No matter how good you are as an angler, a hook can get stuck inside a fish, especially if it swallows it. But don’t worry, you may not have to cut your line!
How do you remove a hook that a fish has swallowed?
- Find out where the hook is hooked. Try to determine how high the hook is in the fish’s throat. See if you need pliers (preferably long-nosed) or if you can do it by hand.
- Retrieve the hook. Carefully move the hook if the fish has not swallowed it. Use this method with care. If the barb on the hook gets caught somewhere, it will make the maneuver much more difficult. Instead, try flattening the barb with pliers to make it easier to remove the hook.
- Flattening the barb means crushing it against the shank of the hook so it can’t get caught inside the fish. If that doesn’t work, don’t give up on your hook by cutting the line.
- Get a pair of pliers. If the fish has swallowed the hook, you will need a pair of pliers. Fish have a diaphragm in the back of their throat that opens briefly and closes immediately when they swallow.
- Grab the hook. Insert the pliers into the fish’s mouth and grasp the tip of the hook. Be sure to give the line some slack, as the hook must move freely.
- Release the hook. Pass the hook through the fish, sliding it along its bend and try to get it out of its throat. This can be difficult and time-consuming. You should end up with the hook outside the fish, but the line still passing through its throat.
- Release the fish. Cut the line, remove the hook and release the fish. With this method, you won’t lose your hook, just reattach it to your leader with a barrel knot.
How do I use a disgorger?
To unhook a fish that has baited deeply in good conditions to ensure its survival requires the use of a small accessory essential: the disgorger. Whether it is made of plastic or metal, its length and diameter must be adapted to the species fished, so you should consider having several types and sizes of disgorgers on your table to deal with all situations.
Remember to handle your fish with care before putting them in your basket, then release them before weighing. Their survival depends on it.
Push forward on the end of the hook shank. If the hook is set too deep, you will need to use a disgorger. Simply stretch the line, slide the line through the gap in the disgorger, and advance the disgorger toward the hook. Once the disgorger is glued to the hook, push the line into the mouth with a sharp pull, keeping the line taut.
It is often preferable to use pliers to gain precision and avoid damaging the fish. The gesture is made in a circular way towards the back. Do not hesitate to make a dry movement so that the barb unhooks.
In any case, before releasing the fish, remember to check if it is in a condition to go back by holding it delicately a few seconds in the water. Very often, it will put a blow of fin and will leave. If it is not the case, it will be necessary to oxygenate it by carrying out movements of back to front so that water circulates in the gills.