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What Does PB Mean in Fishing?

What Does PB Mean in Fishing?

If you are new to fishing, you are probably finding some words and terms that are unfamiliar to you.

A common term for trophy fishers and even casual anglers is “PB.” You might see this in forums, fishing reports, and all sorts of fishing publications. But what exactly does PB mean to fishermen?

In fishing, PB stands for “personal best” and describes the largest fish of a particular species that an angler has ever caught.

Fish can be measured by weight, length, or both. A fisherman might talk about his personal best 22-inch rainbow trout or his personal best 12-pound largemouth bass.

How do you measure a fish to find your personal best? This article will show you some ways to track and improve your PB when you’re fishing through the ice.

What is a PB Fish?

fisherman’s personal best

A PB fish is a fisherman’s personal best of a particular species of fish.

The personal best can refer to either the length or weight of the fish – often, it depends on the species.

If a fisherman catches a 19-inch walleye, and that is the longest walleye he has ever caught, his new PB for a walleye is 19 inches. If the same fisherman catches a 7-pound bass, the heaviest bass he has ever caught, then his new PB for a bass is 7 pounds.

Anglers track their PB so they can try and break their own records, compete for state records or trophy programs, and just so they can have a great fish-story for their friends!

How to Measure the Length of a Fish

Measure Fish length

According to a handy guide from the Texas Parks & Wildlife department, here is the proper way to measure a fish for length:

  1. Lay the fish flat on its side
  2. Measure from the most forward point on the head, nose, or lip of the fish
  3. Measure back to the tip of the tail, pinching the soft tail fins together to their maximum length (if the fish is a hard-tailed species, tilt the tail to make it as long as possible)

It’s important to try to do this quickly if you are planning to catch and release the fish so it is not out of the water too long. Also, avoid laying the fish down directly on the snow or ice, which can freeze and damage the fish’s delicate eyes.

A bump board is a great tool for grabbing quick measurements of a fish, especially on the ice when your hands may be a little too stiff to use a measuring tape. Just “bump” the fish’s nose up to the front of the board and pinch its tail to measure its length on the pre-marked board.

Frabill Expandable Bump Board | Convenient Fish Measuring Board

Click image for more info

How to Measure the Weight of a Fish

You can buy a digital fishing scale for a few dollars. These are designed to hang the fish from a hook while you hold the scale from above. The scale will display the weight of the fish.

digital fishing scale

You should always be careful when weighing a fish you plan to release, because doing it improperly can injure or kill the fish. There are two good ways to do it, depending on whether you have a net or not:

How to Weigh a Fish in a Net

Fish in a Net

  1. Catch, fight, and net the fish. Keep the net partially in the water so the fish can breathe while you prepare the scale
  2. Turn on your fishing scale
  3. Hang the handle of the net on the scale’s hook (make sure the fish is trapped inside the net)
  4. Remove your hand from the net
  5. Record the weight of the fish and the net
  6. Release the fish
  7. Weigh the empty net
  8. Subtract the weight of the empty net from the measurement you recorded of the fish and the net

This method is great because it does not require hooking the fish on the scale directly, prevents you from dropping the fish, and keeps the fish in the water as long as possible.

One drawback is that not all nets will contain a fish while hanging, and an especially large PB fish might not fit in the net completely. You might want to try weighing without a net:

How to Weigh a Fish On a Hanging Fishing Scale

How To Weigh Fish Using The ConnectScale
  1. Catch, fight, and net the fish. Keep the net partially in the water so the fish can breathe while you prepare the scale
  2. Turn on your fishing scale
  3. Carefully guide the hook of the fishing scale around the hard gill plate on the side of the fish (do NOT hook the bright red gill organs under the gill plate, which will kill the fish. Only hook the hard, skin-covered plate that covers the gills)
  4. Steady the fish with your hand while you lift the scale
  5. Remove your steadying hand momentarily so the fish hangs on the scale
  6. Record a measurement
  7. Release the fish

If you are careful to hook the gill plate and not the gills, this method can be safe. Do not pierce the fish’s mouth to take a measurement. The gill plate is strong and should support the weight of the fish.