I don’t own a true fishing boat. It’s proper name would be a runabout but most people would call it a ski boat or a wakeboard boat. It’s great for cruising, towing tubers, wakeboarders and skiers. But, as I have said in many places, if it floats, it’s a fishing boat. A good friend of mine has a fishing boat, in fact he has a fleet of boats, including two fishing boats and a pontoon boat. The fishing boats are often hauled to a lake up in Northern Saskatchewan and we go in search of Walleye, Pike and Lake Trout. His fishing boats are well equipped, sonar, trolling motors, and a few add-ons including a very handy fish ruler glued onto the back wall of the boat for quick measurements.
The idea of attaching a ruler to my boat would be a little bit unsightly, given the type of boat, leaving me to come up with other ways to quickly and easily measure fish. So I have translated this handy fish ruler idea in a couple of ways, adapting to my boat and my needs. At first, I added inch measurements to my fishing rods (more on this in a future article). I can net a fish, lay it on the swim platform at the back of the boat, lay the rod down, and I get a quick measurement.
This idea works well, but can be a challenge if you have to manage the boat, net, fish, and rod all at once. Having a third or fourth hand would be quite an advantage. Sometimes, however, my fishing buddy has a fish on the line as well or is busy reaching for a next beverage so I came up with an idea to add a simple way to measure and release a fish quickly and easily, without major aesthetic disruption to my boat.
I took a Sharpie permanent marker and added some small marks, beginning with the fish nose mark then several measurement marks. As I did on my rods, I started at 18″. A fish shorter than 18″ should not be measured. Then every 3 inches I added, and labelled another mark. The hard part, is catching a fish. Then it’s the easy part. Remove your hook from the fish and with a good grip on the fish lay it down with the nose on the nose mark and simply read the length. When measuring fish, the instructions usually say to pinch the tail, which will give you a 1/2 and inch to an inch of additional length, depending on species. When you are finished with your measurement, simply slide the fish off the swim platform into the water for a live release.
Precision measurement is not essential. Anything between marks is a bit of an estimate, as with this walleye above, measuring at 22″. If you then want to know the weight of your fish, you can use the fish length to weight conversion.