This question is for those in the know about properly handling bass. I'm talking about those fish that are going to be released "unharmed". Not tournament fish, but people just out fishing for fun or from a boat. I was always of the opinion that the less you handle a bass and get it back into the water quickly, the less harm can come to the fish. I've always practiced this most of the time as part of catch and release. Not bragging or putting myself on a pedestal (and I know most fishermen are probably doing the same thing). A good 10-15 years ago I saw a guy across the lake catching quite a few good sized bass in the 4-5 pound range. He was burning a rattle trap in spring time. He was practicing catch and release (or at least he intended to). But I noticed that he had them out of the water for an excessively long time. He was holding them up, admiring them, showing them to cars passing by, and taking pictures. As I watched, he would eventually release the fish, but they were out of the water a long time and handled a lot (probably 5 minutes or more each fish). I knew it wasn't good for the fish. I was curious, so I went to the spot he was at the next day. And guess what I saw? Yup, 5 or 6 dead bass on the shoreline. I'm sure those were the same fish. I do know this guy and when I saw him later I talked to him about it. He actually did feel bad and he doesn't do that anymore. And he is a very good fisherman who does well whether fun fishing or in tournaments.
Now, fast forward to current times. On Facebook I'm seeing a lot of guys posting pictures of lots of bass and good size bass they're catching when recreational fishing. They seem to be practicing catch and release. But here's the kicker. Many of the fish in pictures are laying in the boat, laying on the ground (in dirt, grass, gravel). I thought that's supposed to be bad for the fish. It can remove their slime coat is what I've been told and read about. I guess this would result in delayed mortality. Either that, or the fish will become more susceptible to disease in the future. I had a discussion with one of my brothers, and he said I was being ridiculous about this, because bass are pretty hardy. I get that. I just think the way lots of people are handling these fish is not good. Even when I try to take a picture of a good fish, I try to get it back into the water as quickly as possible. If I can't do that (out in my kayak or waders), I just won't take the picture. I'll unhook it and get it back into the water quickly.
After my long winded post, my question is this: Is laying the fishing on the ground bad for the fish or am I being ridiculous like my brother says? Thanks for any thoughts.