Catch & Release

An ounce of good practice is better than a ton of rules

Catch and release


An ounce of good practice is better than a ton of rules


Year on year we are delighted to see a high proportion of fish, landed on Passport beats, being returned.

With a country sport that crosses several types of fish, methods and geographies, it is Inevitable that something like Catch and Release is a complex and contentious issue. As managers of the Westcountry Angling Passport we would like all anglers to consider not only if, but also how they can practice catch and release when they fish our beats.

Specific local rules are included in the ‘Info and Restrictions’ sections of each beat on this website and within the printed Fishery Guide.  The Westcountry Angling Passport recommend that anglers practice skilful catch and release to help preserve these valuable stocks and the quality of angling in the future.

The following are a few useful tips for those wishing to practice catch and release:

  • Using barbless hooks (or flattening the barb) promotes effortless hook removal and quick release
  • If bait fishing ensure that fish are ‘lip hooked’, some anglers find circle or conservation hooks can help with this, however focused constant attention to the bait and prompt hook setting is the key
  • Bringing the fish to hand or net quickly ensures the fish is in a good state when it is released
  • If using a landing net, make sure it is large enough to comfortably hold the fish, knotless, and of a small enough mesh to avoid damaging fins
  • Wet your hands before handling the fish
  • Keeping fish handling to a minimum and keeping the fish in the water aids quick recovery
  • Support it in the water until it has recovered enough to swim off

Accumulating and developing skills is a part of angling and we hope that a skilful and considered approach to catch and release can improve your own, and future anglers’ enjoyment of the sport on Westcountry Angling Passport beats.