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Fish Chris

Gill Hooking Fish....

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Don't you hate it when this happens ? Pretty common with crank baits.

This subject is fresh in my mind, as the 1 fish I might have otherwise took photos of, on my last trip, was a beautiful 5 lb'ish Smallmouth, that I gill hooked, and it was bleeding gallons :( It was a tiny hook too, which came right out, quickly, and easily, with no further damage > a size 4 (not a 4/0) which I often use for live lining crawlers.

Anyway, I released it immediately to give it the max chance for survival.

Now, you might be thinking (and had you seen it, you would definitely be thinking) that fish has zero chance after losing all that blood anyway. I know I might tend to think so myself.

But here's a weird and interesting story;

About 10 years ago, a buddy and I were fishing for bass at Clear Lk. Ca. I was using live crawdads (which I almost never injure bass with) and my buddy was using a plastic lizard. So he hooks this nice 5 lb'ish bass. Not a deep hook up... but rather, the dreaded gill hooking. It bled stupid amounts.... like more blood than you would think it had in it ! So, he quickly releases it, and as it swims away, we could just see this billowing red trail behind it :( My buddy felt terrible about it. Oh well. ##it happens, right ?

So, about 1 week later, my same buddy and I are back at Clear Lk. fishing in the exact same spot, when my buddy sticks a very nice 5 lb'ish bass {right in the top lip too, BTW}. As he lips it, he's like, "Dude ! Look at the chunk out of this fishes fin... and it's general coloration... and size.... This is that same fish that I gill hooked, that bled 5 gallons" !!! No freaking way ! Neither of us could believe it had survived... I mean with "no blood left" ? How does that happen ?

So, he goes to release it, and it starts trying to go belly up. So we are thinking, come on now, it didn't lose a drop of blood this time... a quick landing, and gentle release... what could be easier ?

But I'll be darned if, in spite of my buddies best efforts to revive it, that thing didn't flat belly up and die !

Okay, so losing 3/4's of its blood a week earlier probably had weakened it....

But the $10K question is; "Would that fish have survived long term, if he had not stuck it again a week later" ?

Hmmmmm. I've always tripped on that.

But anyway, I guess my final thought is, a seriously injured fish which is released does have some chance for survival, vs. a fish which is kept, and obviously has zero chance for survival.

Your thoughts ?

Peace,

Fish

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My thoughts? Quick release gives the fish MAXIMUM chances at survival.

Catch and release fishing is a sport the evolved from hunting for food. It's not perfect.

All I can add, is I hate the dreaded tongue piercing as much as the gill hooking. The tongue job is another almost always deadly injury if you hit that one artery.

Great post, Chris!

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I have gill hooked a few fish in my life. None of them were bleeding like you said though chris. If I see them gill hooked or hooked in a bad place. I will do one of two options I know of. I will cut the line and leave the hook if possible. If not I will just cut the hook as close to the gill or throat.

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Thank you JF.

I hear you tiptruck, but in this case, the tiny hook practically fell right out, and their was no visible damage ?

On even rarer occasions, I've hooked a fish in the roof of the mouth, or the lip, and had it bleed from the gills ? Maybe the hook ripped past the gills, and nicked or cut them, before lodging in the lip ? Either way, when I see a fish is bleeding, I try to get it back in the water that much faster. Also, it might make me decide a photo isn't worth it....

Hmmm...

Fish

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I hate this! I had the healthiest largemouth I've ever caught just a football INHALE a one minus just the other day and she was bleeding dark red blood. I've become more accepting of this now it's all in the game and if you've never lost a fish you don't fish much.... Sucks to see but it happens to everyone.

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I thought I had this happen to a 7lber yesterday not bad amounts of blood but there was blood all over this fish and myself. After rinsing her off for a quick photo and measurement I noticed it was myself who was gushing blood in all the exitement I stuck the spinner past the barb into my thumb and was dripping blood all over the fish. But I have had a few gill hooks mine are more common on smallies taking rattle traps or larger cranks

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My thoughts? Quick release gives the fish MAXIMUM chances at survival.

Catch and release fishing is a sport the evolved from hunting for food. It's not perfect.

All I can add, is I hate the dreaded tongue piercing as much as the gill hooking. The tongue job is another almost always deadly injury if you hit that one artery.

