December 30, 2009

How to handle gut hooked bass

One of the worst things about fishing with soft plastics is that bass often swallow the bait so quickly it becomes hooked deep in their gullet.  This is a very frustrating situation because you can't pull it out without harming the bass.  I used to cut the line as close to the hook as possible and release it.  I was always told that the hooks would rust out quickly and not harm the bass.   

After doing some research online and on the water I have found that the hooks actually rust out very slowly and often get in the way of bass trying to eat.  This was pretty sad news for me.  I caught a bass this fall that was very skinny and noticed it had a rusty hook sticking out of it's rear.  I assume not being able to get rid of this hook made it so skinny.  So what's the best way to get hook out without killing the fish or starving it?

I now carry a pair of pliers that will clip the hook and also remove the hook.  I tried it this afternoon and it worked perfectly.  I ended up wasting a good hook, but at least I didn't kill a bass.  I clipped the top of the hook and then used the pliers to pull it out backwords.  It worked like a charm and saved the life of a bass.
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