How to Remove Fishing Hooks

How to Remove Fishing Hooks
The anglers who catch and release their fish need to take the hook from the fish's mouth as quickly and carefully as possible. This reduces the stress on the fish and leads to higher percentages of fish that survive their ordeal. Anglers have specific tools at their disposal for these procedures that make most hook removals simple.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • wet cloth needle-nosed pliers pistol-grip hook remover line clippers
  • wet cloth
  • needle-nosed pliers
  • pistol-grip hook remover
  • line clippers
 
Step 1
Grip the fish after thoroughly wetting your hands. Use a wet cloth or wet gloves if you desire.
Step 2
Remove a fish hooked in the corner of its mouth by grabbing the upper part of the hook called the shank. Push it away from the corner of the mouth as you grip the fish by its head. Use needle-nosed pliers if the hook lodges in hard cartilage and seems tough to remove. Grab the hook as close to its point as possible and pull it away from the fish's mouth with a quick motion. Try to keep the head of the fish still during this procedure to keep from injuring it.
Step 3
Keep larger fish in the water as long as you can when trying to remove a hook. By keeping the fish in the water, you increase its chances of survival. Avoid scraping away any scales or slime from the fish's body. The scales and their coating of slime protect the fish from disease.
Step 4
Lay a large fish on a dampened cloth or towel if you must remove it from the water to extract the hook. Never hold a large fish by its belly. This can result in serious organ damage that will eventually kill the fish.
Step 5
Use a pistol-grip hook remover to extract hooks in the throats of fish. Grasp the hook close to the point with the tool and push downwards to force the hook free. Do not attempt this if the fish seems to have swallowed the hook. Use a jaw spreader to keep the mouth open on larger toothy fish such as pike and muskellunge.
Step 6
Snip the fishing line from a swallowed hook as close as you can to the hook's eye. Attempting to pull a hook out no matter how careful you are will kill the fish the majority of the time. Fish such as yellow perch and pumpkinseed often swallow the hook. The fish can survive with a hook in its mouth. Use line clippers for this purpose.
Step 7
Grab treble hooks with needle-nosed pliers firmly and work the hook free. Observe the hooks not in the mouth and avoid turning them so that they harm the fish. Once you have grabbed the hook firmly, pull it out forcefully, holding the fish around the base of its head to keep it still.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Anglers find that circle hooks rarely gut hook a fish, winding up typically in the corner of the fish's mouth and leading to an easy removal. Use long-shanked hooks for fish that have smallish mouths like crappie and bluegill to maneuver the hook free with less effort.
 
Anglers find that circle hooks rarely gut hook a fish, winding up typically in the corner of the fish's mouth and leading to an easy removal.
 
Use long-shanked hooks for fish that have smallish mouths like crappie and bluegill to maneuver the hook free with less effort.

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