This fish is being held properly with wet hands to protect it's skin.

Research has shown that you can significantly increase the survival rate of fish you catch with proper handling during catch and release. Fish should be handled gently and as little as possible. Returning them to the water as quickly as possible minimizes stress to the fish. Minimizing time out of the water has been shown to be one of the most critical survival factors.

Handling Tips

See: Handling and Gear

Handling Video

Famed saltwater fisherman Mark Sosin provides an overview of best handling practices.


To ensure compliance with fishing regulations, fish should be measured before keeping. To learn how to accurately measure fish, go to:

  • How To Measure Saltwater Fish

  • Responsible Handling when Photographing Fish

    From Florida Fish Busters' Bulletin, Bob Wattendorf with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) provides image guidelines for fishing and boating scenes.

  • FWC Fish Photography Guidelines