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Removing the Hook


First, observe is how the fish is hooked. If the fish has swallowed the hook, the best thing to do is cut your line as close to the fish as possible without taking the fish out of the water. The fish has a much better chance of survival if you do this. The fish will likely digest a non-stainless steel hook in a week or two.


If the fish has not swallowed the hook, release should be easy. Leaving the fish in the water, use a pair of needlenose pliers to grab the shank of the hook and twist to remove the point from the mouth of the fish. This may take a little effort if the hook is barbed and the hook has penetrated deeply. Or use a dehooker.


Back the hook out the opposite way it went in.

For a larger fish in the water, slip a gaff around the leader and slide it to the hook. Lift the gaff upward while pulling downward on the leader.

Do not jerk or pop a leader to break it. This can injure vital organs in the fish.

Never pull a hook from the fish's throat or stomach. It is better to cut the line. Many hooks will rust away.

Other tips for removing the hook are below, under "Releasing Sharks."

There are several methods for hook removal - choose what works best for you according to the size of fish you release.

It is wise to practice using a dehooker before you fish. Insert the hook tied onto a line into a grapefruit or orange and practice sliding the dehooker down the line towards the hook, turning the hook upside-down and shaking off the fruit.


Drawing of how to use a simple dehooker:


Good comprehensive article about releasing and equipment, courtesy of Guy Harvey Magazine