West Palm Beach, FL — Even though snook season is closed, many anglers still enjoy the thrill of catching and releasing one of Florida’s premier game fish. It is not uncommon for anglers to weigh their catch using popular hand scales, but what they don’t realize is that they may in fact be causing severe harm to the fish when they suspend it vertically from the scale. Recognizing there was a need for a better approach, the West Palm Beach Fishing Club (WPBFC) developed the Snook Sling, a tool that enables anglers to keep the fish in a horizontal position without the need to physically attach the scale to the fish. Weighing and releasing some species of fish, especially snook, tarpon and trout, in a vertical orientation can damage vital internal organs, or sometimes damage the throat latch or gills. “Because the Fishing Club is an advocate of catch, weigh and release, we wanted to develop and promote the use of a tool that minimizes our impact on the fish. Using a Snook Sling is just a more ethical approach to weighing your catch,” said WPBFC Chairman Pete Schulz.
Freshwater muskie fishermen and marine scientists have used similar slings for years, but their use by saltwater recreational anglers has been minimal. The WPBFC is trying to change that mindset, especially for trophy snook fishermen. Not surprisingly however, anglers are using the club’s sling to weigh more than just snook. They are using it for sharks, amberjack, barracuda, bull reds and other varieties of fish.
The WPBFC Snook Sling has undergone several modifications since the original sling was designed. The new version is made out of a durable blue material called textilene that does not show stains and has a more open mesh. Additionally, the upgraded Snook Sling features integral end caps that help keep the fish securely cradled. The WPBFC Snook Sling is designed for use in a saltwater environment and can be easily folded and stored on a boat. The weight of the sling, which is 1 pound, is easily deducted from the fish weight. “There is a genuine need for a product like this. It makes sense that the West Palm Beach Fishing Club with its long history of conservation advocacy is the one that helps initiate its development and use,” continued Schulz.
The WPBFC sells the Snook Sling for $45. They are available at the WPBFC clubhouse located at 201 Fifth Street in West Palm Beach (561-832-6780) and at Fishing Headquarters tackle shop in Jupiter located at 633 Alternate A1A (561-743-7335). Snook Slings can also be ordered online at www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org. Proceeds support the club’s angling and conservation programs.
Contact: Tom Twyford, President; (561) 832-6780