Man Holding Fish In a Kayak
Handling a Trophy Fish

We all want to catch a trophy fish. That is a fact! However, not everyone is properly prepared when the time comes. How to be prepared depends on the person, and that person’s goals. For instance, you may have a plan to get a replica mount made of your first citation Largemouth Bass. If so, are you prepared to document that fish? More importantly, are you prepared to handle that fish in a manner that will keep it alive after you release it, if you do not plan to harvest it?

All of this is more difficult from a kayak than any other platform. You do not have a live well to put the fish in temporarily while you get situated for pictures. You don’t have space to move around either. If you are by yourself, this is even more difficult because you need some type of mount to hold your phone for pictures of you holding the trophy fish. Below, I will list some important tools and techniques for properly capturing the memory of your trophy catch, as well as safeguarding the fish’s health.


Must have tools:

Measuring Board to document length 

Scale to Document Weight

Small Fabric Tape measure to measure girth if you want to get a replica mount created

Donkey Leash or Fish Gripper


Mount for Camera if alone

After you catch the fish, your adrenaline will be pumping. This is why it is important to be well organized and prepared. One of the first things you should do after removing the hook is get the fish back in the water on a leash. You can use a tethered fish gripper, or a Donkey Leash. Do not worry; your fish will not escape. Next, you need to get your measuring devises ready. After each stage, you should give the fish time in the water. It is helpful to move the fish back and forth some in the water to allow water and oxygen to pass through its gills. 

Quickly record the weight, length, and girth measurements. This process should not take that long, and you should be able to multi task. While you are measuring the fish, stop to take pictures of the bass while it is lying on the measuring board. If you plan to pay a taxidermist later for a replica mount, detailed photos will be very helpful. After this, capture your photos of you holding the fish. If alone, use a mount in front of you. A mount is important because doing everything with one hand can be very difficult, and you will not be able to hold the fish horizontally, which provides good photos and is healthier for the fish. Previously, I used a bendable tripod mount that I gripped to my fish finder unit to take the pictures on a timed photo capture. You can also use your action camera’s to take still shots if you use those, or record a video and take screenshots later.

After you confirm the photos are sufficient and you have all your measurements of what might be your personal best catch, slowly release the fish back into the water. Move the fish back and forth for a moment to push oxygen through the fish. Put your hand below the fish to support its weight just in case it begins to sink into the depths of the water. Let go of pressure and allow the fish to swim out of your hand. If the fish is spawning, try to release the fish as close to the spot where you caught her so she can get back to her bed. 

As sportsman, it is our responsible to be as mature and ethical as possible when enjoying the outdoors and interacting with nature. I hope you found this information useful, and I hope you get to use it sooner rather than later. 


Tools of the trade

Measuring Board
Fish Gripper

Donkey Leash

Tape Measure for Girth 

Phone Mount

Phone Mount Kayak Specific


By: Dominik Wilson

Instagram: @thereelaccountant

Facebook: Dominik Wilson