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Thread: Can you "separate" the backbone of a fish...

  1. #1
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    Default Can you "separate" the backbone of a fish...

    by holding it by it's tail? I've heard this before, & am unable to find anything but fish recipes when I type in "separates the backbone of fish"...is this "proven" or just conjecture?

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Only after it's cooked.
    Now what ?

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default True

    Yup you can injure a fish by holding it by the tail. Commercail halibut fishermen are told to release their smaller fish without hanging them upside down for this reason. I still see charter boat guides holding small chickens by the tail to release them. This increases the possibility to breaking their backs. Just the same as lifting a human by their neck would increase the possibilty of injuring their spine.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    There's a reason things go snap-crackle-pop when you hoist a fish by the tail, especially a heavy one.

    A fish's body evolved to be completely supported by water all the way around, diminishing the effect of gravity. Unlike you and I, its musculo-skeletal system was never designed to support the unopposed force of gravity in air, especially so when suspended vertically from a single point of fixation! The vertical hangdown when suspnded by the tail will stretch the inter-vertebral spaces of the spine...POP-POP-POP.... risking damage to nerves and small vessels at those critical junctures.

    A different kind of damage happens with the vertical hangdown suspended by the jaw. All of the internal organs are unnaturally drawn downward, creating tremendous strain at their anatomical attachments to the diaphragm and the rest of the body. These connective tissue attachments can rupture, causing serious internal damage and bleeding. One area that is particularly vulnerable is the "isthmus".... that V-shaped area under the "throat" where all of the critical connective tissue, muscles, and blood vessels converge between the body and the head. The major blood vessels between the heart and gill arches live here. (You ever notice how so many salmon start bleeding from the gills the instant they are vertically hoisted by the jaw, even when your fingers never directly touched the gills?) Muscles important for the gulping action that quickly draws water into the mouth past flared gillplates can also be damaged... this has implications for proper breathing and feeding.

    If you are going to lift a fish that will be released, make sure it is cradled horizontally to minimize the risk of these types of injuries!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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  5. #5
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    There's a reason things go snap-crackle-pop when you hoist a fish by the tail, especially a heavy one.

    A fish's body evolved to be completely supported by water all the way around, diminishing the effect of gravity. Unlike you and I, its musculo-skeletal system was never designed to support the unopposed force of gravity in air, especially so when suspended vertically from a single point of fixation! The vertical hangdown when suspnded by the tail will stretch the inter-vertebral spaces of the spine...POP-POP-POP.... risking damage to nerves and small vessels at those critical junctures.

    A different kind of damage happens with the vertical hangdown suspended by the jaw. All of the internal organs are unnaturally drawn downward, creating tremendous strain at their anatomical attachments to the diaphragm and the rest of the body. These connective tissue attachments can rupture, causing serious internal damage and bleeding. One area that is particularly vulnerable is the "isthmus".... that V-shaped area under the "throat" where all of the critical connective tissue, muscles, and blood vessels converge between the body and the head. The major blood vessels between the heart and gill arches live here. (You ever notice how so many salmon start bleeding from the gills the instant they are vertically hoisted by the jaw, even when your fingers never directly touched the gills?) Muscles important for the gulping action that quickly draws water into the mouth past flared gillplates can also be damaged... this has implications for proper breathing and feeding.

    If you are going to lift a fish that will be released, make sure it is cradled horizontally to minimize the risk of these types of injuries!

    And please, if you are taking pictures (whether you are keeping the fish or releasing it) hold the fish horizontally (like in the DOCs sig) as it 1/ makes a better photo and 2/ shows respect for the fish. I believe pictures of fish held up by the gill plate or hung on a hook back at the dock are in poor taste.

    Or like this.


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    Member Jessals Fishing's Avatar
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    Every fish out there is going to be diferent but as a rule of thumb, if you plan on releasing a fish the plan is to give it the best shot you can, right. So, education is the key here, cause there are small things you can do that greatly increase a fishes chances more survival. I think it's great to see you throughing out something that your not sure on. God forbid that one of us don't know everything there is to know about fishing. I hate to think that I am going to release a fish that is not going to make it that could have gotten a proper viking funeral (on the grill!)
    Fishing is one part skill too two parts luck!

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Oooops......... misunderstood the question.
    Now what ?

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    Default Don't worry Steve..

    I looked up "separate the backbone on fish" on yahoo.com & only found recipes... :P

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    I commercial fished and we weren't supposed to even move dead fish by the tail because it breaks their back and causes bruising and bleeding in the surrounding meat so even if you are keeping it be careful not to break the back, it will hurt the meat too!
    River Runnin

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