Learning how to Release Fish Caught in Deep Waters

People often ask the question: Is it possible to correctly release a fish caught deeper than 20 – 25m underwater (sea bass, white fish etc.)?

In this post, we are happy to share advice on this subject from the experienced fishing guide Olivier Journaux, who teaches in la Rochelle, France with MaxSea software on board.

“Cpt. OJ” as he is known, is a high-level athlete (who was a successful windsurfer in the years 1984 to 1989) and a triathlete at national level for almost ten years in France. Then he practiced spearfishing intensively until the year 2004, and has coached for more than 15 years different sports including swimming, triathlon and national windsurfing 2000-2004. Now the sportsman has become a fishing guide and he certainly is as committed to this endeavor as he has been all along.

Read more about Cpt. OJ on his website (in French) by clicking here.

Here he shares his knowledge about fishing:.

It’s certainly not always easy. Over the last three years, we have been releasing white fish without taking them on board and in the end we didn’t enjoy it very much: no pictures, no memories, it’s a shame!

Since then, I have discovered the solution to this problem – using a syringe with a large needle (purchased from a pharmacy, with a pink tip) to puncture the fish after it has been Releasing fishcaught. I inject the syringe in the fish’s lower abdomen immediately after catching the fish. The fish then “deflates” quickly.

This happens because there is a release of gasses in the bladder that accumulate suddenly when the fish rises quickly through the water, experiencing a sudden change in pressure).

Just after injecting the fish, it quickly recovers its normal breathing in clear, fresh water. Then just rub the fish’s belly and push the air towards the needle so that the fish can recover. The fish then suddenly reverts to a normal position i.e. belly down.

 Releasing fishLearning a successful method to release the fish is a great satisfaction for me and obviously for all of my students too, who can enjoy the beautiful fish in a very good state of health, the picture can then be taken calmly with the fish is a good state of health. And for the record – we have already caught two fish that we had already caught previously. This goes to show the relatively low concentration of fish in the water.

Of course, this technique works well for sea bass and this has allowed us to release many wonderful fish this year which is great news when you consider that the fish population suffers a little more each year.

A last comment on the 2010 season: more and more people are making the decision to release the fish that they catch, and I mean all of their fish. There is no obligation to do so, the only rule we have is a limit to the current quota of fish kept on board since I began fishing in 2006.

Now, in order to avoid unnecessarily keeping fish, I ask everyone on board to state the number of fish he wants to keep or release so that we can know how to manage the quota of the day. I have also experienced days on board where every member of the crew wanted an absolute no-kill policy for fishing, much to their credit.

Releasing fish

Regarding sea bass, we need to inject them differently. First you need to count to the fourth dorsal fin, go down perpendicularly until the lateral line, count another 6 scales below and then slide the needle under a scale so that you can inject it in straight. Remember to check that the needle is not clogged before injecting it (do a small test first… we love these little fishies!)

For fans of the motto “All fish caught must remain on board,” they will eventually need to start releasing fish back into the water. The sea should not be thought of as a space of total freedom where everyone can do what they want, the sea is not for everyone, it belongs to itself and we “earthlings” who are destructive par excellence to everything that surrounds us, must each respect the sea in our own small way…

.The sea bass can then be released back into the water in excellent condition and return to its old life with a lot of pleasure.

Releasing FishingSo, all this is to say that the needle syringe is an essential tool for the angler of today who fishes in deep water areas who is likely to catch fish whose quick ascension through the water and expansion of internal gases will probably prevent them from going back down without your help.


Goodbye, happy fishing and see you soon!


For more information about this topic (in French), please click here.


MaxSea TimeZero SportFishing

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: May 7 to 11


A week with chart updates, new job openings at our French basque Country Headquarters, but most of all, a great weekend ahead to celebrate Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Roses on Mother's Day

Remember that you can view these wonderful images every day on our wall at MaxSea International Facebook Page.

Do you want to know who’s the author? 

Have a great weekend!

Past weeks:

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: February 20th to 24th

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: February 27th to March 2nd

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: March 5th to 9th

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: March 12th to 16th

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: March 19th to 23rd

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: March 26th to 30th

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: April 2 to 5 and 10 to 13

MaxSea’s picture of the day by Jacques Vapillon: April 16 to 20

MaxSea sea bass fishing day out

With the help, patience and boat of Olivier Journaux (aka Captain’OJ, an oldtime partner), MaxSea’s sales team went sea bass sportfishing a while ago. We brought you the pictures.

A very difficult weather and poor technical skills (sorry guys, we have to admit it), it was quite a challenge for the team to fish anything. Captain’OJ, the only pro on board, caught the first sea bass (a 1,5 kg piece) that was released immediatly:

First 1,5kg sea bass caught by Captain'OJ

Sales Director Frederic Algalarrondo caught the second fish, a 3,6kg sea bass also released as the team only wanted to keep one.

Second 3,6kg sea bass caught by Frederic, MaxSea Sales Director

Next fish was caught by Area Sales Manager Philippe Raba (3,5 kg):

Third 3,5kg sea bas caught by Philippe, Area Sales Manager

Fourth sample (4,1kg!) was caught by Area Sales Manager Thibault Hua:

Fourth 4,1kg sea bass caught by Thibault, Area Sales Manager

The icing on the cake was a  magnificent 5,2kg sea bass caught by Philippe (second fish of the day and of his entire life) and kept by the crew.

Fifth 5,2kg sea bass caught by Philippe, Area Sales Manager

In spite of the bad conditions, it was a wonderful and very enjoyable sail trip: Captain’OJ discovered the new MaxSea TimeZero for professional mariners (ECS) and MaxSea Sales Team put their hands on the fishing craft.

MaxSea Sales Team

Thank you Olivier for the great experience and thanks to Fred, Philippe, Thibault, Clément and Sandrine for allowing us to publish these amazing pictures of you 🙂

Here’s the same post on Captain’OJ’s blog (in french).

Do you want to go sea bass fishing? 2012 Season is up and running! Contact Captain’OJ.