Great post, Chris!

I have never had a fish survive with a toungue piercing.

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Another one I hate is when the hook penetrates the upper lip and comes out in or near the eye. It takes some careful surgery to get those out.

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Interestingly, as I was leaving work today, one of the girls I work with, was showing off her new tongue piercing. Apparently she's doing okay though :) LOL

Fish

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I'd have administered Mtn. Dew. :lol:

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The 7lber that I have on my wall inhaled a little 4F Fat A crankbait and was gillhooked and not going to make it. It was probably close to 100 degrees out and she was belly up floundering on the surface even after several minutes of trying to revive her. The pond I caught her out of was loaded with big snapping turtles and I wasn't about to watch the turtles eat such a nice fish. That is about the only situation I could ever see myself getting a skin mount of a fish. In my mind it's worth spending the extra money for a replica to keep the fish alive.

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I'd have administered Mtn. Dew. :lol:

Supposedly this suppose to work! ;)

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ive hooked several fish through the gills before but never experienced heavy bleeding from the fish. yesterday though i did have to remove hooks from bass hooked in the throat using night crawlers, 3 i caught and 1 my bro in law hooked. in the process i showed him the through the gills method, hooks popped right out every time. he was surprised to learn that after telling me to cut the line haha...

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Supposedly this suppose to work! ;)

I was talking about Fish Chris' tongue pierced lady, LOL. :lol:

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The next time you have a bleeding fish, notice what happens when a drop of blood hits the water. It instantly clots. I noticed this a couple of years ago. I have twice caught the same fish that had severe damage to its gills. One of the gills was severed near the head, and actually trailed out between the gill plate and the body. The gill itself was white. The other gills were bright red. I caught this same fish two weeks later, hanging out by the same rock where I first caught it.

I cannot comment on the Mountain Dew therapy, but I know that in the air blood that is running profusely clots instantly upon hitting the water.

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The next time you have a bleeding fish, notice what happens when a drop of blood hits the water. It instantly clots. I noticed this a couple of years ago. I have twice caught the same fish that had severe damage to its gills. One of the gills was severed near the head, and actually trailed out between the gill plate and the body. The gill itself was white. The other gills were bright red. I caught this same fish two weeks later, hanging out by the same rock where I first caught it.

I cannot comment on the Mountain Dew therapy, but I know that in the air blood that is running profusely clots instantly upon hitting the water.

Interesting

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Releasing a gill hooked bleeding bass as soon as possible helps the survival rate, however does not insure it will survive. Stress kills bass faster than bleeding alone, however bleeding adds stress. Bass that are over stressed from being caught, placed in a livewell that may also increase the stress levels due to different water temps and low DO levels. Lot of factors to consider.

Paul Elias used Sure-Life Catch & Release in his livewells and added Please Release Me directly onto bleeding gills when some of his 132.8 lb record catch had gill damage from crank baits. Please Release Me formula stops bleeding without harming the bass and is a good choice.

Tom

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I try to put it into perspective whenever I unintentionally kill a fish. While it sucks, it is not really detrimental to the sport.

With our man made ponds, lakes and impoundments, and our catch and release practices over the decades, we have built up a far greater bass population than we could have imagined fifty years ago. Billions of bass nationwide exist where they didn't years ago, and billions more exist and live in places where before they were caught and eaten. A small amount of gill hooked fish does not put the tiniest dent in the bass population. (And neither does keeping a limit now and again to eat...)

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I hate this! I had the healthiest largemouth I've ever caught just a football INHALE a one minus just the other day and she was bleeding dark red blood. I've become more accepting of this now it's all in the game and if you've never lost a fish you don't fish much.... Sucks to see but it happens to everyone.

Ironically, we caught the SAME fish a couple days later, gill hanging out. It looked fine. We also found the crank that we cut off.

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I gill hooked a fish a while back. Asked around for suggestions and was told to poor Sprite on it by several people. So I bought a case. Gill hooked another 2 weeks after initial fish, poured the Sprite and the bleeding stopped INSTANTLY. I was shocked, but now I would recommend everyone carry an emergency can of sprite for such occasions. Pour some on the injury and drink the rest.

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