"Or possibly by those people whom think that in very low conditions the fish might actually benefit from being kept at arms reach for a while, just in case they should go belly up after being released."
What do you mean by this Eddie? Are you suggesting that holding a fish whilst it recovers is wrong?
Are you suggesting that more fish die than we think despite or even because of our attempts to recover them?
I'm not trying to start and argument here, I'd just like you to clarify this ambiguity.
Eddie, I agree with you on this point.I would only ever think of using a properly placed retention system in circumstances when a fish is likely to need a long time to recover such as low water/high temperatures.It allows that additonal recovery time in circumstances when the fish can be monitored.
Thanks for the clarification Eddie, its just that your comment could be read that you didn't think holding a barbel in the current is worth doing.
I'm sure that the occasional fish appears to leave the anglers hands fit and well only to belly up shortly afterwards but these are thankfully the vast minority and any measures taken to revive a fish is worth doing.
Of course, the best (and often forgotten due to the excitement of the capture) way to revive a barbel is to rest it in the net before unhooking and weighing (if necessary, why do so many people weigh every barbel?). A fish netted and immediately rested in the margin will recover very quickly.
I know I'm probably preaching to the converted here and I'm not trying belittle you in any way, but other less experienced anglers will read this and if they all took an extra couple of minutes with each fish before removing them from the water the mortality rate would be greatly reduced.
It is generally accepted amongst Barbel anglers that keepnets are a big no no. Whether I agree or not is not the point. The original question was whether keepnets are used on the Severn. The reply was yes, by matchmen and the uneducated. The definition in my eyes being the pleasure angler, normally visiting from outside the midlands who will cram many fish in a keepnet for the duration of his session. How one chooses to care for their catch will depend on what you believe to be right. As you stated no one can prove what happens to a fish once it is released.
I myself no longer use keepnets for Barbel. I however retain a fish for as long as necessary in a landing net until I see fit to let it go.
I witness distressed fish in keepnets in summer,on a very regular basis,usually as a result of the keepnet being positioned in shallow,non flowing water in the edge,and not staked out.
This applies to the Rivers primarily.
Modern Keepnets do not kill Barbel,and can help recovery if correctly used,however a badly placed one,or misused one can.
Many dedicated Barbel Anglers still insist on weighing and photographing every fish,regardless of size,or weather conditions,so it is unfair to blame the pleasure angler or Matchmen for all deaths.
As has been said earlier a released fish that appears to swim away strongly,is no guarantee that it wont turn belly up a short while later.
When did I say that all keepnets users are uneducated? I thought I went on to define what I meant.
I use a keepnet myself, not for Barbel anymore but for most other situations. I think you may have missed the point somewhere along the line.
Retaining fish in keepnets in this weather could be deemed as dangerous as releasing them. No one knows because no one has ever studied what happens to fish when they are released. There are no right or wrongs as there is no law. It is upto the individual and most will do what they think is correct. If you are a barbel angler (I'm not, I'm just a general pleasure angler) then they preach against keepnets mainly due to fin damage in much the same way as carp. I will be fishing the Warks Avon tomorrow and intend to use a keepnet. If I happened to catch a barbel I would leave it in the landing net until I thought it ready to return. If I catch a roach it would go in the keepnet. Many others would do the same which is hypocritical really since does a roach deserve less than a barbel? But that's a different shouting match.
ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS I DO ONCE IVE CAUGHT A BARBEL, IS TO LEAVE IT IN THE LANDING NET FOR A WHILE, BEFORE PHOTOGRAPHING OR RELEASING IT. THIS SHORT PERIOD OF TIME WILL ALLOW THE FISH TO RELAX AFTER SUSTAINED FIGHT.,
I stopped using keepnets entirely about 8 years ago.
I can't get photos (but I can remember) loads of fish in a session. Also, if asked what I have caught, I can't just lift the keepnet out.
If asked what I have caught, I don't have to lift the keepnet out.
More survivors = more fish to fish for. Life is good.
It took me a while to get weaned off the keepnet thing. I never kept carp, barbel,grayling,trout, mullet or chub for example because they are susceptible to scale or fin damage.
Roach, perch, bream etc. are less likely to get damaged in a keepnet, but we have all seen casualties at the end of a day. Personally, I now just catch a fish and let it go.
i don't think there will ever be an easy answer to this problem,if you have reasonably deep margins with cool (shaded)water and some flow then a keepnet may be preferable,for a short time at least,otherwise rest fish in landing net before unhooking then release when they can swim away strongly,,this won't garranty the fish will be o.k.but at least you have tried...there is a strong feeling that in catch and release trout fishing many fish just swim out into deep water and die.it's all to do with red and white muscle and lactic acid,hard fighting fish suffer the most...as in all things only experience can help you decide.