Thursday, December 16, 2010

Never use treble hooks for bait fishing

treble hook in stomach
Ontario Fishing Network

If there is one fishing regulation I would change it would be this: I would make it illegal to use treble hooks for fishing with live or dead bait. The reason is it kills so many fish.

We still have fishermen who use treble hooks when dead bait fishing for northern pike, especially in the spring.

Most of them say they know exactly when to set the hook so that the fish doesn't swallow it and end up dead.

The photo above tells a different story. It is a pike taken on an artificial on the second day of the season and already someone had caught and lost it leaving a treble hook in its stomach and leader hanging out its mouth. This fish was doomed anyway if this angler hadn't kept it. Fortunately, it was of legal size.

How many fish are hooked in the stomach and released because they are in the slot size?

We catch quite a few pike each summer with treble hooks protruding through the walls of their stomachs. Fish with single hooks inside them are usually fine. The single hook doesn't poke a hole through the stomach lining. But with a treble two or all three of the hooks will work their way right through, eventually killing the fish.

It's all so needless. With a quick strike rig the hook can be set the instant the fish takes the bait. There is no reason to let the fish "take it" before setting the hook. That's because there are two hooks on the rig, a single hook in the front of the bait and a treble hook in the center. If the bobber goes down there is a hook in the fish's mouth-- set the hook immediately -- before the bait is swallowed.

With a circle hook you can let the fish swallow the bait a little, then slowly pick up tension on the line by reeling and as the circle hook comes sliding out of the fish's mouth, it catches it right in the very corner.

Both methods allow you to safely and humanely release the fish.

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Anonymous said...

Dan, As a followup to using single hooks for live or dead bait. I also use single hooks on all of my spoons, stick baits used trolling for trout and salmon and single hooks on a majority of stick / jerk baits used for muskie and pike. I find hookups match up and at times exceed the rate as using treble hooks.
Hands down, the real advantage comes while landing, netting, and safely releasing the fish. For example,removing a large pike or any fish in the net caught on a rapala with three treble hooks compared to the same sized fish caught on a rapala with with two single hooks. Using the single hooks its easier on the fish, safer on your hands, other parts of your body and your net.
You get the fish out of the net much quicker resulting in a healthier fish if you are going to release. I could go on and on, but hopefully people will get the idea and try single hooks on their artifical baits.

Steve K

Dan B. said...