Getting Great Fish Pictures

What a picture!

When fishing catch-and-release what is the best way to hold and photograph that fish of a lifetime? I’ve heard that turning them upside down (on their backs) makes them go to sleep. Lee Ferriby

Peter Cockwill replies: Turning a fish upside down does seem to make it temporarily go quiet and it’s a useful dodge when you are unhooking. But as soon as the fish is the right way up its brain seems to return to normal and it squirms again.

Getting good pictures is definitely an art and that’s why TF photographer Peter Gathercole’s skills are in such demand. I wait until the fish is relaxed in the net and then gently cradle it before lifting it quickly for a couple of shots. Holding it tight makes the fish struggle. Only have the fish in the air for a very few seconds and then let it have a break in the water (we term it ‘letting the fish have a drink’). This way you can be sure it will be released in the best condition. The trick is to be gentle and to cradle the fish so you see more of it and less of your fingers and hands.

Be gentle and give the fish a rest before you gently cradle it for a picture.

Give the fish a rest before you gently cradle it for a picture. Image: Steffan Jones

Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.