How To Handle & Release Sea Barbel Without Getting Spiked Or Hurt?
Handling Sea Barbel or Sea Catfish can be a difficult task but in this article you will learn how to safely handle and release South African species of Sea Barbel such as the White Seacatfish and the Black Seacatfish amongst others... Sea Barbel have poisonous spines and if spiked can end your fishing trip and cause a lot of agony. If you do get hurt the best way to neutralise the wound is to put it in very hot water, the hotter the better, but just make sure it does not boil your skin away... If the pain persists 3 hours after that one should seek medical help immediately.
When you see you have hooked into a Sea Barbel or Sea Catfish and you do not want to land it then the easiest way would be to give it some slack line or try shake it off the hook. Very often the Sea Barbel eats the bait aggressively and is either hooked very properly, or with the bigger ones they will swallow the hook. Therefore it will be difficult to shake the hook out.
After you have landed a Sea Barbel the safest way to handle it, if you are confident and experienced, is to grab the Sea Barbel on the top and bottom jaw (The outside of the jaw) and then remove the hook with pliers or your hands from there. A better technique is to have a large wet cloth handy and place the Sea Barbel on the cloth. Then cover the dorsal and pectoral fins with the cloth, hold it tightly and remove the hook. If this is still a bit much for you just cut the line as close to the hook as possible and the hook should rust out of the Sea Barbel's mouth within a few days. Remember it is better to lose a hook than to risk injury or to kill the fish.
Please contact me if you would like any further information and please remember to release these fish safely unless you are planning to eat one or two. They play a vital role in the ecosystem and killing them for no reason is not going to get us anywhere.