Using a stringer helps with keeping the fish you caught alive and fresh so that they have the most delicious taste once you get to cook them and eat them. You may spend an entire day on the water, catching fish, and you may notice that fish kept in the pocket do not have the same good taste as fresh fish do. That is why you need a stringer. In this guide, we will tell you all about how to use a stringer so that you can always have fresh fish.
How does a stringer look like?
If there is one way to describe a stringer, that would be pretty straightforward. A stringer is nothing but a rope with a metallic needle attached at one end. If that kind of configuration sounds to you like the same thing as a thread with a needle, you would not be far from the truth.
While this is the most common definition of a stringer, you may discover that there are plenty of different types of stringers on the market. Depending on how much money you are willing to spend, you can pick exactly the one you need. From one-dollar stores to specialized stores selling fishing equipment, there is plenty to choose from.
What kind of stringers can you buy?
Rope stringers, which are also called poly stringers, are quite a standard setup and you can purchase one of these online or from brick and mortar stores. The stringer is made from a piece of rope, a metallic needle, and a metallic ring at the other end. In case you’re fishing for trout, you will find this kind of stringer a good choice.
Usually, these are used for big fish that likes to struggle a lot. You can string just one fish per stringer, or you can tag more fish, one after another, and keep them in the water so that they can stay alive and fresh longer. While cheap, these stringers are popular and very efficient.
In case you want to know how to use a chain stringer, you need to know what it is. A chain stringer is quite a popular choice, too, and also a budget-minded alternative to other types of stringers on the market. The chain stringer is made from a chain with multiple hooks at a certain distance one from another.
If you plan on bringing home a good sizeable bounty, as a chain stringer allows you to hook several fish in a row, this is a reliable option. However, if there is one disadvantage we should talk about, that would be the fact that the chain can snap and you can lose some of the fish you caught, if not all. Exceptionally strong fish that can struggle a lot is not a good fit for a chain stringer.
Another type of stringer to keep in mind is a fish basket. As its name indicates, it is designed as a standard basket that stays in the water with the fish trapped inside. Traditionally, fish baskets were made from reeds, but these tend to rot, which makes them not such a desirable option. Metallic baskets are available, but these tend to rust.
For those who want to spend very little on such fishing equipment, plastic stringers are always an option. However, you must bear in mind that you get what you pay for. The stringers are quite brittle, and plastic does not last long in water. The outcome is more often than not losing the fish you caught.
The most expensive option you have at your disposal is the spring lock model. Made from stainless steel, it does not rust, and it does not make the fish smell metallic when you get around to cook it. The mechanism used makes sure that all the tagged fish are kept in place properly. The fish cannot escape, and you will be able to enjoy fresh fish as soon as you finish fishing and you start preparing the food.
Step by step instructions
Now that you are familiar with all the available types of fish stringers on the market, it is time to learn how to use one. This step by step guide will help you in your endeavor.
In case you don’t have a stringer, you can make your own from a, piece of rope and a metallic needle. However, if you are not that crafty by nature, know that there are plenty of inexpensive models you can purchase from the market, and you should be fine with any of them.
Choose your stringers based on the fish you’re after
Some fish struggle a lot and like to fight, while others are not as strong. For the latter, any stringer will do, because the chances are that they will not be able to break free and have you lose your prey. However, you need to bear in mind that a stronger, more reliable stringer will be the right way to deal with bigger fish.
Trout and other species of larger fish should be tagged on a sturdy stringer, so you don’t risk losing them. Chain stringers are not that great choices, and you may do best with spring lock stringers that can keep even the most valiant fish in place.
How to attach the stringer to the fish
Any angler can tell you that there are two basic methods you can employ for adequately tagging your fish. You must remember that you should use a way to attach the stringer so that you don’t risk killing the fish. The fish must be able to still breathe inside the water, but without the possibility to swim away and leave you with nothing on your hands.
