Plenty of anglers catch, photograph and release snook each year, especially with Florida's strict slot limits and seasons in place. It's not uncommon for anglers to weigh their catch using a lip-gripper scale.
"What fishermen don’t realize is that they may cause severe harm to the fish when they suspend it vertically from the scale," says Tom Twyford, president of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club.
So the West Palm Beach Fishing Club developed the Snook Sling, a tool that allows anglers to keep the fish in a horizontal position. The sling attaches directly to a scale, not the fish. The club wanted to prevent damage to vital internal organs, the throat latch and gills when weighing saltwater species.
"Because the club is an advocate of catch, weigh and release, we wanted to develop and promote the use of a tool that minimizes our impact on the fish,” said WPBFC chairman Pete Schulz. "We believe using a sling is just a more ethical approach to weighing your catch."
The club's sling is made from a durable material called textilene. Additionally, the sling features end caps that help keep the fish securely cradled.
Freshwater fishermen and marine scientists have used similar slings for years, but it hasn't caught on with saltwater anglers. The West Palm Beach Fishing Club is trying to change that mindset.
And there's no reason to stop with snook. If you really want to weigh your hefty catch — whether it's a shark, amberjack, barracuda, bull red, etc. — pull out the sling! For more information, visit the West Palm beach Fishing Club website.