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lknbassman

Improving fish survival of deep hooked fish

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Guys, just a little FYI in case you run in to this problem. I have been catching my share of bass lately on soft plastics rigged wacky style with small size 1 or 2 straight shank or wide gap finesse hooks and when the bite is really on like it is now find myself dealing with some deeply hooked fish. I'm pretty good at setting the hook at the right time and hooking them in the jaw but this happens to us all and right now they are just inhaling these baits really fast and by the time of the hookset, they are already nearly swallowed.

I had one yesterday that was really bad, she had bit a 7" TX rigged worm on a 2/0 straight shank hook and darn near swallowed the whole thing. I'm thinking I'm really glad I bought and brought long nosed wire cutters (not needle nose pliers) but actually wire/hook cutters for this purpose with me.

I reached in with the cutters, cut the hook in to two pieces as there was NO getting it out any other way. Backed the eyelet and shank out along with the worm and then went back in with the needle nose pliers and simply pulled the barb end on around and out with no damage to the tissue in the mouth of the fish/gullet.

I'm convinced this fish would have died had I tried to get that hook out any other way and I don't think that cutting the line and leaving the hook in there improves their chances that much although it's better than trying to extract it forcefully.

The $10 I spent on these hook cutters was worth it all day as I released that fish and she swam back to where she came from slightly sore I'm sure but fully capable of surviving and reproducing as well as giving me another good fight again on another day.

Get some for when you have deep hooking issues. The pair I have are a crimper/cutter combo and can cut a 6/0 hook in a second if need be. I got mine at Bass Pro but any place that sells tools shold have them as they are not unique to fishing. Yeah you lose a hook but who cares, you save a fish. :)

pliers.jpg

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Very good suggestion, but learning this technique would be better:

http://www.in-fisherman.com/magazine/articles/if2806_HookRemoval/

8-)

Yup, good suggestion indeed. Never seen that before. I'd think it'd work on bigger fish for sure and certainly with larger sized hooks. For a novice angler with a medium or smaller sized fish and the stress of worrying over killing the fish, mine might be worth a try for time and fish damage reasons. I have doubts that the technique in the article would be very effective on a 1/0 or 2/0 wide gap finesse deeply hooked fish such as commonly used in wacky rigged soft plastics such as senkos, etc. I'd think that approach might stress both the fish and the angler more than need be.

I got the hook cut and the barb out in about 15 seconds and had her back in the water pronto. Both are good techniques I'm sure. I'd rather lose the hook and get her back in there vs. trying to figure the other technique out and risk damaging the fish.

The In fisherman guys know their stuff, that's for sure. Probably a cinch for a 6/0 shiner hook like they were using in the article.  Get you some wire cutters just in case.  You'll wish you had them when you need them if the other approach doesn't work.  Killing a fish for no good reason isn't OK.

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RW is correct. I have been using this technique for probably 4-5 years and cannot remember having any issues. it is a little harder on dinks but still can be accomplished with a little patience. Once you have done it a  couple of times it becomes very easy and quick, even on 1/0 and 2/0  size hooks

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Good idea!

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Can you post a link to the pair you bought a bass pros?

Sure can.  Here you go.  Pick which way you want to go but be ready with both so the fish come out of the ordel OK.  That's the goal right guys?  

Here's the BPS direct link:

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10151&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&partNumber=52277&hvarTarget=search&cmCat=SearchResults

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The extraction method posted by RW is probably the best way to remove the hook from a "gut-hooked" fish.

However, this is not a very common incident, but between gullet-hooked bass the diagonal cutting-pliers pictured by LKN

may be used many times over. That is, for hooks lodged in the roof of the mouth, in the corner gristle, deep in the tongue, etcetera.

In my opinion, every fishing boat should carry at least one pair of cutting pliers. BTW: opt for the thinnest pair available.

It seems that the older I get the more sympathetic I become, something to do with mortality I suppose.

When unhooking a bass, after about a half minute has elapsed I begin to have increasing pangs of guilt.

Unfortunately, the combination of Gamakatsu EWG hooks and braided line often results in a hook that's real tough to disgorge.

During the unhooking process, if my sympathy needle runs off the meter I'll just reach for the diagonal cutting-pliers.

I'll cut the hook just behind the point to eliminate the point and barb from the equation.

If the point is not exposed, just push the hook until the point emerges through the flesh (as you would if you accidentally hooked yourself).

Once you can fit the diagonal cutters between the hook-barb and the flesh, there's enough exposed point.

As soon as the shank is snipped, the hook may be readily extracted  8-)

Roger

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I never launch my boat without offset sidecutters. They are a little more money than the 1st pic. but the offset lets you see what you are cutting and it's possible to cut more hook out. Please give them a try.

Garnet

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Good to see others see the value in having more than one go to approach just in case things don't go that smoothly or take too long.  

The variations of other deep or unusually hooked fish situations outlined by Rolo make me even more glad that I have them and that I posted this for others to see.  If I run one into my own body (and hopefully I won't ever) I'll do the same thing, cut it off and push the barb end through to reduce the damage.  You'd be real glad you had them in that situation now wouldn't you?

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If they get it in that deep... leave the hook in and it will rust out....

It's much better I feel than trying to remove the hook....

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I never launch my boat without offset sidecutters. They are a little more money than the 1st pic. but the offset lets you see what you are cutting and it's possible to cut more hook out. Please give them a try.

Garnet

x2

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Modern hooks take forever to rust out of a fish in freshwater. If you do leave a hook in though, best technique is to leave about 15"-18" of line attached to that hook to help levergae it down against the throat when the bass later tries to eat. Ralph Manns wrote a good article on this that can be found on the net, probably on this site.

The suggestions above about cutting and removal techniques are all very good methods. Reality is that despite our best efforts, the newest studies out still show that nearly 1/3 if not more of all bass that are "gut hooked" or hooked down in the esophagus will end up dieing, usually in a matter of several hours. The point has to go somewhere once it punctures the soft tissue back in a bass' throat, and unfortunately there are lots of vital organs (heart, liver, brain) just on the other side of the esophagus that get damaged ultimately leading to death.

Still better to try though as at least half or more will make it with good technique. Think glass half full 8-)

-T9

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