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Favorite Tool to Unhook Deeply Hooked Fish

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I'm trying to figure out what would be the best tool to carry to remove the occasional really deep hook. I'm looking for something that is suitable for use in saltwater and works well for small fish like scup to larger fish like stripers and blues. I'm looking for something that is quick and efficient and also as gentle as possible on the fish. Is there something special that you carry and would recommend I look into?

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

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I carry a very long (4") needle nose pliers. Also file, not crush, barbs. If fish large enough I cut leader - reach in through gills (carefully) and remove hook through gills - again carefully. If gullet hooked - cut leader,

Herb

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Needle nose pliers, ARC dehooker, and a couple pair of Calcutta Stainless Steel Forceps.  The forceps work well for smaller fish.  On the prevention side, I crush barbs on lures and use circle hooks when bait fishing.


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riverRock


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Herb, I have been doing pretty much what you are doing, except that I only crush my barbs. As I'm tying my flies, I crush the barbs and check the hooks for sharpness. This makes removing the hooks easier and less traumatic for the fish. The other reason that I do it is that I usually am fishing alone and if I manage to hook myself, I should be able to get the hook out one handed by myself with minimal damage.

 

sidelock, I'm interested in the" ketchum release". How does it do with something like the eyes on clouser minnows or the lip on a gurgler? It looks like this will work for many types of flies while the fish is still in the water without handling the fish and removing the protective slime coat. What has been your experience?

 

Fisheye, I like the simplicity of your idea. It reminds me of when I was a kid and would find the right sized stick, cut a small notch in the end and use that to reach deeply embedded hooks. If memory serves me right, that seemed to work well. Today it seems like I'm not interested in such a simple design unless it is constructed of the latest carbon fibers or titanium and costs more than a good book!

 

Ideally, what I am looking for is something that I can release the fish with while it is still in the water without touching it to preserve it's slime coat. It should work with all designs of flies and work on both shallow and deeply embedded hooks. It should be able to be used on fish with relatively small mouths to fish with lots of sharp teeth. ....It's Christmas!...We can all dream big at Christmas, right?

 

I'm also looking at the "Unhookum", the "ARC Dehooker", the "Rapala Long Reach", and the "Baker's Tools Hookout". Some of these seem like they would work in many situations, but not all. Anyone else have a favorite tool or method of releasing fish that you would like to share?

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

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Long surgical forceps work great for flies. Really long nose pliers are way too weak. Notice the placement of the fulcrum on the forceps and the pliers. You get lots more holding power with the forceps. (Remember the "Laws of the Lever? I don't remember which one of the laws applies to these pliers.") These forceps are readily available in lots of sizes.

 

The screw in the end of the dowel can work great too. My first disgorger was a popscicle stick with a V notch filed in the end. The one I have today is made of stainless steel flat bar with a little deeper notch.

 

Paying a bunch for "Yuppie" gagets is sort of like saying "Mine is longer than yours."

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This is the best hook remover ever, mine is welded stainless steel and is just over 9 inches long. There is a little hook at the end and solid handle. Grab the hook bend with the little hook, hold the leader down to the side and pull up.......right out. You can make your own using this design easily. When I use to fish the party boats and off Block Is for cod, big yellow tail flounder and pollack. It is so easy to make and use.

1681731

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This is the best hook remover ever, mine is welded stainless steel and is just over 9 inches long. There is a little hook at the end and solid handle. Grab the hook bend with the little hook, hold the leader down to the side and pull up.......right out. You can make your own using this design easily. When I use to fish the party boats and off Block Is for cod, big yellow tail flounder and pollack. It is so easy to make and use.

1681731

 

There's one with a "S" bend at the end. For deep hooked fish, you're able to push down on the bend to pop the hook out. Can't find a picture though. And some shops have it with a wooden handle, so it floats it you drop it overboard.

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The fly you're using makes a difference. Crab flies get swallowed as the bass tries to mash the crab with the two toothy plates in the base of the throat where finfish patterns an occasional gill raker but 99% lip.

 

Gill hooked stripers - slacken the line and gently push the hook out the gill and cut the tippet. The fish will swim away unharmed. You're better off with a fresh knot anyway.

 

I have had zero flies (crab) taken in the throat since switching to circle hooks and that was before the southway filled in on Monomoy years ago.

 

I fish 100% barbless and have no issues landing the fish I hook. It's required by law in the pacific northwest marine salmon fishery and a striper is a piece of cake to land compared to a big fall coho salmon which can spin like a top and jump like a tarpon 5-10 times during the fight.

 

I do carry a stainless surgical forcep - but the last time I used it was to mash a store bought fly barb with the flat part near the hinge.

 

On a related topic - In British Columbia and possibly now in WA it is required by law that you carry a hook out and not touch a fish that is to be released, for survivability (not for deep hooking). The handling of a fish, deep hooked or lip hooked, is critical to it's survival.

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