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How To Use A Fish Stringer (Easy Tips)

Written by James Schulz

So, you are into angling and sport fishing? Kayak fishing is a great way to indulge in your hobby.

There is specific equipment like stringers to make a success of your fishing adventure.

These allow you to keep your catch fresh throughout the fishing trip.

Let us explore fish stringers and the best way to use them.

Learn How To Use A Fish Stringer

What is a fish stringer?

A basic fish stringer is actually a rope or chain used to string fish onto.

This simple device is used by fishermen and anglers alike to keep fish alive in water throughout the duration of the expedition.

There are different types of stringers available, out of which the rope stringer is the easiest to use.

It is a very simple contraption that can be easily made at home.

It consists of a sharp needle or stake at one end and a metallic ring at the other.

The idea is to keep attaching fish to the stringer and allow them to float behind your kayak or boat while you keep looking for other fish.

It allows the user to keep adding fish in an overboard setting, not burdening the space constraints of a kayak.

The basic parts of a fish stringer can be described as:

  •     Some kind of rope or chain or string.
  •     Metal or plastic tip of 4-6 inches size at one end to pass through fish’s mouth.
  •    After attaching fish to the stringer, need a round metal hoop for passing the tip of the rope.

Pros and Cons of Using Fish Stringers

As in everything we do, using a fish stringer has its pluses and minuses. It is up to the user to choose which suits their purpose best.

Advantages of fish stringer

  •  You are using the natural habitat to keep your catch fresh and healthy.
  • You are saving on precious kayak space since your storage is overboard.

Disadvantages of fish stringer

  •   Paddling back after your trip can get slowed down with this method.
  •    Fish’s mouth can get injured with a stringer hook and even get torn.
  •   Dragging live fish along can possibly attract bigger predators like sharks.

Types of fish stringers

‘Horses for courses’ is the process of choosing fish stringers.

There are many options available for anglers. Choose one that suits your purpose best.

1)   Polyethylene rope stringers

Also called poly stringers, this is the easiest stringer variety to use.

It consists of polyethylene rope with a metal stake at one end and a metal ring at the other end.

The metal stake directly enters the gills and out through the mouth.

More than one fish can be run on this same line.

2)  Paracord fish stringers

This is the same as rope stringers except made of nylon wrapped rope – paracord.

It works on the same principle as poly rope stringers.

The only problem is the persistent smell that can be dealt with using hot soapy water.

3)  Hook style stringer

Apt for big fish, this uses a heavy-duty wire shaped into a bowling pin or figure-of-8 loop.

This metal loop works great for kayak fishing.

The end of the loop goes through the lower jaw of the fish and the rod goes through the mouth of the fish.

4)  Stainless steel clip stringer

This is the most common stringer after #1. It resembles a steel chain with hanging clips.

This stringer is sturdier than rope stringers and one may keep adding new fish without trouble.

Simply unhook the clasp and attach it through the lower jaw and out through the fish’s mouth.

5)  Heavy-duty square end clip stringer

Many anglers target big fish which are naturally heavier.

For this, they need to use a fish stringer that can hold up.

This stringer is for large fish. They work similarly to #2.

You have to attach fish through the gills or lower jaw and out through the mouth.

6)  ForEverlast G2 Pro stringer

Best suited for kayak fishing, this fish stringer comes with an integrated float.

This prevents fish from going too deep and possibly entangled in underwater vegetation.

Its quick-release mechanism allows you to add more fish.

It has a snag free cable that prevents many injuries to fish.

7)   Spring lock stringers

These are based on the spring lock technique.

This helps keep fish in place, especially big and feisty fish.

8)   Fish hoop stringers

This stringer is ideal for those who like spearfishing.

The contraption has a round metal hoop at one end that attaches to the fish using a hoop knot.

How to Use a Fish Stringer?

Kayak fishing is one of the leading recreational sports that anglers and professional fishermen use.

Stringers are a good way to keep your catch fresh.

They keep fish alive throughout the outing. For any type of fish stringer being used, a separate piece of rope will work well to secure this to your kayak.

