How to Grab a Bass Fish

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Bass gives anglers a good fight and can be fun to catch. However, if anglers do not know how to grab a bass, they may not be able to return them to the water due to mishandling or injury. When you go fishing, learn to hold bass safely.

How to Grab a Bass Fish

You set the rod, threw in the lure, and reeled a big bass fish. Now the next step will be to reel it in and unhook it correctly. Many of us have seen anglers take pictures with their catch although the correct method of holding bass is essential because it can injure the fish if they are not careful in handling it.

Man fishing bass

Learn how to be more careful in handling fish so that you can return it to water without causing unnecessary snags. From the moment you get bass hooked, there has to be careful reeling in and grabbing so that you can enjoy bass fishing every time you return to the lake!

How to Hold the Bass

If anglers do not hold the bass properly, they can suffer serious issues like a broken jaw or a depleted protective layer from their skin. Both of these conditions can cause the bass to die. There are various ways of holding the bass safely.

Vertical Hold

Holding the bass vertically is the best technique as it is safe. You can hold the fish by its mouth as if you are holding it by the lower lip. You can put your thumb inside the mouth and hold the bass in a way that there is not too much pressure on the jaw.

Holding the large bass by the mouth in a way that the tail is vertically below the mouth is the best way to keep the jaw safe from breaking. Anglers must keep their grip almost vertical, pointing the thumb downwards.

The angle of the thumb and the ground should be almost 90 degrees because if it is more, you will be putting the weight of the fish on its jaw. This will result in dislocation of the jaw, and even if you place the fish back in the water, bass will die because they will not be able to close their mouth.

Horizontal Hold

We all have seen pictures of anglers with their bass catches. The anglers proudly hold their catch from under the jaw with their other hand holding the tail. This hold is also safe although you can only keep the bass horizontal after you have unhooked it. For hooking, use the vertical hold only.

When you are moving the bass from a vertical hold to the horizontal position, do not hold them by their fins. Bass have a protective layer on their body, which makes them slippery. The purpose of this layer is to keep them safe from diseases and infections.

Mishandling bass, or laying it on a rough surface will deplete this protective layer. Anglers may place them back in the water thinking they will be fine. However, bass can die in the water if their protective layer is depleted and they are exposed to various infections.

An image on how to grab a bass fish

Angled Hold

This kind of hold is the opposite of a vertical hold and therefore it is most unsafe! Angled hold means holding the bass by the jaw while your thumb is more horizontal. This hold is the one to avoid because it will put a lot of pressure on the lower jaw, and if it breaks the fish will not be able to eat properly.

Anglers can hold the small bass using the angled hold because there is not a lot of pressure on the jaw. While the bigger bass will suffer from this hold, smaller fish can sustain this hold. However, it is best to use the vertical hold for the fish, and for your safety.

Fish Grab Tool

A fish grab tool is a secure device that locks the lower jaw of the bass fish so that you can hold it vertically. Even when the bass writhes and twists, it will be easy to hold it. However, anglers must try to place them back in the water before they begin to get anxious and restless.

Ways to Ensure Safety for Bass

While you are reeling in the bass, and when you lift it out of the water to unhook, a few careful steps can ensure that the fish remains safe. The way you grab bass is crucial, however, there are numerous other factors that will ensure safety for bass.

Firstly, you must concentrate on the following to ensure that bass fish does not get hurt when you catch it:

  • Use the correct hooks so they are easy to remove.
  • Be sure to set the drag loose so that the bass can move about when it gets hooked.
  • Use lures that bass bite while the hook catches the edge of their mouth.
  • Ensure that the bass does not get hurt while you are reeling it in.

Do Not Pull the Bass

After lowering the lure, you will be able to hook bass in a short while no matter which lake and time of the year you decide. However, when you begin to reel in the bass, the movement has to be slow and steady.

The fish will fight the reel and swim in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, if anglers keep a steady hand on the rod, and gradually wind the line, they will be able to pull the bass towards the boat. You will have to ensure that the pull is smooth, and gradual so that the bass does not get hurt by the hook.

If anglers pull the line fast, it will stress out the fish and will make the bass shed their protective layer. Anglers must net the fish while it is in the water, and gradually lift it to the boat. Removing the hook while the fish is still in the net by the side of the boat is a good way to ensure that you can return them to the water without harm.

Man caught a bass fish

Don’t Keep Bass Out of the Water for Long

The protective layer on bass can dry up fast when it is stressed. Moreover, if you keep the fish out of water for long, the layer dries up faster. Many anglers do not realize that bass have teeth and when they are holding the fish, it may bite hard.

Even when you hold the bass vertically, it can become irritable and twist to escape. As the bass moves, it can tighten the grip on your thumb, causing pain. Therefore, it is best to unhook the fish fast and return it to the water as soon as you can.

Why Holding a Bass Properly Matters

Anglers fish bass for the adventure and the exciting fight that they put up, however, they like to hold and see what they catch. The catch and release ethics are strong and most anglers respect it, even so, a picture with the trophy fish is mandatory.

All anglers must hold the fish properly because they have to release the bass back into the water. Ensuring their well-being and health is of foremost importance and that is why holding a bass in the correct manner matters.

New anglers might not be able to handle bass properly as the fish fights even when it is out of the net and in the angler’s hands. However, holding bass is a crucial skill as the fish can hurt the angler’s thumb due to the sharp teeth.


Anglers must know how to grab a bass fish when they get it hooked and want to pull it out of the water. There are various ways to hold the bass, and some of them are good for the bass and the angler’s security. Learn how to hold the bass before your next bass fishing trip.