Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Point, shoot, record, savor

People send me all sorts of fishing photos. Some are good, some are bad, but all could be better.

A couple of weeks ago, we started posting "Great Catch!" photos on our website. Taking a picture of a fish is a great way to preserve the memory and make a digital trophy that can be shared with family and friends.

The hardest part, of course, is catching the fish. Remember, a 16-inch snook may seem like a major accomplishment to the newbie fisherman, but in a competitive fishing market such as Tampa Bay, that linesider better be a smoking 38 inches if you want to get attaboys from our discerning readers.

Exception to the rule: cute kids. A 3-year-old holding his or her first pinfish scores much higher on the piscatorial scale than a veteran guide posing with an armful of yellowmouth trout.

Now before you get all worked up and head to the grass flats, remember to pack a camera. Technology has improved and prices have come way down on digital cameras in recent years.

A simple $100 point-and-shoot can take a photo that is every bit as good as one that came from a 10-year-old, top-of-the-line SLR that once cost $1,000. And smartphones are also well-adept at taking fishing photos.

But when I'm fishing, I don't take any chances. I have a basic, inexpensive digital camera that I keep in a dry bag in my tackle box at all times.

Why? Because over the years, I have talked to hundreds of anglers about amazing fish they either hooked and lost, or caught and released. Those stories always end the same way: "I wish I had a camera!"

When I'm out on assignment, I start early, because I want to catch that "magic hour" of great light, right after the sun comes up. My best fishing photos are usually taken before 8 a.m.

If you remember one thing about photographing fish, it should be light. Even on a sunny day, a flash can help bring out the natural colors of a fish. A flash also helps remove the shadow cast by ball caps, favored by most fishermen on the water.

Anglers should remember to always shoot with the sun at their back. If not, the picture will look washed out. And when that sun is at your back, be mindful of your own shadow.

A clean background is also important. Shoot with a blue sky and blue water in the background. Don't wait until you get back to the boat ramp or even worse, your driveway, to shoot the picture. Keep the background simple and natural.

Eliminate as much clutter (fishing rods, tee tops, etc.) from the photograph as possible. Look at the details before you shoot. If your subject is shirtless, wait until they cover up; nothing ruins a great fishing photo like a trophy-sized beer belly.

Another common mistake is that many anglers stand too far from the subject. Get close. When you look through the viewfinder, fill up the frame with the angler and the fish.

In most fishing shots, the angler holds the fish horizontally, which means you'll have a lot of sky or water in the frame. To counter that, have your subject hold the fish at an angle.

Once you have a great fishing photo, take a moment to record the pertinent details, such as what species, and when and where it was caught.

Include information such as the angler's name (correct spelling, please), age and hometown, as well as the approximate length and weight of the fish.

You won't believe how many people cannot tell the difference between a black and gag grouper on the boat.

Imagine how hard it is in a photo.

JERI SMITH | Special to the Times

SMILE WIDE: Melissa Smith, 22, of Treasure Island caught and released this 46-pound golden tilefish in 600 feet of water about 12 miles south of Key West in December. She was fishing with her mother, Jeri, father, Ray, and sister, Molly.

. Fast facts

Send us

your Great Catch

If you have a good fishing photo, email it to sports@tampabay.com or send an Instagram photo to #tbgreatcatch and we'll consider it for our gallery at tampabay.com/sports. Please include your name, telephone number and where and when the fish was caught.

Point, shoot, record, savor 06/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 6, 2013 6:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.