Put a good hold on it

The best way to remember a fish that we catch is to take a photo.
Generally, pictures are saved for the biggest fish, but this is not always the case.
The way we, the angler, holds the fish is a key ingredient to a quality picture. Holding the fish properly allows the image to show the best possible view of it—and helps to avoid harming the fish.
It drives me nuts when anglers show off pictures of their catches and the fish are flexed and stretched abnormally so their gills are showing or it looks like a blood bath. Blood is a big turn-off in fish pictures.
I understand that sometimes fish will be hooked in a bad spot and they bleed, but many times they are bleeding because the angler is holding the fish improperly. Fish need to be supported properly when being held for a picture and should not be allowed to hang with their neck area absorbing all their weight.
Many people express their distaste for vertical fish pictures (by this I mean holding a fish “up and down” so that the head is pointed up). In many cases this can be hard on fish, especially if the angler is only holding it by the gill area.
Most fish can be held in this fashion, but the angler needs to support the belly area with one hand so the entire weight of the fish is not hanging from the gill area. Do this properly and you are not harming the fish at all.
For big species like northern pike and muskies, horizontal holds are better and cause no harm to the fish. When holding a fish out to the camera, make sure it is straight. If it is bent, or folding, then the fish will not look that good in the picture.
You also want to avoid getting your fingers in the actual gills. This harms the fish and is the biggest cause of bleeding for the fish—and for the angler.
Instead, your fingers should slide just inside the gill plate without ever touching the gills themselves.
There are some tricks to taking good fish pictures. It isn’t all about holding it out as far as you can to make it look bigger. Sometimes holding the head out towards the camera looks cool, but angle it so the body of the fish is still visible.
Picture a 45-degree angle from the angler to the cameraman.
Fish also look a lot better when they are wet. So hold them in the water while you set up to take a picture and pull it out when the camera is ready to rock. This makes a big difference.
Another general rule is to try not to cover the fish with your hands or arms. Try to keep them on the backside of the fish so you will get the best broadside view for the camera.
Another hold I like with longer fish, especially walleyes and trout, is to use one hand on the tail and one hand on the belly. You can get a good grip on the fish this way and you are not harming them.
When you grab hold of the tail, cock your wrist down so you keep your hand behind the fish instead of reaching over the back of the fish to hold the tail area.
We all love to fish and we all take pride in showing off pictures of our catch, so it is up to the angler to take care of the fish when it is in their hands.
Take care when you do this and Sunset Country will continue to have the best fishery in the world for years to come.

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