High muscular activity and stress during fighting causes disturbances in fish tissues and organs. These changes occur in the fishes blood and may be severe enough to alter normal physiology and behavior and ultimately compromise survival. In some cases, fish may die, either on the line or more likely after release.
Changes in blood chemistry can be compared to several variables which are associated with the fight such as tackle type, fight time, water temperature, and fish size. Findings show that these fish exhibit fluctuations in blood pH and blood levels of hormones, electrolytes, and metabolites due to the fights associated with rod and reel angling.
For example, the metabolic byproduct of anaerobic glycolysis is lactic acid. Rough handling of fish, internal hook damage, and excessive time out of water can cause irreparable damage to a fish that is released. Recovery may take days or months if the fish survives at all, and will require a metabolic cost.
Physiological stress can be minimized by reducing fight and handling time. However, physical trauma can only be reduced through conscious efforts of anglers when choosing to release a fish.
Hook design, handling methods, and experience all play a major role in proper release of Stripers.
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