Another great article from Andrew at Molyneux;
So you’ve just caught your personal best, you know how to use the camera but now it’s time to pick the fish up.
1. Control the carp on the mat, if the fish is playing up then keep it in the sling and lift it off the mat so it has nothing to kick against, let the carp calm down before you try to take a picture. Don’t hold the carp out as far as you can in order to make the carp look big, a big carp looks big because it is big! Holding the carp out as far as you can gives you no control if it decides to play up. The best way to hold the fish is to keep your elbow bent, if the carp starts to tense up which usually happens before it start to act up simply allow the carp to roll back on to your fore-arms whilst you bend over the carp and place it back on the mat. Holding the carp out can also give the camera a hard time, it doesn’t know what to focus in on, the carp or the angler. This can lead to the carp or the angler being slightly out of focus and the picture not as sharp as it should be.
2. Hold the carp correctly, don‘t wrap your arms around it. Your strongest arm and hand, usually your right if right handed, should hold the head end which is the heaviest. The hand should be under the carp with the pectoral fin grasped between the index and middle finger, pay attention to the gills you don‘t want your fingers going into the gills as you could do the carp some real damage. The left hand should be holding the carp down near the anal fin. If the fish is very heavy and you find you’re wobbling then use your knees to support your elbows and in turn the carp.
3. Keep the carp low to the mat at all times. You should never drop a carp as you can do a lot of damage, sometimes the carp can appear fine but is damaged internally. If you do drop a carp then a thickly padded mat and from a low height is going to cause least damage. When taking the carp back to the water don’t carry it back but transport it back in the sling.
4. Keep the carp damp during the photo shoot. Before the carp is placed on the mat the mat should be damped down, this helps to prevent the carp losing mucus and particularly in summer if you’ve left the mat in the sun water will cool the mat down. Keep the carp damp whilst taking the pictures, it helps keep the gills damp, calms the fish and has it looking it best for the pictures. Don’t pour water directly into the gills, the gills are delicate and can be damaged by doing this particularly as water doesn’t normally flow in that direction over the gills.
5. Use clinic or something similar. It the least you can do after catching a carp is to make sure it goes back as healthily as possible. A bit of clinic on all wounds including the hook mark in the mouth can help prevent infections. Just apply the clinic after you have taken the pictures as a big yellow mark on the fish from clinic doesn’t look the best.
Andrew @ Molyneux