Descending devices to save fish

May 17, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Fishing Tackle

The state of Oregon is now mandating descending devices for bottom fishing. The idea is to increase the survival rate of released rockfish. They will also help in other areas too where bottom fishing is done in deep water.

Rockfish can suffer from a condition known as barotrauma. Rockfish and other bottom dwellers have a swim bladder that helps control buoyancy. It is filled with gas and will expand when the fish is brought up from the deep.

Signs of barotrauma include a swollen body, stomach and/or esophagus protruding into the mouth, and/or distended or bulging eyes (“pop-eye”).

The extra buoyancy keeps the rockfish from descending back into the depths.

These descending devices, which range from a simple inverted barbless hook to a pressure-activated clamp that opens automatically at depth, give anglers the ability to return weak or buoyant rockfish to deeper waters, reversing many of the signs of barotrauma and increasing the likelihood of that fish’s survival. Descending devices (also called recompression devices or release devices) are available at many tackle shops or online, or you can make one from a Fish Grip™ (pdf). Use the device that works best for you and your vessel’s set-up.