Lake St. Clair Fishing Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
G

·
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new muskie fisherman and am looking for any tips on getting them back to the water safely. I boated 2 today (30 & 33 inch) and it took me a while to get them back going. I have good gear and don't play them more than necessary or handle them too much out of the water - I realize these activities cause a lot of stress. Any tips?
 

·
LSCN Sponsor
Joined
·
5,472 Posts
The best way is if possible don't take a fish that small out of the water. Try to unhook it in the water it really isn't as hard as it seems. If you have to net them or whatever get them back as soon as you can and work them back and forth holding them by their tail. Don't let go too soon. When they are ready they will leave you with a face full of water. Good Fishing. Bob
 

·
LSCN Sponsor
Joined
·
5,472 Posts
Go State
I just have to do this. SORRY
GO BLUE. BOB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,622 Posts
The time and care taken while removing the hooks are perhaps the greatest determinants to post-release muskie survival. Ideally, the fish should be kept in the water during this process. Fish that are brought into the boat may injure themselves and lose protective mucous from their skin. Moreover, one should recognize that a played out muskie has already incurred an oxygen debt in its tissues and that this may be lethally compounded by time out of the water during which the fish is unable to respire. The time required to remove the hooks, measure the fish and perhaps take a snap shot can stretch from seconds to minutes without the angler (whose brain may be temporarily addled by adrenaline) realizing it. Before the hooks are removed the fish should be secured using a lip-lock hold, release cradle or, less desirably, in the bag of large net with rubberized mesh. Ironically , injuries to muskie anglers occur more frequently with smaller fish which are cranked to the boat side and are still quite "green". These fish are more likely to thrash unexpectedly and most veterans can relate a horror story or two about being present in a boat when a feisty muskie and an angler have become impaled on the same bait. Long-nosed pliers should always be close at hand when muskie fishing. Grab the shaft of the treble hook with the pliers and gently rotate your wrist to allow the hook to reverse the path of entry. If the hook doesn't slide out easily, you must quickly cut it out using the compound bolt cutters. Try not to leave any cut portions of hook embedded in the mouth. Contrary to popular belief, hooks do not rust out quickly in fresh water and they render the fish vulnerable to infection. Now and then, a muskie will absolutely inhale a bait and getting close to the hook's point of entry may involve running a gauntlet of razor sharp teeth. In these instances, a long-shafted hookout tool is just the ticket. Usually,a muskie will clamp it's jaws shut as soon as it feels any added hardware in its mouth and this is the time to use the spring-loaded jaw spreaders. The ends of most spreaders should be padded with duct tape to keep them from penetrating the mouth. Hooks in the gill arches. Here the hook isn't embedded in tissue but rather, it is hooked around one of the delicate gill arches. It's successful removal involves very gently grasping the shaft of the treble with the hookout tool and aligning it paralled to the axis of the gill arches. The hook must be pushed back a half inch or so and then lifted free from the groove between the bony arches. The underside of these arches is where the delicate gill filaments are situated and thus it not uncommon for some bleeding to occure. Generally the bleeding is temporary. Be Careful and work as fast as possible. Hope this helps you and the Water Warrior ( thy muskie....) h2o
 
G

·
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips. I hadn't really thought about not bringing the fish in the boat but will incorporate that into my release technique. A side note to H2O - I didn't want to admit it earlier but one of the muskie's did decide to give me a taste of my own medicine. He had all three trebles in his mouth and I had no problem getting the first two out. As I was removing the third he gave a violent shake and put the two that I just freed into my own hand. One went through the tip of my finger and tip was pressing against the underside of my nail. OUCH!!!! After removing them from my hand I got the third from his mouth and made a successful release to catch him another day.
 

·
LSCN Sponsor
Joined
·
5,472 Posts
go______state Welcome to the club. I can't remember how many hooks I have recieved from Muskie but it has been a lot. The worst was one in the corner of my eye as the other hook went through my lower lip. She pulled of just as she hit me in the face. Seeing as she was a 30 pound fish I was truely happy she threw the lure. 2 Hours hospital time on that one. Be careful and enjoy the sport of Muskie Fishing. Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,622 Posts
Go_State, also get a pair of fish gloves.They really help. Also using that cradle is awesome you can keep the fish in the water and you and your buddy can preform surgery. Hope you heal up all right. That's the #1 reason i go barbless for the most part. If the hook gets in you or your buddy or anything else, it's so much easier to get it out. Making a cradle is easy, just a couple of long sticks, and some soft material. Round dowels, old hockey sticks old broom handles, ect. good luck hunting the Water Warrior. h2o
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Awesome tips H2O! I want to emphasize the need to cut hooks!. Carefully try to remove the hooks one or two times. If they don't come out, cut the hooks. Hooks are cheap. Anything you can do to reduce the time that fish is under stress is going to increase it's chance for a fast recovery.

Also, I made the transition to leaving the fish in the net boatside after my first season. What a difference. When you bring the net in the boat you are asking for trouble for you and the fish. Get a big Beckman or Frabile and leave the fish in the net. Make sure the fishes head is in the water. The can only breathe when they are under water...

Let the pigs free!!!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top