Fishing alone is great, but hard when it comes to solo fish pictures.
Most of the time when I fish, I fish alone. However, I still get plenty of solo fish pictures to remember the times on the water, or just to share with others. When there's a buddy present, getting that picture is easy, just grab the fish, pose, and let it go as quickly as possible, but when alone, it's impossible right? Well, not exactly. Taking solo fish pictures by yourself is fairly easy, it just requires a little more effort. Here's what I do.
To start off, I fully support catch and release. I don't keep fish and I go through great lengths to make sure all my fish swim off just as happy as before I hooked them. So when the times comes to get that picture, everything has to be in order and ready to go before the fish even hits the net. Having the fish out of the water for the shortest amount of time possible is key. To do this, just get a small easy opening tripod with a cell phone adapter. That's about it.
I strap my tripod directly to my backpack on my left side. When I hook a fish and it's one I'm going to want to get a picture of, I just grab the tripod, open it up, and set it down with one hand while I'm fighting the fish the other. Then, when the fish is in the net, I grab my cell phone and snap it into the tripod cell phone adapter. Next, thanks to giant leaps in phone technology, I just grab the fish out of the net, face the camera, and audibly say the words, "shoot". At that time, my camera takes a picture. At most, the fish is out of the water for five to ten seconds, no harm, no foul.
Considering the camera quality of today's cell phone, most new smartphones are just as capable as an expensive stand alone camera. I do a lot of video with my cell phone as well this exact same way. As a matter of fact, when I'm shopping for new phones, the camera quality is what I look for most.
I understand the argument for the people who are all about wearing gloves, using specific nets, barbless hooks, and releasing the fish as fast as possible, but if a fisherman can't even get a fish picture, what are we doing?
It's all about preparation and taking the time and energy to do it right. It may take a little practice at first, but remember to keep the fish as wet as possible and back into the water as fast as possible. Make sure you reduce the amount of time out of the water to about the point you can hold your own breathe, and even less than that.
Remember, if the first picture or two didn't work or is off center, just use it as a learning example and let the fish go. There's always more fish to catch to try again until you get it right.