10 Tips for Effectively Releasing a Live Striper Back to the Water

Basic and commonly used tactikcs to safely release striped bass.

Tight Lines

3/5/20242 min read

10 Tips for Effectively Releasing a Live Striper Back to the Water

Releasing a live striper back to the water is not only a responsible angler's duty, but it also helps to preserve the fish population and ensure future generations can enjoy the thrill of catching these magnificent creatures. Here are 10 tips to help you release a striper safely and effectively:

1. Handle the Fish Gently

When handling a striper, it's important to be gentle and avoid touching its gills or eyes. Wet your hands before touching the fish to minimize damage to its delicate scales and skin. This will help reduce stress on the fish and increase its chances of survival.

2. Use a Wet Towel or Gloves

If you're uncomfortable handling the fish directly, you can use a wet towel or gloves to provide a better grip. This will prevent the fish from slipping out of your hands and falling onto the ground, which could cause injury or further stress.

3. Support the Fish Properly

When holding a striper, make sure to support its body properly. Use one hand to cradle the fish's belly and the other hand to support its tail. This will help distribute the fish's weight evenly and prevent any unnecessary strain on its body.

4. Avoid Using a Net

Using a net to land a striper can cause damage to its fins and scales. Instead, try to land the fish by hand or use a lip-gripping tool if necessary. This will minimize the risk of injury and increase the chances of a successful release.

5. Keep the Fish in the Water

Whenever possible, keep the fish in the water while removing the hook. This will help the fish breathe and reduce the risk of injury. If you need to take a photo, make sure to do it quickly and support the fish properly to minimize stress.

6. Use Barbless Hooks

Using barbless hooks can make the hook removal process much easier and less harmful to the fish. Barbless hooks are designed to reduce the damage to the fish's mouth, making it easier to release them quickly and safely.

7. Revive the Fish

After removing the hook, gently hold the fish in the water and move it back and forth to help oxygenate its gills. This process, known as "reviving," will help the fish regain its strength before swimming away. Be patient and ensure the fish is fully recovered before letting it go.

8. Release the Fish Head First

When releasing a striper, always release it head first into the water. This allows the fish to swim away easily and reduces the risk of injury. Avoid throwing or dropping the fish into the water, as this can cause unnecessary harm.

9. Avoid Releasing Exhausted Fish

If you catch a striper that appears exhausted or unable to swim, it may be best to keep the fish and consider it a catch for the day. Releasing an exhausted fish back into the water could significantly reduce its chances of survival.

10. Follow Local Regulations

Lastly, always follow local fishing regulations and guidelines when releasing a striper. These regulations are in place to protect the fish population and ensure sustainable fishing practices. By adhering to these rules, you can help preserve the striper population for future generations to enjoy.

Releasing a live striper back to the water is not only a responsible action, but it also helps to maintain a healthy fish population. By following these 10 tips, you can ensure that the striper you catch today will continue to thrive in its natural habitat.