What you need to know about bagging fish


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Nathan Hill tackles something most everyday hobbyists do only a couple of times in their life and often get very wrong.

Bagging a fish properly is a skill that takes a little practice, but makes a big difference to both your fish when they need to be transported and the kudos you get from whoever receives them.

It’s rather like learning to ride a bike, being something once mastered you never forget.

One day, if you need to travel some distance, it could make the big difference between fretting and checking your livestock every five seconds or enjoying a stress-free journey.

All you need is a plastic bag, an elastic band, and something to put the fish in to keep it dark and/or warm for travelling!

Here's how to do it...

1. Roll down the bag, filling around a quarter  of it with aquarium water and float it on the surface of the tank. This will keep it floating and open as you net your fish.

Make sure the bag is big enough for the fish you’re catching and be aware that some spiny travellers may need to be double bagged if their fins penetrate the first one.

2. Unroll the bag gently, remembering you have your fish inside. Once fully open, hold it so that it is hollow like a windsock. It may help to gently blow across the top of the bag to keep it inflated.

It would be a good time to assess that you have enough water in the bag — and if not add a little more.

3. Quickly snatch or pinch across the top of the bag to trap around four or five parts of air to the volume of water that you already have.

Once you’ve achieved that, gently give the bag a couple of slow twists, or twist the neck so you have a few inches of twisted bag at the top and that the bag itself is rigid and inflated.

4. Wrap an elastic band around the bottom of the twisted neck, so that it passes through itself. Pull this tight and, holding the bag high, wrap the band around the neck, with a finger or two in the end of the band being wrapped.

Keep going until you have a short length of elastic band left, with a loop in the end of it.

5. Fold the neck of the bag over on itself and hook the loop from the end of the band over it about halfway down. This will simultaneously secure the loop and top of the bag in place.

You may wish to turn the bag upside down or tape the corners curved before putting the bag into a dark wrapper to keep the fish calm.

6. Having reached the other end of your fish’s journey and, once it has been acclimatised to a new temperature, the bag can be opened very quickly by simply pulling at the loose end of the neck.

This will ping the loop of elastic from the top — at which point the band will unravel itself and be easily removed.

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