(1) Always use an unhooking mat, think about the ground where you are unhooking the fish, always wet unhooking mats. A carp cradle or unhooking mat with sides is a good idea if targeting larger fish especially Carp, and especially at Boley Road where we have some specimen Carp, Bream & Tench.
(2) Minimise the time that your fish is out of the water by having everything close to hand (especially in hot weather). You don’t want your catch flapping around on the unhooking mat while you’re searching for slings, scales etc.
(3) Always carry a selection of disgorgers (unhooking devices) of different sizes, these are essential to help you unhook fish quickly and safely.
(4) When holding the fish, keep it low to the ground, never stand up holding a fish and return the fish via a weigh sling or unhooking mat. Return fish gently to the water. If a fish rolls onto its side, hold it upright in the water until it swims away strongly.
(5) Don’t use dry towels to hold fish, this can cause loss of slim that acts as a natural barrier against disease and infections.
(6) Make sure your landing net is big enough for the fish you are targeting, always have it to hand when fishing.
(7) Don’t use fixed rigs, these will cause the fish to drag a lead or feeder behind it if your main/reel line breaks.
(8) A short “youtube” video on Carp care which you might find useful and give you an insight on how to handle, unhook and return your catch safely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoDXieedPSw&t=178s
(9) Really it is all about being prepared, everything is to hand. Niether you or the fish will panic and the fish swims away to fight another day, and give someone else the joy of the capture, hopefully bigger than before.
(10) New from the Angling Trust: HOW TO RETURN EVERY FISH IN PERFECT CONDITION: 16 TOP CATCH AND RELEASE FISHING TIPS… https://linesonthewater.anglingtrust.net/2020/08/21/how-to-return-every-fish-in-perfect-condition-16-top-catch-and-release-fishing-tips/?fbclid=IwAR3y3OxwjloI42_1QuX1FdkIMqPKZySET0YZaxhq-FiXbaOe1CrMXT3_ffA