Every angler knows that the ability to measure and weigh your fish is important. When you tell your fishing tale you need to be able to accurately describe your catch to other anglers. Knowing the right weight and measurement is also used by anglers to make sure the fish they are keeping is legal by the laws and regulations established in the area where they are fishing.
Learning how to properly use a hook scale will mean that as an angler you can get more precise measurements and weights for your catch. Hook scales can be challenging to master. Once you have used the fish scale a few times it will become like second nature to you.
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Weighing Fish With a Hook Scale
There are two basic types of hook scales. The digital and the traditional scales. We are going to look at what you need to know to be able to use either variety.
1. Using a Digital Hook Scale
All digital hook scales will have a button that you can depress to set the scale at zero. Before you go out on the water make sure you know where this button is. Each time you use the scales you are going to have to reset them back to zero. To do this you press the button that will set the scale to zero and hold the button down for a minimum of three seconds.
The second thing you will have to do when using digital scales is to choose between measurements of ounces and pounds or grams and kilograms. Normally you will depress the power button on the unit and hold it down for a few seconds. The display screen should show you the units as the scale memory goes through the units of measure that are available. (There are some scales that have a separate selection button to find the unit of measure. Reading the instructions that came with the scale is helpful in pointing out the position of the buttons and the function of each button.)
2. Using A Traditional Dial Scale
- Hang a damp sling onto the hook and turn the dial of the scale to reflect zero on the gauge.
- Place your fish in the sling and hold the scale-up so the fish is not touching any surface with their tail.
- You can weigh several fish but you should write down the weight measurements of each one so you can clearly remember them.
How to Weigh a Fish Perfectly With a Hook Scale
- Pic the fish up and hang it from the hook at the bottom of the scale. The hook will slide into the gill of the fish to securely hold the fish while you get a weight measurement. (You can also hang the fish from the lure that is attached to the lip of the fish.)
- The fish needs to be lifted completely off the ground so that there is a space between the tail and the bottom of the boat or any surface.
- Wait a few seconds so the scale has the chance to adjust the weight and reflect it onto the digital screen.
- If you want you can place several fish into a container and weigh them all at one time. It is recommended that you weigh the container first so you know its exact weight and then weigh the container filled with fish. When you get your reading, you subtract the weight of the container from the final weight to ascertain the exact weight of your catch.
- If your scale has the option of storing the weight in the device memory you should do this. This will allow you to compare the weights of future fish with the ones you are weighing at the time.
Tips on Using a Fishing Scale
- Always hold hook scales at the top of the scale and never by the side of the scale. Holding by the side will interrupt the accuracy of the reading.
- Always make sure the sling you are using is damp. It is also important to make sure that the sling does not have extra water in it when you are getting a weight measurement.
- If the wind is blowing while you are weighing the weight you get will not be as accurate. Try to hold the scale where the wind does not interfere with your measurement.
- Reset the scale to zero after each reading. If you do not reset the scale to zero then you may get a false reading next time.
- Do not weigh your fish with them still in your dip net. The net will interfere with the weight reading.
- Hang the fish from the gill instead of the lip. If the lip tears the fish will fall and it could allow the fish to flop out of the boat and be lost.
- Do not touch the fish while it is being weighed. Touching the fish is the same as touching an object or counter while trying to weigh yourself.
- Practice using the scale several times before you go fishing. Taking the time to learn to properly work your new equipment will save you from making mistakes while you are fishing.
- Do not throw away the instruction manual that comes with your fishing scales. Find a place to store the instructions so you can revert back to them in the future if you have any need to do so.
- Keep the batteries fresh in your scales. Always carry extra batteries with you because the last thing you want is to start weighing your fish and have the battery in your scale die.
- Store your scales in an area that will protect them from getting wet or soaked. Most of these scales are water-resistant but they are not completely waterproof.
Make sure you have a set of hook scales with you so you can measure your catch. Always carry a tape measure or measuring ruler so you can know the exact length of a fish. The most important thing is to have fun!