Thursday, December 16, 2010
Never use treble hooks for bait fishing
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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