Safe Hook Removal
Catch and Release Tips
- Land fish quickly
- Handle fish as little as possible and avoid holding with
dry hands to prevent removal of protective slime coating.
- Don't let fish bounce on the boat deck, carpet or on
shoreline rocks and gravel.
- When using a landing net, soft knotless nylon or rubber
nets are better that hard, knotted nylon.
- Grasp most species of fish by the lower jaw and keep
fish in the water if possible. Hold them vertically and
large fish with a hand under the belly.
- Grasp toothy fish across the back of the head, with
fingers and thumb holding gill plates closed. Watch out for
- If you must hold a fish by putting your hand through the
gill opening, avoid touching delicate gill filaments.
REMOVE HOOKS QUICKLY
- Don't keep a fish out of water longer than you can hold your
- Use long-nosed pliers or a de-hooking tool to remove deeply
embedded hooks. If this fails, cut the line a few inches above
the hook and leave it in the fish.
- If you are using bait or lures that are frequently swallowed and
deep hooking is likely to be a problem, use barbless hooks.
Unhooking your catch with barbless hooks is faster, easier and
healthier for the fish.
- Make your own hook remover.
IF YOU PLAN TO KEEP YOUR FISH
- In cool weather, keep fish on a stringer, in a fish basket or in
- When water temperatures are above 70 degrees, put fish directly
on ice to keep them fresh.
- If you use a livewell, fill it early in the day.
- Turn on the recirculating aerator to begin building oxygen
levels before you put fish in.
- Run aerators continuously. Fish in livewells use oxygen faster
than a timer-operated aerator can provide. If your
aerator must run on a timer, set it to run as frequently as
possible. Distribute fish between live well compartments.
- When water temperatures are above 80 degrees, recirculate water
continuously instead of pumping in hot lake
water. Add ice and salt. One eight-pound block of ice cools a
25-30 gallon livewell for about three hours. Adjust
the amount of ice according to the size of your livewell. Block
ice is preferred because it melts slower. Store extra
ice to use later in the day. Water frozen in plastic milk jugs
make this convenient.
- Add 1/3 cup of non-iodized salt for every five gallons of water.
Measure your livewell volume then pre-measure
salt. Keep it in zip-lock bags for use during the day.
- Twice a day, drain half of the livewell, refill with fresh water
and add half the required amount of ice and salt with
each water change.
- If your boat cannot recirculate water in the livewell, run the
flow-through aeration continuously.