Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tips On Removing A Hook From A Fish - Catch And Release!

Today, we are going to talk about how to properly, and safely, remove a hook from a fish. Recently, I have received a lot of emails from readers wanting to know, how to remove a hook from a fish and release it back into the water, without hurting the fish. This is a important for those who practice catch and release, and especially important for fish that are smaller than the legal size limit for possession!

Handling fish should be kept to a minimum and it should be done with a gentle hand! Where the fish is hooked is important, and should be observed and considered, before hook removal is attempted! Below is a list of tips for handling and releasing fish! The list I am sure, is not all the tips for all species, but works well for most species of fish! The order of these tips are in random order and does not reflect order of importance, or procedure, so use a little common sense and successful release will result in the survival of a healthy fish, for future fishing adventures!

1 Always wet your hands before handling a fish, as this helps to prevent damaging the fishes mucous or slime covering that protects them from disease and sickness!

2 Use caution, and grasp the fish firmly, but gently, to avoid dropping and damaging the fish, as this can hurt the fish and cause injury, and makes for a healthy release and the fishes survival! Be careful not to squeeze the fish too hard as to cause internal damage!

3 Always carry and use hemostats, needle nose pliers, etc, to remove hooks, using a twist and pull motion. Using your fingers can result in damage to the fish, and possibly hooking yourself in the process! Then you will be emailing me and asking me how to safely remove a hook from your hand, without causing you, too much stress!

4 Never, and I repeat, NEVER, pull a hook from a fishes gills or throat as this almost always results in death of the fish. Just cut the line, or cut the hook if possible, to retrieve your lure, and leave the hook, as most hooks will rust or dissolve in a fairly short time, thus insuring the survival of the fish!

5 Never stick your fingers into the eyes or gills of fish, this too, results in damaging the fish and more times than not will cause death to the fish!

6 When ever possible, grasp larger fish by the lower lip, and smaller fish around the mid section, after wetting your hands of course! Lipping a fish with teeth is not recommended for obvious reasons, so handle these fish by grasping them across the gill plates!

7 Fish too small to legally keep and fish that you don't intend to keep should always be handled with extreme caution and should be released immediately, to increase their chances of survival!

Handling fish and removing hooks from them causes a lot of stress on the fish, so be gentle, and quick and this will help reduce the amount of stress on the fish. Quickly release the fish back into the water, making sure the fish has the best possible chances of survival! You can not always remove a hook from a fish without damaging it but , if you use caution, you can greatly increase the odds of the fishes survival, without inflicting too much discomfort or damage to the fish!

I hope this answers your questions about how to remove a hook from a fish to ensure the release of healthy fish and greatly increase the chances of a healthy recovery, and increase your chances to catch a bigger fish the next time you go!

If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to check out my archives, and subscribe to this blog to make sure you get all of my latest updates, tips and articles! Please feel free to leave a comment, and browse thru the archives! There are many articles, tips and pictures of the "Great Outdoors" for your viewing pleasure!

So until next time, practice catch and release, and see ya out there I hope! Good luck on your next "Great Outdoor" adventure!

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours! - Harry S. Truman

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Albert A Rasch said...

Great post Kenny!

I crush barbs on all the hooks I use in order to facilitate the removal of hooks. Especially on on the lures I use in salt water. Most of them come with big trebles, and after a particular Jack Crevalle almost impaled me multiple times while I tried to get the hooks out of him, I swore I would never leave barbs un-crushed. I can't recall ever losing a fish on a barbless lure either.

Best regards,
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
National Hunting and Fishing Day

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Albert, you brought up a very good tip, I was going to add this point to the post, but for whatever reason, I didn't! It adds a challenge to the sport and makes it safer for the fisher person and most importantly the fish! Well, maybe not most importantly!

Anonymous said...

Kenny, this was a very good post. I am not the most graceful when removing hooks so when it comes to not injuring what I don't want to keep I am open for good tips such as these.

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Rick - Thanks for the comments and nice things you said, I am glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping in!

Tony said...

Great tips, I could have used this over labor day!, My kids wouldn't let met return many, but some of the hooks of the ones we did return were a real chore to remove. We actually caught a fish that had a hook still in him, so the cutting the line seems like a good idea if all else fails.

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Tony, thanks for the drop in and glad you enjoyed the tips and the article! Next time you will be prepare for an easier way to remove hooks while you and your kids fish! I know hooks will dissolve as I have found half dissolved hooks in fish, inconvenience to the fish but I suppose it is better than death to the fish!

Paul Steeve said...

Awesome post! I think it is also the responsibility of the angler to know something about the species of fish they are catching and how much they can handle for a safe release. Catfish, for example, are resilient--trout, on the otherhand, are very frail and require a lot more care.

Kenny Breckenridge said...

Paul, excellent point, glad you brought it up! I am sure there are more good tips on this subject, thanks for your input and thanks for stopping by!

acoustic guitar lessons said...

I am not the most graceful when removing hooks so when it comes to not injuring what I don't want to keep. I always read to learn these tips. Its a great post.