How to remove a hook from a fish stomach is a tip every conscientious angler hopes to master. No matter how strictly we adhere to catch and release fishing practices, on occasion a fish we intend to release swallows a fishing hook, which can result in serious harm to the fish when an attempt is made to extricate the hook. If you are certain the fish will die if you remove the hook and return it to the water, you may choose to keep the fish for consumption if keeping it does not break the law. Another option is to leave the hook as is and release the fish in hopes it will survive.
That being said, anglers can improve their success rate of successfully extricating a swallowed hook by adhering to a few simple practices:
- Do NOT pull on the line or hook harder than absolutely necessary – If the hook is deep in the throat or below, additional applied pressure will result in more damage to the fish.
- Cut the fishing line – Attempt to cut the fishing line as closely as you can to the fish hook as any additional fishing line could create problems.
- Quickly release your fish – Let the fish go right way if it is active and strong. When a fish is sluggish, you can attempt to slowly move it through the water to get water flowing over the fish’s gills. If this action revives the fish, immediately release it. If it remains extremely sluggish, you can place it in your live well with a chemical additive designed to revive a fish, and once it comes around, you can release it at that time.
How to remove a hook from a fish stomach takes practice. Whether or not a fish dies due to a hook in their stomach can depend on carefully utilizing the above techniques. Some fish with an ingested hook, such as Bass, are more likely to survive than others. The good news is that it is not uncommon for a fish to get the hook out all on their own and many fishermen find the hooks intact on the bottom of their live wells.
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