Great thread indeed!
Originally Posted by iciclecreek
I once heard from a guide that smaller fish are much less fragile than larger fish. He was a retired biologist; therefore, I can't agrue with that. It seems the fragility of fish's osteology increases as it grows larger when it is taken out of water.
I think a big part of what he was referring to pertains to the differences in gravity between in the water and out. The ligaments and other connective tissue that suspends a fish's organs within its body don't need to be very strong, since the fish is submerged in the water all the time. Once their pulled out of the water, there's MUCH more gravity pulling down on their stomachs/egg sacs, etc.
Its pretty obvious that gravity is wreaking havoc on these fish's internal organs-
And there's just NO WAY a fish's jaw is designed to support its full weight like this-