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swallowed hooks

8/1/17 @ 7:33 AM
ORIGNAL POST
philibert
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?

Thanks,

Philbert. 

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8/8/17 @ 9:21 AM
nihsif
nihsif
MEMBER since 6/15/01

another thing to try if gkids or anyone is hooking pannies or whatever fish deeply, pinch down the barbs to make removal % higher/easier


8/8/17 @ 8:44 AM
philibert
User since 5/18/15

I want to thank everyone who has added their thoughts on this matter. I will try a few suggestions on hook size and tactics. At least now I can share different points of view to my grandsons on hook removal and not telling them some tall tale. Although I might tell them the one about the, Oh never mind that is for me and the boys. Thanks, Philbert. 

8/8/17 @ 1:15 AM
Ulbian
User since 9/24/03

Here's a simple experiment to do.  

Go to your tackle box and take out the smallest hook you have.  Swallow it yourself.  Then report the results back.  If it gave you some discomfort either going down or trying to pass it then I guess you can draw your own conclusions from there.

Remember, fish are not as big as humans are and our digestive tracts are different from theirs.  Hook and line angling has been around for just a blip on the grand timeline of things.  To say that fish have evolved over time to dissolve metal objects on their own is saying you don't grasp how evolution works.  Not every fish species in every body of water is going to be exposed to metal objects enough let alone swallowing enough of them to physiologically develop the means to consistently survive this sort of thing.  

The bottom line here is this...by leaving a hook inside of a fish (hooks stuck in corners of mouths are a slightly different topic) it now has an increased risk of delayed mortality.  If you can't get the hook out and toss it back it's safe to infer that somewhere down the line it'll be food for a scavenger.  If you keep it then you'll get your hook back.  

8/7/17 @ 4:41 PM
nihsif
nihsif
MEMBER since 6/15/01

if you are consistently hooking fish deep, you might want to change your setup or your timing ( example: we were catching a ton of smallmouth on a week long fishing trip, youngest son noticed that it seemed a lot of them were getting hooked deeper on wacky rigged worms, even tho we were using circle hooks... he played with hook sizes until he found out a bigger hook was a better alternative , we also made sure to set the hooks sooner, watching the line, etc.. and some of us changed to a texas rigged worm style...)

if it's a pannie, either keep it, or in a lake with a pannie size limit, well, the crabs and turtles need to eat too, save the hook

if it's a slow growth, low pop fish like a musky, worth the effort to try to extract the hook, unless you'll do more damage... then cut the line

fish are remarkably able to survive injuries, we've all seen them/caught them with pretty incredible prior injuries, and by nature, they are eating thing with sharp pointy fins or shells, etc...

while I understand wanting to do the right thing, this may get a little more play than needed... what percentage of fish you catch are deeply hooked...

8/7/17 @ 3:53 PM
BigMusky12
BigMusky12
User since 12/22/04

the best technique to remove a deep hooked fish is to cut the line, turn hook around with small forceps through gills so the point is fishing straight into gullet, and them remove straight out with another 2nd pair of pliers.  I like split rings so I can pull straight from bend.  

I really dont believe those articles that say a fish can survive with a hook in it that is bigger than a pan fish hook.    Sure it might live for a couple weeks, but I dont buy it after that.    


When gill fishing...I use long shank hooks that are super sharp because that greatly reduces amount of gut hooked fish and makes it alot easier to get out. 

8/1/17 @ 9:40 AM
prop-buster
prop-buster
User since 6/14/05

Is an interesting topic, one that we have discussed many a time. The area I fish quite often has a slot for walleyes so you catch a 14 3/4 in walleye (actually you catch a lot of them), it is just short and hooked pretty deep...ya look around and there are 20 eagles and 10 Osprey flying around just looking for a struggling fish. If you leave the hook in is that a problem for the birds of prey? Don't know the answer....just another thought on the subject....

8/1/17 @ 8:56 AM
lakeshiner
lakeshiner
User since 7/20/09

My issue is getting fish hooked in the gills, I figure those are going to die.  Well I don't figure, they just about always do. The ones that are bleeding as soon as you pull them from the water.  Those I keep if legal just to not let them go to waste.  Last weekend we had two 8" walleyes because of that.  Ridiculous to keep, but they were floating and it was an under 14" lake.

How hard you rip the fish probably matters too.  With braid I notice my hook sets tend to do more damage if hooked deep.  I forget sometimes that I don't need to set the hook as hard.  Using mono for so long its a habit.

8/1/17 @ 8:24 AM
BucketMouth123
BucketMouth123
User since 5/6/16

https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/fishing-lure-left-in-a-fishs-mouth/


Pretty good article. Gives one some comfort in leaving hooks in the mouth and just cutting the line.

8/1/17 @ 8:19 AM
the_dude
the_dude
User since 1/10/03

I've done a lot of reading on this topic, and there are countless studies.  I read one study on large mouth bass that had me convinced to try to remove deep hooks as their only chance to survive.  There are other studies that say the opposite.  This is from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website:

Hook wounds may appear minor to anglers, but damage to the gills, eyes, or internal organs can be fatal. If the fish is hooked deep in the throat or gut, research shows that it is best to cut the leader at the hook and leave the hook in the fish. Prolonged attempts to remove the hook often do more harm than good. In the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute's (FWRI)* study of release mortality in snook, 24 snook were deep hooked. We removed the hooks from 12 snook, and we left the hook intact and cut the leader in the other 12 snook. We found that four of the 12 deep-hooked snook died after the hooks were removed. None died when we simply cut the leader and left the hook alone. Fish are capable of rejecting, expelling, or encapsulating hooks. Encapsulation is a process whereby the fishes' healing process causes the hook to be covered with an inert matrix of calcified material; or a-cellular tissue. Steel and bronze hooks are less toxic and are rejected or "dissolved" sooner than are stainless steel and cadmium-plated or nickel-plated hooks.

I'm still not sure what the right answer is.  If legal to do so, I tend to keep deep hooked fish for the pan.  I don't typically keep fish, so for me keeping the few that get deep hooked allows me an occasional meal of fresh fish and takes mortality out of it.  If the fish is not legal to keep, I take it on a case by case basis.  If I can see the hook and have a good "path" for removal, I will do so.  If removal is at all questionable, I cut the line and release the fish.  Good luck.

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