Sometimes fish can't be released, due to swallowing a hook too deeply to extract or being landed/unhooked badly by an inexperienced angler. I've dealt with sunfish in that situation, and a sharp pair of strong scissors will do the job. For a larger fish, though, my dissection scissors clearly aren't going to be enough. Anything that destroys the brain instantly is a good option, so a hard surface and a rock can work (done that for a gut-hooked and dying trout), but a flat, hard surface isn't always available. Any recommendations as to what I could bring for a worst-case scenario? Clearly the first thing to do is attempt to remove the hook, but if there's no other option, I'd like to have a humane way to put the poor thing out of its misery.
Best way to dispatch fish in the field?
Posted 28 April 2016 - 02:04 PM
Pocket knife, opened and slid down the back of the skull, severing the spine. Or slitting the throat--so to speak--to bleed them out.
Admirable that you're considering the fishes well-being. But if you think about it, how many fish are just thrown on ice while people continue to fish and die slowly that way? So whatever your method may be, I'm sure it's a little better than suffocating in a cooler on ice.
Posted 29 April 2016 - 01:57 PM
By my reckoning, any time you kill an animal, you should try to make its death more humane than it would be otherwise. Even if it's just an instinct-based animal like a minnow, it deserves that tiny bit of respect.
So basically just chop right behind the skull with something and sever as much as possible? I have a good sharp pocketknife, I can do that. Is there any spot in particular that's best? Or would it theoretically be possible to hit the brain with something sharp without just glancing off the skull and gashing the poor thing's face open?
I really wish people would bring a cleaver or something with them. It'd take maybe two seconds to lop the head off of a fish before plonking it on the ice, and it'd probably make cleaning them later a bit less nasty, since the blood would have a chance to drain.
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