  •   If you are using a rope stringer, you will find a needle or stake at one end and a metal ring at the other end. All you need to do is to first secure the metallic ring end to your kayak. The needle or stake end is there to drive through the lower jaw of the fish and out through the mouth. Leaving the gills free enables fish to breathe freely. Now throw the fish back into the water along with the stringer. Fish will be able to swim along with your kayak or fishing boat with minimum injury or discomfort.
  • If you prefer hook stringers, you will find multiple hooks strung along a single line. Each looped hook can hold one fish, making this a great method for catching fish. Loops are very strong and can easily handle big fish. Investing in a good hook stringer will be very helpful. Usage is the same as #1 except this is a hook and not a needle or stake.
  • For those using clip stringers, choose one with clips hanging from a steel cable.

Usage is the same as in #1 except this stringer has clips to attach fish.

Use the thin membrane in the bottom of the fish’s mouth to pass your clip through.

Stringers of all kinds are used variously in fishing and help fish to stay alive.

After all, you want your catch to remain fresh and avoid ending up with dead fish.

You can catch big game fish as well as smaller fish using stringers effectively.

Important Tips to Use a Fish Stringer to Best Effect

  • Check the material of the stringer to be used. The durability and flexibility of the material need to be just right for the type of fish you wish to catch. Any ordinary stringer will not be right for any fish. For most purposes, rope stringers are the best.
  • Check out the cost and durability of every type of stringer. Even within each category, like rope or chain or hook stringers, there are different varieties on the market. The balance between cost and compatibility will decide your choice.
  • Check out which type of stringer is easiest for you to use. If you are comfortable, your fishing outcome will be good.
  • Check on the condition of your stringer from time to time. Any damage to ropes like fraying or even brittleness can make your stringer pretty vulnerable to break.

Different materials used in stringers

As many as there are stringer varieties, so are the materials used in them.

1)  Stainless steel stringer

These are rustproof and very strong. Stainless steel is very durable too.

It does leave a metallic smell on fish, unlike a metal stringer.

A chain stringer is an example of stainless-steel use.

2)  Plastic stringer

Lightweight and flexible, these allow fish to swim along freely.

However, plastic tends to get brittle with use.

Keep a close eye on the friability of your stringer.

You would not want to lose your catch after so much effort, would you?

3) Paracord fish stringers

These are made of special material and are extremely durable.

They are often used as survival tools. The fish smell tends to linger on this material, causing a slight irritant.

4)  Nylon stringer

These are hardy and durable to use as stringer material.

However, they can be difficult to maintain. Nylon tends to harden with use and can become brittle.

Alternative Methods To Keep Fish Alive

1) Fish basket.

One of the methods to keep your catch alive is to use a fish basket.

This is a wire mesh contraption that allows your fish to swim freely while you continue fishing.

You can put multiple fish in at a time. Fish baskets also keep your fish safe from attack by other predatory fish.

However, fish baskets can hamper paddling back. Also, there is a possibility of separating from your kayak and losing all the catch.

2) Coolers

These are a good option to keep fish fresh. Most kayaks have a storage area for coolers.

Soft-shelled coolers are the best since they fit into irregular spaces.

Fish remain fresh when put in ice immediately.

However, coolers take up precious space in kayaks.

Also, one needs to keep ice handy at all times, which is an additional demand on already limited space.

Lastly, there is a fish smell to contend with.

3) Front hatch

This is a good idea to store your catch. Simply take an insulated shopping bag and fill it with frozen water bottles.

Melted ice can be messy, hence bottles are a better idea.

You are now ready to haul in and store your fish in this arrangement.

Enhance your fishing experience with these tips and guidance.

Knowing exactly how stringers work will enable you to catch all the fish you wish to. Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do stringers hurt fish?

Fish tend to struggle when caught, and with its sharp edges, a fish stringer can cause injury to fish. It may result in giving the fish a torn lip. If you have caught fish in this manner, you will know how the injury came about.

How does a stringer work?

A needle is used to thread the stringer through the gills and mouth, or through the upper and lower lips of the fish. For a better understanding, click here.

How do you use a stringer hook?

A stringer hook is used to attach the lure or live bait in a secure manner. This helps to bring in the right kind of fish you are looking for.

What are the advantages of fish stringers?

Fish stringers are best suited for kayak fishing. You end up with fresh fish at the end of the day. This method also saves space on kayaks by storing catch overboard.

How many fish can be strung with poly stringer?

Depending upon the size and weight of fish caught, you can run multiple fish on a single poly fishing stringer.

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