What’s the proper way to hold a hawg?

Over the years, fishing for freshwater bass has shifted from harvest for the dinner plate to catch and release. Conservation of black bass, particularly to protect trophy-size fish, is at the top of most anglers’ goals.

In an article by professional angler Bernie Schultz in April 2014 titled “How Not to Hold a Hawg,” Bassmaster.com highlighted the concerns of many anglers about “safe” and “unsafe” handling methods for large bass. Being a conscientious angler who cares about fish health, Schultz reached out to fisheries scientists for advice on safe handling practices. His questions started some discussion among scientists because, in fact, there was a lack of scientific research about whether different handling methods for bass can cause injury or mortality.