Once a fish has been landed and is on the bank, the angler must protect the welfare of their catch. Modern predator fishing aims to put fish back with care and attention, so they can live and fight another day.
The first essential item when fish are on the bank is an unhooking mat to keep them from coming into contact with the ground. A weigh sling comes next for use with scales and to transfer the fish back into the water.
The leading manufacturers of fish in predator fishing are Fox Rage, Pike Pro and Aqua.
Whether you pursue pike, perch, zander or catfish, all these species should be treated with equal respect.
Predator Unhooking Mats
Several types of unhooking mats for predator fishing vary in size to cover the targeted species, with catfish requiring the most oversized products. In addition, many unhooking mats have a cover that can be placed over the top, helping to keep fish placid and protecting them from getting damaged.
After landing the fish, the typical procedure is placing the catch on an unhooking mat before using forceps to remove the hooks. The fish is then transferred into a sling, where it's weighed before being returned to the water. As a quick note, the mat must be kept wet, protecting the fish from drying out too much. After returning the catch, the mat can be washed and dried.
Predator Weigh Slings
Weigh slings used in predator fishing are available in several different types: traditional slings and floatation versions where fish can be suspended in water for extra protection. In the latter case, very useful when taking photographs with waders in the margins before release.
The best option to weigh fish is to use a sling. Weigh slings come in different sizes based on the species being fished for. In addition, the best products incorporate perforations to remove excess water, which gives a more accurate weight.
Other Fish Care Accessories
A bucket is useful for keeping spare water handy, helping to keep fish wet while on unhooking mats or inside weigh slings. Antiseptic creams to treat any wounds before returning the catch are another forward step in fish care.