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Moral Question


Tys Flies
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Just wanted to find out from the club members what they do if a fish swallows the hook deep? On my fishing trip this last weekend (see Fishing Reports) I hooked a Grayling and he took it deep and I've read in the past that if this is the case that you should just cut the line and the hook will rot out. However, I thought it might be better to try and dig it out (for his sake and not wanting to lose the hook). Well I got the hook out but I don't think the fish made it as he floated belly up downstream after trying to revive him for 10 min. and probably ended up pike food. I feel terrible about this mostly because it was a grayling. Now I haven't kept a fish in over 10 years so is this one mortality no big deal? When deciding if your going to pull the hook or cut the line do you consider the species at hand? Say if its a grayling or athabasca rainbow compared to a whitefish is there a ranking order? In hindsight I should've just cut the line and gave him a better chance. Looking for your opinions.

 

TF,

Tyler

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I have a look to see where it's hooked if near or in the gills I bite it and cut the line if he's bleeding already 99 out of 100 chances he's toast so take the hook out; with barbless hooks it should be easy its the holding them steady that's tricky. If they're big enough for a lip lock grip I go for that and if they're tiddlers then sometimes turning them upside down helps but never squeeze hard or they will die too. Some fools hold fish by squeezing the gill covers hard but if you look at fish anatomy you'll see that the fish's heart is very near to the head and if you're careless the heart can be damaged never mind possible damage to the gills too. As far as ranking I don't see how that's possible; either I'm fishing for meat or it's C&R. I treat them all equally with respect.

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I have the same opinion as Wally - you're either fishing for meat or C&R. If he inhales your fly/lure that deep and you're C&R, cut the line and make the odds of surviving the encounter more favourable for the fish.

 

There are some very good surgical-like tools out there which can improve your hook removal technique and require less handling of the fish as well.

 

 

Mike

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I cut the line myself (for all species) if after attempts to remove the hook don't work, and or signs of bleeding and attempt to revive until you know it's a lost cause (uhm... belly up). Indeed, one can always tie up more flies or buy later. If the hook is barbless, it shoulda come out more easily though -- but sometimes they do take it deep. It happens, what can you do -- "Circle of Life" (a.k.a. Fish Food). Below pretty much sums up the established C&R guidelines or principles.

 

--

 

"Remove the hooks carefully.

 

If using barbless hooks and if the fish is lip hooked, this is a very simple process of simply allowing the water to support the fish, grasping the hook (with pliers if necessary) and then turning it to release the fish. No need to take the fish from the water here.

 

If the fish has obviously swallowed the bait right down, simply cut the line off as close to the mouth as possible and allow the fish to swim away. The fish will usually be able to get rid of the hook itself if it has no barb, or it will be dissolved. Never pull on the line of a gut hooked fish in an attempt to recover your hook, this will severely injure the fish and will probably kill it.

 

Where the fish has the hook in it mouth, gills or throat or it is otherwise visible, it can generally be removed by a pair of long nosed pliers or forceps. Since you are using a barbless hook (aren't you?), this is usually only a matter of backing the hook out of where it has become lodged and then removing it. If you can see the hook, but it will not come out, a pair of side cutter can be use to cut the hook, preferably in the bend. This will greatly assist the fish in getting rid of it itself.

 

If the hook has become lodged in the gills, the situation can be more complicated. If the fish is a legal angling species, is over the size limit and is bleeding from the gills, it is probably better to kill it humanely and keep it. If there is little or no apparent bleeding or the fish is a protected species or undersize, you can try to remove the hook, if this is possible without doing any more damage, but sometimes you are best to cut the hook with side cutters. As a last resort, simply cut the line as close to the hook as possible. When working around the gills, always take great care not to injure the delicate gill filaments."

 

http://www.nativefish.asn.au/cr.html

Edited by RangerBob
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That's a pretty good guide.

 

My rule - for anything but a lip of course....

 

If I can see the hook and point I'll try to remove it. If it's gilled I'll cut off, and if it's taken gut deep - I'll also cut it.

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Tyler:

One must always remember that catch and release fishing is not a zero sum game. Your efforts as an angler, regardless of the care you take in playing and releasing fish will ultimately result in some, albeit unquantifiable, mortality. What separates conservation minded fishers from others is the understanding and care with which we consider our impact.

 

Injured fish do not survive well. Any serious injury that results from hooking will reduce or eliminate a fish's chance of growing older. We should use angling methods that reduce the fish's chance of injury. That's why fly fishers don't use treble hooks, bait or jigging techniques. Once caught, the best we can do is be careful in handling a hooked fish. Limit the fighting time, handle gently with wet hands, remove all hooks you can safely reach, cut off those you can't and take time to help revive the fish.

 

All that said, it's a fact that death is a part of life. Some must die so that others, including future generations, may live. Fishing is one of the things that connects us to that fact of existience and is part of our heritage. So feel sad that a mistaken decision didn't have the optimal outcome for that particular fish. But don't forget the pike, birds and invertebrates that will live on the body of the fish.

 

The fact that you thought about your impact is a credit to your character and a model for all fly fishers.

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Thanks DR, that helps me feel a bit bitter. I understand what you are all saying and appreciate the advice. If it happens to me next time I think I'll go with my instincts and cut the line. He had swallowed it but wasn't bleeding yet so he probably would've made it. I think I should invest in a small pair of sidecutters. I had not even thought about cutting the hook off before, I only knew about cutting the line.

 

TF,

Tyler

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I think I should invest in a small pair of sidecutters. I had not even thought about cutting the hook off before, I only knew about cutting the line.

 

TF,

Tyler

Seems to me if ya can reach and cut the hook with side cutters wouldn't it be just as easy to back out a barbless hook???
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FW, sometimes things don't come out as easy as they went in. In the case of this fish yes I did get the hook out of its throat but that resulted in its demise. So rather then attempt to remove it I might have been bettter off cutting the line or just cutting the hook. I've hooked a few fish in the side before as well and the hooks didn't come out so easy, that I might have been better off just leaving the hook again or cutting it, rather then stressing the fish even further. Maybe Im doing something wrong when trying to remove them with my forceps. I always use barbless maybe I just haven't mastered the wrist action yet like some of you older guys :rolleyes: .

 

Cheers,

TF

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A quick peek will tell you if the fish is lip-hooked or if it's inside - if it's deep inside and not bleeding then nip the line and free the fish. Attempting to roll or twist a hook out from down past the tongue area requires handling the fish more, possibly doing more damage and increasing it's odds against surviving the encounter.

 

Losing a fly isn't such a bad thing compared to losing a resource, right?

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