how to take a fish off the hook

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Have you just caught hold of a fish and now thinking of how to take a fish off the hook? Well, it is a critical situation, after all, you will have to let go of the fish without killing her especially when you are practicing catching and releasing fish. However, if you are fishing just to kill and eat it, then you can simply remove the hook without bothering about the life of fish. Removing fish without hurting her is a big task to do, and to accomplish it successfully one needs to have sufficient ingredients and follow some steps all of it which has been mentioned below.

1. Barbless circle hook should be used for fishing, especially when you want to hook off the fish without killing it.

2. Long-nosed pliers or scissors.

3. Disgorger

#2, Steps to Take Fish off the Hook Without Hurting Her

Following steps shall help you take off the fish from hook;

1. Reeling in a Fish:

 Reel the fish unless you are in good position to grab it with your hand. Now place your index finger under fish’s chin which prevents it from flopping around. This position shall not let the fish to escape in any way. Place the fish in the fine-meshed net which has some bit of water retained in it. This will keep the fish calm and shall enable you remove hook from the fish.

2. Unhooking a Fish:

 Pull the hook efficiently out of fish’s lip. Make sure that you don’t tear of fish’s lip during this process. Take your own time, and pull hook the same way it went inside fish’s mouth.

  a. Remove the hook which fish has swallowed. This situation must be handled basis what you want to do with the fish, i.e. eat it, release it or keep it alive for some reason. The reason shall decide fate of the fish, and also the way you are going to take off its hook.

 b. If you are planning to eat the fish, make sure to remove the hook when you gut it. however if you are throwing it back into the water or keeping it alive make sure to cut a small piece of flesh and remove the hook.

 c. If in case you are finding it difficult to remove the hook, it is better to leave it rather than ripping it off her. After all this can impact her and decrease her chances of survival. Considering this, it is important for the fisher to get well versed with fishing and unhooking it.

d. Make use of pliers or scissors for reaching into fish’s mouth. This will help you take out the hook without posing your finger to threat. However, if in case fish does not have sharp teeth you can use your fingers itself to take out the hook.

e. If hook is deep inside fish’s mouth, it is better to use disgorger for the purpose. This tool is specifically made of plastic or metal such that it can be conveniently used on small fish. To efficiently use it, slip end over tight line and slide it down to bend the hook.

#3. Releasing the Fish:

 If you have done fishing with an intention of releasing it, then the best thing to do is remove the hook from your catch and throw it back into the water. Well at the time of removing hook, it is important to ensure that you be extra cautious and don’t cause any harm to fish’s mouth or gill. After all a slight cut may cause it to bleed and it shall become prey of other fishes.

  a. Once you have unhooked the fish make sure to release it at the place you caught it. Also give it enough time to swim before you plan to catch it again. Leaving the fish to safe spot is important, such that it gets good time to recover.

 b. Pulling the line to free hook is a complete no, it can damage the fish. Jerking can hurt flesh of the fish and also make deep lacerations. It is important to carry out the unhooking process wisely.

c. While fish is in your grasp make sure to handle it with care. If you wish to touch it, keep your hands wet. Fish scales and slime might get stuck to your hands especially when they are dry. This might make her survival difficult in the water.

d. Removal of hook from fish can be made easier provided you do something to calm and pacify her. It is advisable to hold fish belly up such that fish get disoriented for few seconds. This is surely going to pacify the fish and give you enough time to remove the hook and release it in water.

#4. Time to Slip Fish Into the Water:

Don’t ever throw the fish into water. If in case fish is thrown with force into the water, it might land up on the surface and be stunned or killed with the impact. The right process is to hold fish firmly in both the hands and bring it close to the water’s edge. Usually fish will naturally swim away in the water, however if it doesn’t gently move it back and out of the water. This is going to help fish get fresh doze of oxygen and move its gills within the water.


Video: How to take a fish off the hook

Video Credit: OhioDNR

We hope the content mentioned in the article was informative enough for you to learn how to take a fish off the hook? Following steps mentioned above appropriately shall undoubtedly make the unhooking task easier and doable like never before. If in case you have any questions regarding our article don’t forget to leave your question in the comments section.

If you liked our article do share it so that users across the world can have access to these steps and follow them at the time of fishing and releasing the fish back into the pond or for the aquarium.

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I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable outdoor experience. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing. To contact Davis, visit the contact page. and About Us.