I've hooked a fish! Now What? (Handling Fish)

So you've hooked a fish, reeled it in, and plonked it down on the bottom of the boat. On the jetty. On a nice rock. On the sand; Whereever. Congratulations! But now what?

Step 2: You've gotta touch the little (or big) sucker! Believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons people don't like fishing, is the fact that you have to touch a fish. Fear of the unknown plays a big part, so the best way to get over it, is to learn about it! Here's four tips about handling fish, that will keep you from dropping your catch, getting hurt, and looking like a scaredy-cat.

1: Bring tools. The key to handling fish is somestimes not to handle them at all! To get that hook out you'll need a pair of pliers, perhaps some wire cutters, and you can always do with a good set of fishing gloves. Without pliers, you'll be left trying to hold the fish, and a slippery (sharp) hook, which is a recipe for disaster.

2: Stay away from the pointy bits. Many fish have little spines on their fins. Grabbing the fish from the front, underneath the belly means you'll stay away from them. By approaching from the front of the fish, those spines are usually pushed backwards towards their tail too, so you won't get spiked.

3: Commit to 'the grab'. Making a half hearted attempt to pick up a fish leads to dropping a fish, so look it in the eye, grab it by the belly and get that hook out. If you're keeping him, in the esky. If not, back in the water with it. Don't mess about, just grab it!

4: Don't stick your fingers in its mouth. Use pliers to get the hook out of your fished mouth, because some fish have teeth! Chances are if you're reading this, you will be reeling in some little species of fish like Bream or Flathead. They've got little teeth, and little mouths, but some bigger fish can really make a meal out of you!