Venting A Bull Red or Black Drum

This is a Repost of a previous entry from March 2005 on Venting Reds and Black Drum.

Venting the air bladder on Bull Reds and Big Black Drum.

Right now the Red Drum Run is on. While at the jetty just a few days ago - I saw numerous drum caught - pictures taken - then dumped back in the water - floating belly up because they did not empty the air bladder.

I thought it would be good to post instructions on how to do this so we can assure the survival rate of these fish. Below are the instructions. What I have found that works great is a Turkey Spice Injector - I bought mine at Academy for $3.50. It works great!

Here are directions:

Venting trapped gases from a fish caught from deep water

Use the largest hypodermic needle you can find (#10 or larger) and remove the plunger. Insert hypodermic needle at a 45 degree angle, under a scale, near the tip of the pectoral fin and squeeze the fish gently. You will hear the trapped gases escaping. Make a needle clearing tool from a piece of stainless leader wire to clear any tissue, etc. from the needle and leave this tool in the needle between uses. Sterilize the needle with iodine or alcohol after use and store it in a safe place.

Why is this important to me? I learned how to do this after I caught a 40lb drum - I worked him back and forth - let him go - he floated to the top. I pulled up the anchor rope - netted him again - worked him back and forth - released him - he swam down - then floated up again. I tried a third time - same results. I assume he died as the seagulls began to pick him apart. This fish was probably 15 years old or older - and I wasn't able to keep it alive. After that - I learned how to do it - it is simple. But incredibly important. I haven't had a floater since.

Good Luck!

PS: Althought this is a repost - we caught over 50 Bull Reds on the last trip and didn't have one "Float Away" Please take the time to learn to do this.

Also - There is a link to a video that shows the venting - click here

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