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Ethical angling

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

By TIMES STAFF
Published May 4, 2007


- Pinch the barb down on your hooks. Barbs are designed to keep live bait on a hook and do little to help landing a fish.

- Use non-stainless hooks. If the fish swallows the hook and you must cut the line, the fish's digestive juices will cause the hook to deteriorate.

- Tighten your drag and use a line of adequate strength to land the fish quickly. Don't fight a fish until it is exhausted.

- Leave the fish in the water if possible. The fish will be less traumatized if it stays in its natural environment.

- Keep a pair of needle-nose pliers handy so you can unhook the fish quickly. If the fish is hooked deeply, cut the leader or the hook shank.

- When possible, don't use a net. It damages the thin membrane that protects the fish from disease. If you must handle the fish, use a wet towel.

- Don't throw or drop the fish back in the water. Gently place it in the water. If the fish responds slowly, hold its mouth open and move it back and forth in the water to move water through its gills.

- Watch the fish swim away. If it doesn't look healthy, pick it up and try again.