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Hi i am new to fishing. And i have heard people say that if you catch mackeral and handle them to unhook them and put them back they will die in a few days??
How about if you use a wet (sea water) cloth to hold them to unhook them?

I have also been told by others that this is a load of crap? and that they dont die.

Please can you clear this up for me, as i have started catching quite a lot of mackeral and i would like to know what is the best way to put the ones i dont want to eat or for bait back safely.

Thankyou
 

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Tis something to do with the heat/oil of the anglers hands (where it has been touched can often be seen as a handmark on the fish's skin).

Even though only microscopically damaged, the mackerel's skin continues to break down with death inevitable within 30 hours.

Shaking the fish off the hook or handling with wetted neoprene gloves is said to prevent the problem. I do return undersize by shaking them straight off the hook, although quite simply when I have my requirement, the best option is to cease fishing for them. A spinner with a single large hook ( change at home with pliers and a few tears ! LOL ) can often select the larger specimens, but when they are on the boil macky smaller than the bait seem to have suicidal tendency's.
 

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Tis something to do with the heat/oil of the anglers hands (where it has been touched can often be seen as a handmark on the fish's skin).

Even though only microscopically damaged, the mackerel's skin continues to break down with death inevitable within 30 hours.

Shaking the fish off the hook or handling with wetted neoprene gloves is said to prevent the problem. I do return undersize by shaking them straight off the hook, although quite simply when I have my requirement, the best option is to cease fishing for them. A spinner with a single large hook ( change at home with pliers and a few tears ! LOL ) can often select the larger specimens, but when they are on the boil macky smaller than the bait seem to have suicidal tendency's.
completely agree with sally. also, crush the barbs of the hooks! when you make sure you keep contact with the fish (no slack line) you will not loose the fish but when it comes to unhooking it is just a matter of grabbing the hook shank and shake the fish off. whether you can touch mackerel or not? I am not sure. but I do know that it will certainly increase the chance of fungal/bacterial infections for the fish. so don't if you can avoid it.

jan
 

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Not sure if its true, as you say there are people who will argue to the death on both sides of the debate, as a result I employ a "better safe than sorry" sort of tactic and do my best not to handle mackeral I plan to return!

I don't use mackeral feathers as much any more (unless fishing solely for bait in a hurry) I usually use a lure e.g. dexter wedge and replace the treble with a single barbless hook. Just as efficient and it allows to to just drop the fish of the hook if you plan to return it :fish:
 

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as far a i can remember there is a invisable membrane which covers the mackrell body and the oil from your hand starts to destory this,the fish will die because of this.
im sure somebody mentioned that a certain sealife cantre once had 4000 hand caught macky for there tank. all were dead a few days later and there were white hand prints visable on the fish.
 

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How do poeple know this? Do they touch them with dry hands then swim after them for afew days and wait till they die?
mabye the life expectantcy is short haha :p
mtm
 

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How do poeple know this? Do they touch them with dry hands then swim after them for afew days and wait till they die?
mabye the life expectantcy is short haha :p
mtm

micky, read the link posted by H.A. they explain most of the tests they have done and the articles. if you want a reprint of the articles, just contact the corresponding author, most likely dead or not contactable, or buy it of the journal.

jan
 

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I'm not so sure about handling being a problem. It may have come about to justify ridiculously large bags of fish that some take home to eat, sell or keep for bait. Wet hands may well be a good idea though or a rag as it is with any fish. I've found clean dry rags to be better on some fish. My bar towel for wiping my hands clean gets washed after every trip.

My problem in this area is that fresh mackerel are delicious especially grilled. You really should try it. I've only ever put a couple back.

John
 

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if your gonna eat them or use em for bait then hold them normaly , but if you want a bit of sport on light tackle , use an aberdeen hook ( 1.0s ) on a dexter wedge, and grab the hook shank and shake the fish off into the water
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cuberd
 

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Very interesting, you learn more even if you have fished four years. I will treat unwanted mackeral with more respect from now on
 

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Having read about this a while ago I held the hook shank and shook off 3 small mackerel today..... each of them was grabbed and scoffed by a cormorant who knows an easy meal when it sees one and lurks around the pier.!
 

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i have first hand info on this as i keep them live onboard my boat for bass fishing and this is what i found!
the fish that were handled (bare hands)died in less than one hour while the fish that were flicked off the hook (crushed barbs)stayed alive and well...
when we looked at the dead ones they had burn like marks on the parts that were touched.
i have no idea what causes this but it does kill them.
you dont see these burns when you handle then kill them for the pot but when kept alive after handling they seem to suffer badly from stress,also are evry eratic in the tank burning more oxygen than the untouched ones.
the tank is a plastic barrel constantly fed buy a pump 360gal per hour with an over flow pipe.(thpught id mention this before someone says they are not getting enough oxygen)this is not the case as the untouched ones are fine all day...

hope this helps,lee.
 

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just done a but of digging (asked the ol man)and he says its a build up of lactic acid in the fish caused by the dammaged tissues in the skin thus suffocating the fish.
i know this will probably open a big can of worms but if anyone has ANY GOOD INFO on this please post it as i would like to hear it:)
my ol man also dispatches his catch ASAP as he says it stops this acid forming in the fish while dying slowly tus tainting it.
 

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Having read about this a while ago I held the hook shank and shook off 3 small mackerel today..... each of them was grabbed and scoffed by a cormorant who knows an easy meal when it sees one and lurks around the pier.!
I bet thats a site! I have seen many struggle with eels let alone macky!:unsure:
 

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"I bet thats a site! I have seen many struggle with eels let alone macky!"

The water was clear enough to watch the bird underwater, its acceleration is better than a confused mackerel from a standing start. The same bird was grabbing the fish caught on feathers ( feathers used by the knobbish foulmouthed chav you find on all piers , the one who can't read the 'no feathering signs')
 

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fish have a protectuive slime on them and are relatively cold blooded so a warm dry hand can remove the slime and let disease in but this is the case with most fish not just macks a damp hand is better than a cloth which might remove slime despite being wet its still abrassive
a wet hand is best when handling fish but its not a death sentance to handle dry just a risk best not taken
 
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