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I am sure all of us have seen this happen, but the other day I was out on a local pond here in Ashburn VA and I hooked a small Largemouth. Now being the greedy little thing it was, it swallowed the grub I was casting hook and everything. I had a very hard time trying to get the hook out without injuring the fish but ultimately I had to kind of tear into it and unhook. I saw that the fish was injured but if I cut the line at it's mouth it would have probably died, if I tore the hook out it would have died.

What do you guys usually do when a situation like this arises. Note that I'm pretty new to the whole fishing scene and clearly was worried.

Any input would be appreciated. Keep those lines tight and lips ripped :):)

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If the fish swam away he is probably fine or will end up a meal for a big fish lol. It happens. If he was keeper size I just fry em up when that happens or give em to someone.

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I have a pair of diagonal cutters on the boat so I can cut the hook after its eye, and sneak the hook out if its point is showing, If it isnt showing I cut the hook as close as I can and release it

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scroll down to the pictures Glenn posted and you will never harm another bass

 

 

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I do the best I can to remove the hook without injuring the bass.

If I can not I'll cut the hook

Sometimes they live, sometimes that don't!

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Caring for the resource is the best part....your proving this.  Enjoy your fishing....Tight Lines

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If I can't see the hook, I'll usually just cut the line and release without further harm. Glenn provides a good video for removing hooks deep in the mouth. Like Oregon said, caring for the resource proves ethics ...

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use the hook removal link above.  it works pretty much every time I have ever used it. Also, don't fret over killing a fish every now and then.  Its going to happen and does not make you a serial killer lol

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I caught a 15" largemouth that was chasing shad on the surface, and he had a 4/0 EWG hook in his gullet. There wasn't a speck of rust on the hook so it must have not been in there for very long, and he was already back at it with a belly full of shad.

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I actually killed my first fish the other day.  I was throwing a Ned up under an old bridge over a small stream and got a good strong hit.  I set the hook and this tiny 3-4" bluegill comes flying out of the water and slams into the rocks at my feet, dying instantly.  I felt pretty bad but I figure that the next raccoon or turtle that passes by will appreciate the snack. 

In general I always try to be respectful and avoid the temptation to fish spots where I have to drop a fish more then a foot or so back into the water and always retrieve any line or trash I find when I am out and about.   

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On 10/1/2005 at 0:01 AM, Glenn said:

1) With the hook in the gullet, note which side of the fish's mouth the hook shank is toward. Note: For illustration sake, the line is eliminated here in steps 2 through 5. In reality, the line stays connected as this technique is performed.

IFM2806_HookRemoval1.jpg

(2) With a finger or two, reach in through the last gill arch on that side of the fish and push and pull down on the hookeye so the hook turns and . . .

IFM2806_HookRemoval2.jpg

(3) rolls out below the gill toward the side of the fish. At that point, amazingly, the hook, barb and all, almost always pops free from its hold in the fish's gullet.

IFM2806_HookRemoval3.jpg

(4) Reach into the fish's mouth and grip the bend in the hook (which is now up) and . . .

IFM2806_HookRemoval4.jpg

     

(5) lift it free. If the fish's mouth is too small to reach in with your hand, use a needle-nose pliers to grip the hook bend.

IFM2806_HookRemoval5.jpg

What needs to be emphasized is how resilient a fish's gills actually are -- far from being the fragile organs often suggest by some sources. And the occasional bleeding fish? Does it have to be kept? Just get the fish back into the water as soon as possible and, more often than not, the bleeding stops.

The technique also works superbly on walleyes, smallmouths, and other fish, usually taken on smaller hooks, often salmon-style hooks.

everyone should know this

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The technique Red Bear posted above works better than most people imagine before they try it, and the bigger the bass, the easier it is.

If I do end up damaging a small fish to the point that it probably won't survive long, including bass under the legal limit (14" where I live) -- I don't worry too much, they will probably be eaten by something else sooner or later -- eagle, heron, otter, pike, musky or something.

If it's legal and definitely looks like it won't survive (which hasn't happened to me in quite a few years), I'll keep it to eat... and save a chicken instead.

And if after all that, I still feel bad about it....I'll make an extra small donation to the conservation effort of my choice as compensation. 

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Instead of needle nose pliers I use 8-12" hemostats, on smaller bass they give you a clearer veiw!

 

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If it is a keeper and I know it is going to die I usually try and keep them if I can, just so it doesn't die for nothing. I usually only have to do that if they swallowed a treble hook lure past the point of no return, or gills were torn. That hook removal technique posted above for single hook techniques is a game changer, unless a complete dink swallows it and it starts getting hard to maneuver the hook. 

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Do the best you can. But you cannot live in nature and not leave a footprint on it. Don't sweat it. If it died, it became a meal for other animals and organisms. If it didn't, great!

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Thank you so much for all your answers, opinions and input everyone. This is what I love about this community, there is something to learn every single day and everyone looks after each other.

I will definitely take all of your valuable information, keep it in mind and practice what I learned.

Again thank you so much for all your replies everyone.

Tight lines and ripped lips :):)

 

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4 hours ago, Catt said:

Instead of needle nose pliers I use 8-12" hemostats, on smaller bass they give you a clearer veiw!

 

I always carry them.

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If you fish, you will kill some fish. This is a blood sport. Relax.

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One thing I think that gets overlooked with unhooking gut hooked fish is that you need those hemostats or long reach pliers to be able to get under the gills of smaller fish and then reach and twist.  I first got some fancy expensive pair of pliers that were fat in the head that I thought were going to last forever, but trying to remove my first gut hook on what was a decent sized fish was difficult.  I don't even carry those pliers around anymore.

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