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tipptruck1

Do fish lips heal?

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I have caught a lot of fish the last few weeks. I notcied that when I unhook them some times the fishes lip will rip. But will the hole heal or will be be like that for the rest of the fishes life?

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Actually they heal very fast, in 8-10 days the hole is gone.

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I know this is a little off topic but two weeks ago I was fishing off the dock and caught a dink about a year old and I don't know if a birth defect or what caused it but the whole upper lip of the fish was gone. I wish I had a camera with me so I could post a pic, It was the weirdist thing ever. :o

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Damage to the mouth of a bass -

Much of the damage will go to the grave with the fish. However, unless the damage is extremely severe it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on their ability to survive.

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What I do observe in southern waters is lots of hole in the bass sides that are puncture marks from birds of prey.    Commorants and such.    They also could be battle scars from being hooked in brush and yanked out, but majority look like they where attacked by sharp billed birds.

They always appear to be healed or healing nicely.

Matt.

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Damage to the mouth of a bass -

Much of the damage will go to the grave with the fish. However, unless the damage is extremely severe it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on their ability to survive.

Agree with GW on this as I've caught many Bass more than once and I have observed the holes months if not years later. Now, I'm talking about holes in the membrane(bloodless 'skin'?), not in the flesh of the Bass. When I take a pic of a Bass, I put it on a stringer clip(stainless steel) and back in the water so I can get the camera/tripod set up and to put my shirt on(in the summer). That clip and the Bass's attempts to pull off, make a fairly large hole in the lower jaw's membrane. I've reached down to 'lip' many a Bass and had my finger tip go though the hole under the jaw. In fact, I caught the same 6 lb Bass three different times over a period of 3-4 months. None seemed the worse for the wear btw.

second time caught

third time caught

D/k what happened to the first pic and now I'm sorry I didn't zoom in on the hole.

Dan

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Damage to the mouth of a bass -

Much of the damage will go to the grave with the fish. However, unless the damage is extremely severe it doesn't seem to have much of an effect on their ability to survive.

To add to George 's post, about a year ago while fishing at Lake Los Reyes I caught a fish with a very severe mouth deformation, the only thing that could have caused the initial damage was the fish being caught and released or caught and gotten away ripping part of the mouth, the damage was big considering that the mouth could not open well, only halfways. The fish was fat and healthy.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Quite a number of large bass caught on lures have been retained alive for nursery use, kept a couple of years, then released. Of those released into some of our wetland projects, I never found one hole or sore on a mouth. Our hook holes do heal over, larger tears taking more time. BTW, it doesn't pay to relocate those big nursery "volunteers". They don't adapt fast enough. It took going back to check on the progress of new impoundments to figure that out. Back in 1990 I took some I caught to my new farm pond to try stocking it on the cheap. They died within a year, but I never found a thing wrong with them, appearing to be perfect fish. They were just floating belly up, no scars from being hooked. I bought nursery stock the next year and got off to a good start, a great two section pond until I drained it due to tresspassers abusing the land with ATVs.

Someone might conclude they never heal, but the fish observed with holes might be chronic lure biters. Think how many bass you hook and lose, never knowing what condition the mouth is in.

Jim

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Maybe I am in the minority here, but I usually smash the barbs down on most of my lure's hooks so that I don't cause the bass too much damage when I unhook them. If I use a lure with a particularly large barbed hook I always smash the barb down.

If I'm fishing for keepers (eatin' fish) I have lures that I leave the barbs intact.

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What I do observe in southern waters is lots of hole in the bass sides that are puncture marks from birds of prey. Commorants and such. They also could be battle scars from being hooked in brush and yanked out, but majority look like they where attacked by sharp billed birds.

They always appear to be healed or healing nicely.

Matt.

Very similar to that are rip, puncture, and tear marks from snapping turtles.  :o

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Personally, the only damage/holes I ever see with the bass I catch in my small lake are those that have been made by being on a stringer. The punctures from hooks obviously heal up very well. In my earlier days of fishing, I used to string up all the good ones in order to get an impressive picture. However now days, we immediately weigh the big ones, get a pic, then promptly release them. The latter tactic takes up more room in the fishing photo album, but saves the bass from having an extra hole in its lip. Truthfully, we RARELY catch a bass with any hole at all in it's lip even though we have to presume many that we catch have been caught before.

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