A well known method for catch and release of billfish and other species, is what is commonly referred to as “leadering” a fish, behind the boat. In this technique an angler will grab hold of the fishing line and or leader and directly pull the fish towards the boat as the fight is nearing the end, until the fish is close enough within arms reach. Under some rules and certain circumstances this is considered a catch by definition. Once an angler has put a hand or two on the leader, it has considered to be a caught fish. These rules are in place to keep fish alive and well during a catch and release process. The leader rule allows for big fish like sailfish and marlin to stay in the water and swim with the boat to catch their breath. Neither fish will handle well in the boat. The Leadering technique and rule are important to keeping a healthy fishery for safely releasing many fish for future generations.
During the Leadering process, the angler gently pulls the fish to the boat, as the fish bobs and weaves back and fourth trying to escape, the angler pulls the fish close enough to take pliers and pull the hook free from the fish, keeping the Spearfish in the water upon the catch and release. Even for species like mahi mahi leadering the fish is also important too. When catching multiple peanut mahi’s that are to small, the leadering technique gives anglers a chance to pull the fish close and pick it up, maybe for a quick measurement or picture, with out harming the fish to flop all over the deck. Rather, simply take a measurement a picture and release the little mahi on his way!
The leadring technique is one that can be used in almost every single catch and release application, a very universal technique for all anglers alike!
Hope this article better explained the “leadering” process and the reason behind it! I look forward to seeing you put this technique to use, next time your on the water!