Many COARSE ANGLERS and COMPETITION ANGLERS now use large keep nets to hold their catch in the water until the end of the day or the end of the competition. Their fish are always kept alive and in good condition until the cessation of the trip.
Many competitions are now structured as catch and release events. This means that the fish are caught, kept alive and then released once more after the competition. This ensures that the resources are preserved for the future and the enjoyment of fishing is shared amongst many more anglers than the traditional catch and take approach.
However, it is also of benefit to keep the fish alive, even when fishing for the table. Fish are at their best when in their natural environment.
Out of the water fish die and start to dehydrate. They lose many of the magical and natural colours, when alive and take on a drab appearance. Fish selected for the table need to be kept cool and on ice, until they can be cleaned and prepared for cooking or further refrigeration.
As part of the dehydration process, fish start to lose weight. As with humans, much of a fish's body mass is largely composed of water. With dehydration, over the coarse of a few hours, any fish may lose up to 20% of its body mass. In competitions, or with any record claims, this may mean the difference between success and failure.
Keeping fish alive and secure in keeper nets, ensures that the fish maintains its condition and weight until it can be released or killed and cleaned for the table.