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swallowed hooks

8/1/17 @ 7:33 AM
User since 5/18/15

While I was growing up and started my fishing hobby many years ago my fishing mentors always told me if I need to release a fish but it has swallowed the hook I can just cut the line and the fish will survive. Somehow fish have the ability to absorb this hook and it will be absorbed and dissolve. Now this is quite the story but being young I believed these fishermen. Now many years later I am telling this same story to my grandsons and I really do not know the truth and I believe I am just telling them a tall tale. Am I just blowing smoke or is there some truth to this story? I don't want the fish to just starve and eventually die so can anyone shed light on this subject?



8/17/17 @ 10:15 PM
Bob P.
User since 8/8/07

i've been pinching down the barbs on everything i throw for many years. i'm predominantly a C & R stream smallie chaser. It's saved many fish and myself from damage numerous times. Do i occasionally lose a fish because of it? i like to think it's more often poor technique(mainly hook sets) on my part. Barbs were originally designed to hold bait on a hook. So if you're throwing artificials and lose a few fish, what's the big deal? i know this much, i feel safer both for the fish and myself by going barbless. Not fun to get a crank bait hook stuck in your hand while out walking a stream with no one else around. Barbless to me just means safer fishing, and makes removing all types of hooks far easier, regardless of how they are hooked. Thanks.

Bob P.

8/17/17 @ 9:56 PM
User since 7/11/01

Had two catfish swallow a circle hook. Reached through full plate and easily came out.

8/15/17 @ 5:33 PM
User since 1/8/13
Years ago the metal quality of hooks was bad and they would rust out.  Today's hooks are better and may not rust out before the fish expires.

8/14/17 @ 9:45 PM
Annes Regret
MEMBER since 7/7/11
Depends on the hook IMO. When I fished for bass I used hooks that rusted. On a few rare occasions a few weeks later I'd catch the same bass and find my hook passing through the fishes anal gland without the barb. It did rust away for the most part. Barbless hooks would be a good option IMO.

8/14/17 @ 8:13 PM
User since 5/19/06
8/14/17 @ 7:06 PM
User since 3/26/15

I'm going to do what ulbian suggested and swallow a hook myself to see what happens. Wish me luck. 

8/13/17 @ 9:56 PM
User since 7/11/01

Caught a walleye Friday night.  Took my hook out and noticed there was a jig head down in the throat.  I did the through gills technique and the jig head easily broke off from the hook.  I was unable to retrieve the rest of the hook.  The fish appeared healthy and the hook had corroded enough to break from the jig head.  Was a 12" eye.  

8/13/17 @ 1:38 AM
MEMBER since 6/15/01

the old "tulip" hookouts work pretty darn good too, same as the forceps and thru the gill deal except you don't go near the gills... best for pannies and smaller game fish

8/12/17 @ 10:58 PM
User since 4/9/03
Deep hooked fish in my opinion are going to die. I don't hook many deep myself but it happens time to time with the kids fishing with a bobber off our dock. I've fished long enough and removed enough hooks to have idea how their survival rate will be. If they bleed significantly there is no chance. I'll admit to fracturing a law or two with the size limit couple times. I'll pay the fine vs having a fish die for nothing. I don't ever keep bass so couple that are going to die anyway figure might as well save them from few days of misery. 

8/12/17 @ 10:47 PM
User since 2/1/06

A lot of these studies that say its not fatal are just not long term studies, and when dealing with the subject, only long term studies can provide real answers....the long time studies I have read involving differrent species shows at best  80%, and often 100% mortality in most fish.

The problem is that a hook in the throat prevents the passage of food, or enough to sustain a fish....results are almost always that the fish will starve to death...healthy fish can take a long long time to starve.

With todays metal quality in hooks, there is no way they can dissolve before the fish succumbs.

BM12 has the answer, hooks can nearly always be removed with a needlenose or a forceps with the "through the gill" method.  Go in through the gills, pull the hook out to expose as much of it as possible, grab the base of the shank and twist.  No pulling or yanking, just a simple rotation of the tool.   I can't tell you how many fish I have saved with this method.  With practice its very fast and very easy.

Always get hose hooks out.

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