I know this is a point that both Aaron Adams and Andy Danylchuk want to make, so I’m going to start things off.
Industry… we/you can do better. New bonefishing anglers have a picture in mind when they head out with their guides for their first fish. It is a picture put in their minds by the industry itself. The vision is of the angler with the standard grip-and-grin photo. That photo is pretty bad for the fish.
I’ve been in that photo. My first bonefish were held out of the water for way too long. I didn’t know any better. The guide I had wanted us to have the right shot and the fish likely paid the price for that. I took my lead from the guide. I didn’t know better and when I found out, well, I regret those pictures now.
The photo collage is taken from various fly fishing businesses. Each one shows a fish way out of the water, posed, gripped or otherwise man/womanhandled.
It does seem to be harder to find a bonefish on a gear maker’s site that has a poorly handled fish, but there are a lot of guides and lodges out there with photos setting poor examples.
Basically… keep the fish in the water. That fish should either be in the water, or clearly dripping water as you take it out for 2 seconds. Any pic of an angler sitting in the middle of the boat is likely a bad photo. Let’s all do better.
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