Unhooking

This forum will allow for articles, questions and answers on the best practices for releasing muskellunge.
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Jim tenHaaf
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Unhooking

Post by Jim tenHaaf » Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:09 pm

When the fish is in the net, do most of you reach down with the pliers and try to "snap" the hooks free, or grab the fish with one hand first? Personally, I use my 11" needle nose to grab the embedded hook, then sometimes grab the line with my free hand and move the lure where it needs to be to ease the process. I've seen many, many videos where guys will grab the fish's plate with one hand (barehanded), and pliers in the other. They lift the fish's head out of the water, and start wrenching. To me, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

Example of my last fish: Caught on a bucktail. One treble had 2 barbs in the corner of it's mouth, the other treble was on the top of it's snout. I tried a quick flick of the wrist first, but they didn't come free. I used my pliers to hold the hook shank that was in the corner of its mouth and cut the exposed barb. That barb was actually holding the muskies mouth shut a little. I then put my Baker hook spreader in to get to the point that was a little deeper in. As I did this, the other treble on the fish's snout popped free at the same time that I got the deeper hook out. 80% of the fish's head was in the water during this process. The rest of him fell into the water as I freed the lure from the net. Picked him up, on the bumpboard, and back into the water. The only time I actually touched the fish was when I picked him up to measure.

detroithardcore
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Post by detroithardcore » Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:06 pm

Jim-

It's so funny b/c I was thinking the exact same thing. I usually will not grab the fish until I lift him for a pic. I will sometimes have to use the mouth spreader to reach embedded hooks and use one hand on mouth spreader and other with pliers. My last fish my little brother caught I was able to do this with my hands underwater, keeping the fish underwater in the net. He was very calm and I could see very well so it was easy but that's only one fish and the next one could be fiesty. I see guys grab the fish by the gill plate with one hand, raise them up out of the water and use pliers to dehook. This could be a problem if your having a hard time getting hooks out and fish is out of water for awhile. It's a very good question and wonder what everyone think works best. I really think it's all depending on the way every fish is hooked since every hook up could be different. Good question! Experts thought?
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Esoxonthefly
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Post by Esoxonthefly » Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:42 pm

This is why I spent the time to grind down all the barbs on all my hooks with a Dremel tool. This way unhooking should go very swiftly and the fish will be back in the water.

edalz
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Post by edalz » Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:12 pm

Esoxonthefly wrote:This is why I spent the time to grind down all the barbs on all my hooks with a Dremel tool. This way unhooking should go very swiftly and the fish will be back in the water.
I know the theory that if you apply the proper pressure and technique that you will not lose any fish with barbless hooks but is this true? Do you feel like you have lost any fish because of this? I have been thinking of doing the same thing and would rather lose a fish than kill or severly injure one but I am on the fence. What do you guys think? (Jim, if I am hijacking your thread I apologize and I can post this seperately.
"I wish ignorance was painful".

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Esoxonthefly
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Post by Esoxonthefly » Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:50 pm

I'll have to let you know if I lose any fish, haven't caught any this year. I really don't think it should be too much of a problem though, muskies pull hard and usually so you we during the fight.

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Jim tenHaaf
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Post by Jim tenHaaf » Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:42 pm

edalz wrote: Jim, if I am hijacking your thread I apologize and I can post this seperately.

Nope! Still sounds like we're talking about unhooking! [smilie=biggrin.gif]



edalz wrote: I know the theory that if you apply the proper pressure and technique that you will not lose any fish with barbless hooks but is this true?
The only problem I forsee, is when the fish is coming at you, still thrashing. I've had it before where it felt like I had lost the fish, and was reeling like a madman to see if I still had it on. I've lost enough fish this year with barbs... If I have to cut a few hooks when they're hooked good, I'll cut 'em.

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Post by swanezy » Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:09 pm

once in the net, i look at what it does if it rolls i cut the line to un wrap the fish, this also depends on the lure if its a floating lure or not or if it sinks.

Then ill just unhook the hooks that come loose with ease otherwise i cut em. Then we take the fish out for a pic and put it into my cradle net after that and measure it. then release

fish usually out of water for 10 sec

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