Learning how to catch carp takes a lot of practice, patience, perseverance and research to learn all the essential skills, such as watercraft and bait selection, and even to learn about all the various tackle you can use.
I’ve written plenty of posts on this site that will teach you nearly everything you need to learn about putting carp in the net.
However, one thing that is often overlooked by beginner anglers is how to safely handle and release the carp back into the water once it has been hooked and landed.
It is essential that, as anglers, you take good care of the fish we all enjoy catching to avoid damaging the fish, which could result in its death or impede its ability to grow into the enormous fish we are all in search of.
In this post, I’m going to focus on how to properly release fish back into the water so you can be sure you’re releasing the fish in the best possible condition to grow and be caught by other anglers.
How to Properly Release Carp back into the Water?
Before the release of the fish, there are essential steps that you must take before taking the fish out of the water.
The first step is to ensure that you have an adequate landing net with carp-safe mesh to avoid damaging any scales of the fish or removing any of its protective slime coatings.
The slime coating of carp and other fish is used to keep out bacteria and infections and to limit the chance of parasites attaching to their bodies.
Without this slime coating, the fish are far more likely to develop infections which can result in their death.
You should also always have a large landing mat or cradle on the bank that you will use to rest the carp on when you’re unhooking the fish.
These mats are usually made from some sort of foam and are used to protect the fish while it is out of the water.
The mats create a soft barrier between the carp and the ground below, so if the fish begins to flop around, they will not damage themselves on any debris.
You should also ensure your mat is kept wet before the fish is placed on it, as their slime coating will be rubbed off with contact with dry mats.
Hooks should be removed carefully, and more often than not, you will find the hook in the carp’s mouth that can be easily removed with your fingers.
If the hook proves a little harder to remove or the carp is hooked inside it’s mouth, then a pair of long forceps should be used to grip the hook and remove it effectively.
Don’t Keep Carp out of Water for Long
To ensure you’re releasing the fish in a fit and healthy start, you should keep the time the fish is out of the water to an absolute minimum.
Carp are tough fish, and scientific research has proven that they can survive for long periods in low-oxygenated waters but that doesn’t mean that they can survive extended periods out of water.
You should ensure that the carp is not kept out of the water for any longer than necessary and the fish should be kept wet to avoid it’s gills, eyes and coating drying out.
It can help to keep a bucket of water at hand that you can wet the fish with before and after pictures before releasing it back into the water.
Steps for Releasing Carp
Once you’ve safely and quickly netted the carp, removed the hook and taken a quick picture, the next step is to get the fish back into the water safely.
It goes without saying that the carp shouldn’t be thrown into the water, and you can follow these steps to get the fish back into the water.
- Carry the carp back to the water in your landing net to avoid dropping the fish when you’re moving it back to the water’s edge.
- Place the net into the water with the fish inside.
- Crouch down and pick up the carp out of the net using one handle to cradle and support the fish under it’s gills and one hand under the belly or holding onto the tailstock of the fish, depending on the size of the fish.
- Lift the fish out of the net and place it upright into the water, but don’t let go of the fish straight away.
- Depending on the condition of the fish, you may need to hold it for a moment or two before you feel it try to kick out of your hand.
- Hold the fish in the upright position under the water until you feel it is ready to go, and then gently let go of the fish, and it should swim away on its own.
If you’re new to carp angling, it is essential that you take some time to learn the simple steps of taking care of the fish once it is on the banks.
The steps are easy to follow and there is no excuse for handling the fish improperly and risk causing damage.
I hope this post has provided enough detail on how you can handle and release carp once they have been caught and taken from the water.