Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: S Ontario rivers plus various lakes for warm water species.
I am not sure the analogy bears up as species vary in their robustness, for want of a better word, when caught, some being more 'fragile' than others. Eels can travel over land between water bodies, carp can be transported alive in wet moss, catfish can live for hours out of water, pike seem to be hardier than muskie etc.
My earlier question was to compare atlantics and steelhead, due to the 'keep them wet' mantra often mentioned. As Tyke kindly replied, large landing nets are often used to land atlantics which (I agree) enable anglers to safely land them (alone if need be) without the hazards of beaching, weigh them without harm securely in the net (optional), and most importantly, give the fish ample time to recover in often frigid water facing upstream. The danger of the 'dont touch them no hero shots and keep them in the water' is that a tired fish may be turned off the hook in the water and will drift down stream without the strength to survive. This was mentioned in the research PDF posted earlier on in this thread. I am not convinced hand tailing does no harm as steelhead do not have a 'wrist' like atlantics do in their tails. Holding a fish by its tail on landing can remove both slime and scales in that area and put considerable strain on their spines.
I rarely if ever see a steelhead angler using a landing net, the fish would be far better off, not just 'keeping them wet' but ensuring that they survive as best they can.
There is also the added bonus of admiring the fish as it recovers in the folds of the net, where it can be also photographed(optional), fully immersed in shallow water till it, rather than the angler, decides that it is ready to go.