Friday April 7, 2023

Sport Fishing Magazine

Mechanical lip-gripping devices are popular among anglers as a means to avoid sharp teeth, weigh fish, and hold fish for photos. While lip-grippers can reduce handling, which can remove a fish’s protective slime, research shows that they often do more harm than good, especially when fish are held vertically.

A 2007 study at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas assessed the effects of a lip-gripping device on bonefish. Ten fish were held vertically in the air for 30 seconds, and 10 fish were held horizontally in water for the same amount of time. The results were undeniable.

The research article published in the scientific journal Fisheries Research stated, “the lip-gripping device caused mouth injuries to 80% of bonefish restrained in the water and 100% of bonefish held in the air, always when fish thrashed while being held. Some of the injuries were severe (40%) and included separating the tongue from the floor of the mouth, creating tears and holes in the soft tissue of the lower jaw, and splitting the mandible.”

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