Finding A Balance… Fishing Photography

How to Hold Your Catch for a Photo:


By: Fishing Expert – Craig Stapon

Over the years there has been much debate about how to properly hold a fish for a picture. Some say big fish should never have a vertical shot, and others say the weight of the fish should be supported by the angler posing with the catch. I put some serious thought into it over the years and have come to my own conclusion on the subject. In the end, my thoughts are that if you catch your fish, you have every right to take a picture the way you see fit.


Some anglers today have even gotten pretty crafty with their cameras and can make even an average fish seem big. There are many tricks to the trade when taking a shot of your most recent catch, but I like to start by trying to fill the whole picture area with fish. This way you get a good shot of the length and girth of the entire animal! And honestly, if you ask me, there are several ways to take a good shot. If you are holding a fish from the belly, try to make some attempt to hide your fingers as much as possible. Trust me, they can and will certainly wreck a good shot. (See example 1 and 2 below to understand what I mean).



Now, I don’t want to get into a debate on how a big muskypike or trout should be held. The vertical hold is said to damage the ligament in the fish. Because of this, many anglers stress that holding the fish by the belly is truly the best practice. I myself am 260 pounds, and to be honest, if someone held me up by the belly, I’m sure it would do some damage to me just as if they held me by the neck!



It is also important to remember that fish have virtually no weight in the water. Because of this, the air bladder of the fish controls its depth by inflating and deflating, just as a deep water diver would do! So, when we start to pick these creatures up for a picture, I am sure none of the methods are really “good” for them physically. Yet, as an angler with social media and guide services, I understand that we all have to show just how awesome our catches are! Needless to say that includes displaying them with our sponsor’s logos, and of course favorite hooks in their mouths.

With all of that being said, it seems to me sometimes like we have lost some integrity along the way within our beloved sport. Social media and our cozy home keyboards can sure raise some unnecessary and unwarranted flack on some of the subjects such as this. But the truth is, often times the individuals who write these hateful comments on the topics have never fished before in their lives! Overall, it seems to me that many of the individuals within the sport have developed some false sense of entitlement when it comes to fishing, and I truly believe that more anglers today should worry about their own behavior on the water, and set an example for future generations to come. And again, I’m not pointing fingers or naming names…I just want to raise some questions for thought within the fishing community today. Think about it, do you as an angler have the right to tell someone that they are holding a fish the right or wrong way for a picture?

Topics like this often make me think about the heroes that serve in our armed forces, be it Army, Navy, Marines, etc. These individuals put their lives on the line every day so that we have the freedom to fish, do tournaments, and play with our boats! Yet there are many among us that forget what the sport is all about and have become too big headed for their own good! Fishing is about enjoying the outdoors and everything it has to offer enthusiasts, be it winter or summer. Let’s go back to basics, forget about all the keyboard name calling, fish, and be kind to others! Confrontation has no place in our sport and I’m often embarrassed of what I have seen from some bad apples out on the water. Do your part to bring back the fun!



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Author Bio:

Today Craig is known as one of the top Muskie anglers in Canada – Loudly and boisterously commanding and navigating throughout the Manitoba and Ontario lakes. He hosts seminars across Canada and throughout the USA on Muskie fishing. He has hosted several TV shows both in open and hard water and is featured as one of Lund Boats “Pro Staff”. Tournament founder, philanthropist, outdoors writer and outdoor expert, Craig simply can’t get enough of the great outdoors. Craig was selected to fish for Team Canada, one of 30 pro anglers from across the country to compete in a Canada vs. USA challenge. Find out more at

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