Ok, I see that this point is made in the brochure after a second read but, I think almost every time I've brought up a small one from too deep and had it's eyes bulged, it became a floater upon immediate release.Astoriadave said:Monster: That brochure I linked is worth a closer read, I suspect. They indicate that even groundfish with distended stomachs (I thought that was the gas bladder, but it is not) and distended eyes can survive, with data showing at least some of them surviving a year plus later.
I see though that the brochure refers to releasing them properly by getting them back down to a depth where they can recover quickly, it's good advice and something I would be willing to try, possibly using a weighted crab trap. On the other hand, I've always as a general rule just kept these smaller fish for the campfire. Perhaps it's just me but, just like wild game, the younger ones seem to be more tender and tasty.