontally
Now if you feel like a true giant, the vertical method is not going to cut it. But don’t worry. This technique is just as simple.
Start with a vertical hold. That is, with your thumb inside its mouth and with your index finger on the lip. Then, place your hand next to the anal. Once here, you only need to lift the tail until it is completely horizontal.
There is no need to keep a secure grip around the anal fin. Just holding the fish’s weight is enough. It is crucial to keep the mouth and tail aligned. You will be putting unnecessary pressure on its jaws and internal organs otherwise.
The great thing about this method is that it works with bass of all sizes. Plus, there are fewer chances of hurting yourself or the fish in the process. And to be honest, pictures look better this way!
Can I Hold a Bass by The Gills?
No. You should not, in any circumstances, hold any fish by the gills, even if you plan on keeping it. You can kill it.
Do not introduce any object inside the gills. You can cause irreversible damage to the fish.
Can I Hold a Bass at an Angle?
Like I said before, holding any fish at an angle will put too much strain on the jaws. It might not kill the fish outright. But it can dislocate or break the jaw bones, preventing the fish from eating as a result.
That’s why you should only take the fish out of the water once it is under control. It is better to manipulate it underwater as the water will support the fish’s weight.
Do I Need a Lip Gripper to Hold Bass?
No. You don’t need a lip gripper for either of these methods. I only use them while handling the fish inside the water. But I usually manipulate the fish with my hands once I get it out. In my experience, lip grippers do more harm than good. Thus, you should avoid them if you are not keeping your catch.
How Long Can Bass Survive Out of The Water?
There is no established frame. However, I suggest limiting it to below 2 minutes. No. It doesn’t count if you place the fish back in the water for a few seconds and then pull it out.
Remember to keep the fish moist for as long as it is out of the water.
Does Bass Have Teeth?
Yes, they do. But don’t worry. They aren’t large or sharp enough to cause damage to your fingers.
You might, though, get tiny cuts in your thumb. This is known as Bass Thumb, and it is common among bass enthusiasts. However, it only appears after several catches.
How Do You Hold Bass To Remove the Hook?
It depends on the bass size and where it is hooked. Let’s say the hook is its lips, and the bass is light. You can take it out by holding the bass vertically.
However, I usually leave the fish inside the water if the hook is deep inside its mouth. This way, I can manipulate it without worrying about supporting the weight.
Does Bass Heal From Hooks?
To minimize the damage, I suggest avoiding treble hooks. These are harder to remove and usually cause extensive wounds.
Holding Bass: Things To Remember
Handling your catch after you get it out of the water is as important as using the correct tackle. You only have two suitable methods. Holding the fish vertically by the mouth or horizontally. The first approach is suitable for light fish, while the second is the go-to technique for big ones.
Regardless of the approach, you must remember the golden rule! The tail and mouth have to be aligned. The risk of hurting the fish increases exponentially if you hold it at an angle.
You must be mindful of the time the fish is out of the water. Keep it brief and under two minutes, especially if it is sunny outside. Maintain the skin moist as well!
Just before I go, the vertical technique is the best approach for taking hooks out and weighing your catch.