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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love drift fishing for pollack over wrecks and deep water reefs, but am saddened to see how many fish are killed due to the fact that they don't go back. These fish are often not really wanted either ... maybe one or two for the table, but you can end up catching several.

I have seen people on TV puncturing the air bladder of tropical species with a needle, but was never sure if this is a good thing to do, so haven't tried it. Now I have seen this venting tool, and wondered if you think it is a worthwhile practise and investment?

http://www.charkbait.com/cs/csd-TeamMarine.htm
 

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Personally I don't think it works at all. The fish may get back down but I reckon they're doomed.
 

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The main problem is that the fish are brought up too quick.Once the pollack is clear of the wreck take your time bringing it up,when roughly 20ft from the boat do a 20 to 30 second stop, this gives the fish chance to get rid of the air build up in its swimbladder,on calm days you can see the air bubbles comming up.If you want a pic of the fish try & decide before it hits the surface so as a mate can have the camera ready.
Chin gaff it out quick pic then fire it back into the water head first as hard as you can,by doing this it gets the fish down to a depth where it can expel the air in its swimbladder easier.Speed is the secret with Pollack,slow on the way to the boat, fast on the way out of the boat.
 

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Done it on big AmberJacks, and it is quite common to catch fish with puncture scars. Without venting they have pretty much no chance at all. So I would say vent them, but my personal feeling is that doing so would be much harder on small fish.
Easy on say a 50-150lb fish, the target is large, and it is hard to make a fatal mistake. But on a smal fish the target is smaller, and any mistake will probably be fatal. When the fish blow, horse them to the water as hard and as fast as you can, vent them and get back into the water asap. Good luck, as I think your trying to the right thing.
 

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Just read Steve's great post above, I might have plenty of experience with tropical fish. But not so much with Pollack, I would follow his advice first, before trying venting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will try that Steve .. thanks.

I have also seen those release weights used to drag the fish back down to depth, but not been able to source one anywhere?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How does the fish free itself from the release weight?
The one I have seen used on TV is like a large lead weight with a large hook on, say 2" gape, similar to a small gaff head, with no barb. This is mounted with the point facing down, so inverted. You put this hook through the lower jaw of the fish, from outside to in, and then launch the fish head-first back into the sea releasing line as it goes. When at say 20 or 30 ft you stop the line and the fish simply slides off the hook point.
 
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