The first method employed by fishermen is to make a small hole in the fish’s mouth using the needle and pass the rope through that hole. You then attach the rope to the metallic ring, going through it and securing the fish in place. You can string several fish, without passing the rope through the ring, if this is what you want.
Of course, the above-described method works with standard stringers. However, you can employ it if you use another type of stringer. Just remember to pass the hook or the spring lock, or anything the stringer comes equipped with for tagging the fish through the mouth, making sure that you are not causing too much damage.
As a result, it is important to bear in mind that this method works for most stringers. The fish’s mouth can be perforated in this manner, but you need to make sure that the hole is not too close to the edge, or the fish can struggle and run away, even if they will do so with a torn lip.
The other method used by anglers is to pass the needle through the gills. You open the fish’s mouth, you put the needle inside and then slowly, you pass it through the gills. There is no need to perforate the fish’s mouth, and you can quickly tag any fish in this manner. If you use a chain stringer, you can apply the same method for each hook, until you have all the fish you caught tagged and ready to be kept fresh for hours.
Securing the stringer to the boat
There is another thing you need to learn about using a stringer, and that is how to attach it to the boat you use for fishing. Many anglers who are just taking up using this sort of fishing equipment want to learn how to use a fish stringer on a kayak. Things are not very different from one type of boat to another.
Do you still remember the metallic ring attached at the end opposite to the needle? That is used for securing the stringer. All you have to do is to find a suitable place for placing the ring or attaching it, and you will not have to strain your hands just to keep the stringer, and the fish tagged to it, inside the water.
Especially for fishermen who go fishing alone and don’t have an assistant to attend to the stringer and check it from time to time, this step is essential.
Remember to tag all the fish you catch
While you are all caught up in the fishing experience, you may forget about tagging your fish, and that is why your fish won’t taste that good once you cook it. This step requires you to be a bit careful and pedant, but it pays off. After catching one fish, tag it on a stringer; proceed in the same manner with the next one, and the next one, until you have the stringer full.
That should also be a sign for you that you might want to return to the shore and enjoy the fruit of your labor. In case you like fishing in large quantities, you can use several stringers, but make sure to attach them to some distance once after another to leave the fish enough room to breathe, while they continue to stay alive in the water.
Why should you use a stringer?
Besides the reasons explained earlier, there are some significant advantages to use a stringer that will be described right away. Use a stringer whenever you go fishing, and you will be able to enjoy the following benefits.
A stringer can help you keep count when you go fishing. Many fishing places have rules and regulations in regards to how many fish you can catch and so on. Following the tally on the fish can be a bit difficult if all your prey is thrown into a basket. But, as you use the stringer, you can write down how many you caught.
Make sure that you pay proper attention to all the policies in the area regarding fishing. Some are very specific about how many fish should be tagged on a single stringer. For instance, no more than two trout should be hooked on the same stringer, in most places, and this is something to bear in mind if you don’t want to break the law and find yourself in the terrible predicament of having to pay a fine.
In case you’re running a business that involves selling fish to customers, or cooking for them in a restaurant, having fresh fish is an advantage. The tagged fish will live longer, especially if you did the tagging correctly, as explained earlier. You can take the fish to the place where you are offering it up for sale and prove your customers that their satisfaction is the number one thing you care about.
Don’t lose your catch. That may sound easier said than done, but the truth is a stringer can help you. As long as the fish are tagged securely on the stringer, they will not get away. Your fishing experience will become more satisfying, as a result.
Carrying your fish is much more comfortable with a stringer. The stringer is not useful only for tagging the fish. It is also helpful in bringing your prey home. You just pull the stringer out of the water, and you carry all the fish in one go. As long as the fish are not very heavy, you can even have a younger angler carry them.
If you keep records of the fish you catch using a string, this kind of information can be beneficial for people who study what happens to the fishing areas over time. You may be even a little proud that your fishing outcome will contribute to the making of studies that may end up improving fishing in the respective areas.