Whether It’s Law Or Not, You Need A Fish Descending Device

By Tanner Deas.

When fishing offshore have you ever experienced fish floating on the surface upon release? Wondering to yourself, “Why won’t that fish go down?” or, “Welp, that’s sharkbait…” Maybe you’ve reeled a fish in from the depths and seen its stomach sticking out of its mouth. This happens when a fish has experienced barotrauma injury. Using a vent tool or fish descending device is the best way to avoid killing fish that could be potential trophy offshore catches, and to prevent needlessly killing a trophy fish that could pass on key genetics. It may not be the law, but it is a good idea to release these fish properly so that the amazing God-given resource we have in the Gulf of Mexico and other systems across the world is never depleted.

For this article, we took the time to discuss descending fish with Return ‘Em Right’s Nick Haddad, who broke down the pros and cons of descending fish and how it can impact the marine sciences as well as our fisheries.

Understanding Barotrauma

Nick gave an amazing explanation and broke down barotrauma and gave some science behind what is happening to the fish as they experience this injury when being reeled in from depth. A key thing to understand is that not all fish species experience barotrauma, such as Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Mackerel. Barotrauma commonly occurs in reef fish like Triggerfish, Snapper species, and Grouper species as well as deep water species like Tilefish, Bearded Brotula, and Long Tail Sea Bass. Barotrauma is the expansion of gasses inside of the fish’s swim bladder when coming from bottom to surface which causes a rapid decrease in pressure. Signs of barotrauma injury include raised scales and rough looking patterns along the fish’s body, bulging eyes, and the most common, the stomach being pushed out of the mouth.

read more at greatdaysoutdoors.com.