Do you love big bluegill?
I think I'm getting pretty good at operating on what would likely be dying fish that have swallowed the hook. Do you guys have any favorite tools/techniques you use to save a little guy who swallowed your favorite tear drop, tube bait, jig, etc.? I'm talking like the 3-5 inchers that you'd normally throw back.
Regular hooks I could possibly get behind just leaving it in there to disintegrate, but that can get expensive with other kinds of hooks.
What do you guys do?
I carry a couple of things:
First, a good quality pair of "big finger" hemostats with a slightly curved profile. I got mine from the fly-fishing section. These are perfect for removeing hooks from small fish and stay clamped on my collar or jacket front where I can get to them.
Second, I have a pair of floating pliers. They are a needle nose type of configuration. The brand is X-tools but I think they went out of business, and Berkley is making something similar now. They are the BEST fishing pliers I have ever had. They are the right size, they float and the cutters snip mono, superlines and braid of any kind very close and neatly. They came with a belt holster that floats as well.
Between these two I can do whatever fish surgery I need to.
Keith, are the X-Tools pliers you're using like the ones in this eBay search?
You've got me thinking of getting a pair or two.
Unfortunately some of your fish will swallow the hook. I just use a pair of stainless steel needle nose pliers. But even then some of your fish will take it down to deep an then I'll have to add it to my creel.
I've tried everything from hemostats to needle-nose, and have gotten to the point that if a fish I want to release swallows the hook, I just cut the line. I've yet to see a floater after doing this, whereas I've seen many after wounding a fish trying to extract a swallowed hook. It's certainly possible some of them die, but I know they'll die if I get them bleeding trying to get the hook out, and the thin-wire hooks I use rust pretty easily so I'm hoping they rust out.
I set the hook pretty quickly when I get a bite, for this same reason, trying to keep them from swallowing the hook. Works most of the time.
Something worth considering is smashing down the hook's barb. This makes hook removal easier, and I find I don't miss many fish. I don't do it all the time, but it is an option.
As removal tool, I have a pair of forceps and a mini pliers handy.
David I do the samething, I find I dont miss too many fish. Makes things a lot easier.
I use a hemostat, something I started after I began fly fishing. That pliers Keith mentions sounds nice, I'm going to have to keep an eye out for one of those, too.
Those are exactly what I have, both the needle nose and the regular. Its a shame the company went out of business. Looks like there are quite a few on ebay and other auction sites for folks to snap up. I highly recomend them.
I have some small hemostats that are short enough to carry around in my pocket that I bought years ago at a tackle shop in Florida. The tip is very small and allows me to reach the bend of the hook inside even really small fish.
If the bend of the hook makes it down inside their throat, I just cut the line. I use hooks and small jigheads that I can buy in bulk, so it doesn't bother me to lose a few.
I use a 4in Curved Forcep for my fly fishing never had a problem getting my fly out from a little guy. If it's just too deep I'll just cut the line. It will come out eventually hook will fall out
Craig, curious to know what hook sizes and hook types you're using. I only have one incident that the gill accidentally swallowed the hook too deep to retrieve (gut hooked), while I was hunting for trout. #18 mosquito hook was not ideal for gill. However, I carry on my three different pliers, including a surgeon's slim 45° curve hemostat, 7" long, designed for deep surgical procedures. Works well 80% of the time dislodge and retrieving hooks lodged deep in the trout's and gill's mouth, yet small enough to fit into their mouth's opening without damaging them during usage, creating a 20% to 50% viewing angle during removal process.
However, as David indicated, crimp the barb from the hook for easy removal. All my hooks are barbless.
I'm mostly using size 10 hooks on different tear drops or jigs/flies.
I just recently picked up a pair of berkley hemostat/pliers and having a much easier time with their smaller profile long and skinny type shape. A curve does make some sense though. I'll keep my eyes peeled for a cheap small skinny curved version that will let me have a better view too.
Won't you lose some fish or bait by going barbless?
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