Hope you show Flip, Stu, Rick and many other fishing show host from many years ago doing things they don’t do any more either as well.
I believe that was the first and last time I held a bone in that manner.
I was following what the guides were doing at the time down in the keys. Boga Grips were promoted to use then, but not now and haven’t used one for many years.
Feel free to use my response to your e-mail when you are “making an example”.
Certainly, he has a point. As the science has come out, we have changes our behaviors. So, I’m very glad to hear that Capt. Blair no longer thinks this is acceptable. That’s good news.
What still bugs me is that this example of horrible handling is still live with no disclaimers or retractions. If someone watches that today they will think “this is how it must be done.” It is a teachable moment that teaches the wrong lessons. It is an opportunity to move things in the right direction.
At least we all agree this is not the right way to do it.
If you’d like to email Capt. Blair, his email is email@example.com.
This is what I wrote him this morning…
Hi Capt. Blair,
I just watched a video of you, I think, fishing in Key Largo. You caught a bonefish, a really nice one. What happened next really shouldn’t have happened. You put that bone on a Boga grip and had it out of the water for a long, long time.
Odds are fair to good that the fish didn’t survive it’s encounter with you. When handling bonefish you need to do two things… minimize handling and minimize air exposure. You should never, ever put a bonefish on a Boga.
From the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust:
Minimize handling of all fish; slime and scales can be removed or damaged with excessive handling, thereby greatly increasing the risks of infection. In addition, recent research has shown that mechanical lip-gripping devices can cause damage to mouth tissue if the bonefish struggles against the device, so their use is best avoided.
If you have to handle a bonefish, use clean, wet hands and gently support the bonefish from beneath the head and belly. Nets, mechanical lip-gripping devices, and wet cloths can cause injury to the bonefish.
Use hemostats, pliers, or a hook-removal tool to quickly remove the hook while keeping the fish in the water, and have your pliers ready and available to facilitate a quick release.
Avoid exposing bonefish to air, even when taking a photo. If you must remove the bonefish from the water, limit it to a maximum of 15 seconds.
Touching the gills can cause damage and impair the ability of a bonefish to breathe.
If a lip-gripping device is used, it’s best to use them only to restrain a calm fish in the water while removing the hook. If a fish’s weight is desired, attach a sling to the device, and cradle the bonefish in the sling rather than hanging the fish vertically by the jaw.
I would love to catch an 11 pound (and 12 ounce) bonefish. I’d really, really love to. My largest fish is maybe 7 pounds (I was told 7.5, but that means it was probably 6). At some point I might actually achieve this dream if I keep after it and fish in places where hogs like this live.
I can imagine that this guy was really very happy to have crossed paths with such a magnificent creature, to have hooked it and to have landed it. I mean, come on… that thing is huge. It is the fish of a lifetime.
Every once in a while you’ll see a picture of a bonefish held up for the camera by a boga grip. This would seem like a good idea. It sure must be an easy way to grip the fish and control the shaky wildness that is a bonefish. It will let you get a weight on the fish pretty easily too.
There’s a downside, however… and a pretty big one. Bonefish may have hard crushers to munch on the crabs and shrimp and worms that they catch, but they also have pretty soft mouths and a boga grip + that shaky bonefish = some significant injuries to the bonefish.