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Photographing fish


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Ronan's report

Thursday April 17th, 2014

Nice FP from Bernd yesterday on the problems of photographing fish and it's certainly something that needs discussing, because one of the benefits associated with having a camera is that people who would normally take a fish home to show how fantastic they are as a fisherman, can be more inclined now to simply take a photograph. However if the fish is injured or dies as a consequence of the time it takes to take a photograph them, then nothing better has been accomplished.

Now let me explain, that I am not a good photographer; it's not a passion of mine. But I do know lots of anglers who are and quite a few of them are on the Board. There is no question that they develop an eye for the subject matter, how to frame it and make the perspective count. And they do it instantly - certainly the ones I've fished with. I suspect with me there may be times when they wanted a different angle for the photo, but didn't get it!

Anyway this is not an FP about that, this is more an FP on how I take photos for the website when I'm fishing solo - and the things I've discovered along the way are also useful for anytime someone wishes to photograph you too! Of course I do have one small advantage here, in that photos for websites can be much lower pixel quality, which means I can extensively crop the image for publishing to make it frame well and I can even take stills from video cameras.

The most essential item as far as I'm concerned is a big net frame with an over-sized net bag. I have a sea trout MacLean Weigh Net fitted with a soft mesh bag that is for a far larger frame that the one I've threaded it on! This allows the net to act as a cage, so that the fish can calm down and recover, while in the net - they don't thrash around or beat themselves up, instead instead they just sit in the cage patiently.

The first thing I do is unhook them. I know that sometimes they jump out the hand and are gone, but I would rather that than landing them for a second time. So if the hook hasn't fallen out in the net, I remove it, and almost always this can be done subsurface.

Next I either throw the camera on the bank with a self-timer that's been preset, or a video camera, with the view-screen reversed, I lift the fish out the net and return him to the water. Job done.

The only other thing I can add to that I think is the importance of handling not only with wet hands but also clean ones - i.e. no sunscreen or insect repellent.

I've been doing this for quite a long time now, and I have to say that of all the methods of release, this for me is the best. With a big net like this, even a deeply hooked fish is no panic. What would be interesting is to measure stress levels in the fish kept in a cage for a minute prior to release and that of fish that are released immediately. Of course if I'm not taking a picture, I don't handle the fish at all and just lower the rim so the fish can swim free.

Cheers, Paul

Pic Of Day

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