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Guest ouachitabassangler

That's probably illegal where you are. No enforcement official I know would give anyone a pass on that. I'm close friends with most of them here, but I doubt a pair of them would let me go. One might give me a break but there would be a loss of respect towards me. An abuser could say all 10 of those non-keepers were too far gone to release. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to fake that, ripping each bass a little extra with a hook. There are plenty of folks who would do that to bring in a limit for the table. Dedicated meat hunters. All mine go right back in the lake. They just get recycled in the web of life & death.

Jim

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What do you do with a non-keeper size bass that has been hooked badly and is dying?

In our case we kept it...

You release it because it's illegal to keep short fish. It's unfortunate, but not illegal, to accidentally injure it badly because of it being badly hooked.

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Agreed.

It's unfortunate, but toss it back. That's a part of the ecosystem that will be recycled. It's illegal...period.

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Guest bigtex

In a public lake---throw it back due to legal aspects

In a private pond/lake----keep it and eat it.....that is, if you like to eat bass.

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You never know..that "dying" fish may just make it, too.  In every situation except a private pond that YOU own or are given free reign on....throw it back.

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Just eat it raw

HAHA. i like the capt's idea. in fact, wait till a game warden comes around, honk at him, and just bite the head off and laugh hysterically.

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Drop it back into the water and keep an eye on it.  This happened to me the other day with a sub-legal fish.  It  ended up on its side and lifeless.  I kept staring back at it and feeling bad until a huge Bald eagle came and made lunch out of it.  That is the fourth time in my life I have seen an eagle nab a fish out of a lake or river (although that particular one was kinda like lobbing a softball to him ;D )  

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captgene, lol ;D ;D ;D

just take a nice big bite out of it! ;)

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Yes Sirs...  I will hopefully not have any more badly hooked fish but if I do, I'll be sure to feed the eagles. =)  I'm not too fond of eating fish with exceptions of catfish.  We catch and release... and I get nagged all the time by my dad that I ALWAYS go fishing and show him pictures but I never bring him home a fish.

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Bass are pretty tough, they can take some punishment from a hook.  The problem is, people do not like to cut the bait off and let the fish try to make it with the lure in it's mouth but bass can make it those cases.  When you try to save a hook that is gut hooked in a fish, chances are it will not make it.  

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Its a shame about that, but the way I see it, the law is the law.  Up here in NY, the DEC is an absolute tight-wad about legal sizes.  When I was a commercial fisherman, the boat docked next to us brought in some under sized fluke (summer flounder).  The warden just happened to be down at the dock and asked to see their catch.  When he started measuring fish we all knew the boat was in trouble.  The warden made a couple of measurments, found some shorts, called up the office, and within an hour the boat was chained to the dock and they were fined an outrageous amount of money (not sure how much, but I know it was in the 5 digit range).  That boat stayed chained to the dock for the next 6 months, the captain lost his job, and the deck hands all found new berths on other boats.

The short fish they brought in were probably worth less than $500, but ended up costing much, much more for all involved.  Moral?  Don't keep short fish.

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Yep. I agree with everyone else here. It's the law my friend. Gotta put 'em back...dying or not. Like Bigtex said, the only way I ever keep 'em is if I am fishing family owned waters.

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I agree with most everyone, that releasing it is the only thing to do.  As bad as you feel for potentially "killing" a fish, it won't be nearly as bad as you will feel when the game warden tickets you and possibly takes your gear for illegally taking a fish.   :'(

There is a post on this forum somewhere, that has a great illustrated way to remove a gut hook, and if that is not an option, just cut as much of the hook out and hope for the best.  

Maybe someone can post a link to the thread that shows how to remove a gut hook, it has worked almost every time I have ever needed to use it, and the times it didn't, I was able to push the hook through enough to cut off the barb and pull the hook out.

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Best way to save a gut hooked fish is to bend the barb down on the hook or grind it off, then you can slip the hook out with a dehooker stick or go through the gill opening and the hook will slip out with very little damage to the fish. The main thing is to get the fish back into the water as fast as possible. A wound in a fish plus lack of oxygen just decreases the chance of the fish living.

Leaving the hook in a fish is pretty much old school of thought now a days because of infections in the wound of the fish that can be spread to other fish as it slowly dies. If you ever had a splinter in your hand and did not remove it as it became infected , you have a pretty good idea what can happen to a fish with the hook left in. The warmer the water , the more likely infections are to happen.

If there is a question with a legal fish living just put it in the live well for an hour and watch to see if it is ok then release it. You will be suprised how many fish look ok at first only to die an hour later.

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Guest the_muddy_man

If you are up north say this three times and release it

HERE MUSKY MUSKY!!!!!!!

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A few weeks ago I was bank fishing at my local lake and snagged on some line that was in a weed bed.  I was able to grab the line and began pulling it in and was surprised to find a 10" fish on the other end.  He had swallowed a small crappie jig and his belly was really sunken in.  I cut the line and tried to remove the jig, but it was buried deep so I dropped him back in.  He floated on his side for about 45 minutes but kept flaring his gills and then did swim off.  Don't know if he survived in the long haul, but he was pretty resilient.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

For a long time we could just get "close" to minimum size and keep bare keepers. I got checked a few times with some technically 1/4" short, with no consequences. But now they are very strict, pinching tail to a point and closing lips, and it had better be long enough.

Jim

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