Does Holding Fish By Jaw Kill The Fish?

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  Asked by Sam - Does Holding Fish By Jaw Kill The Fish? :
I'm often grabbing fish by the jaw when I lift them out of the water, but I wonder if this is actually hurting or killing the fish handling them this way.  I do it because its easy and thats what they do on tv  :-)   But I do wonder if this really causes harm since I'm releasing the fish and that would defeat the whole purpose of catch and release when fishing.

Anonymous Says:
I saw an article (just searched for it again and couldnt find it) where they were handling fish by the jaw only and tagged the fish as an experiment to see if it was really hurting the fish.  Quite of few fish ended up being dead days later, they thought it was because handling the fish by the jaw damaged the jaw muscle or tore the jaw muscle in a way where the fish couldnt eat.  Fishermen assume that because fish swim away that everything was fine, but that doesn't mean the survive.

Of course this probably also matters based on size of the fish, because a heavy fish puts alot of pressure on the jaw if you use a lipgrip or grab with hand, where a small fish probably doesn't matter and may not hurt it, thats just my guess.  If I'm releasing a big fish I try to just unhook in the water with pliers and if I'm have to handle it I always try to support the weight with net or set it down on boat or land so all the weight is supported.

Anonymous Says:
Of course temperature matters alot to I'm sure, so many variables.  If its 95 degrees and sunny, obviously you want to handle a fish as little as possible and get it back in the water.  If you are keeping it for the frying pan, then use the lip grip or grab the jaw as its not going to matter anyways.  

John Says:
I've often wondered about this also.  I fish for catfish and bass, which I used to always hold by bottom jaw and then release some of them and keep some of them for cooking, but I try to handle them by the jaw alot less now as I wondered if that was doing damage.

Sam Says:
I think the easiest thing is just grab the hook with the pliers and turn upright and lightly shake the fish off using the fish weight without even handling it with your hands. Thats the easiest release method for me.  Pretty quick anyways and little handling.

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