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Thread: Fish enzyme dissolves hooks?

  1. #1
    V.I.P. Top Author troutdude's Avatar
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    Fish enzyme dissolves hooks?

    A fisheries biologist once told me, that's it's okay to leave a hook embedded in a fish's mouth or throat. He said that the fish's blood has an enzyme that will dissolve the hook, inside of 3 days.

    Has anyone else ever heard this, or know anything about it?

  2. #2
    Moderator Growbug's Avatar
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    I dont know how many days it would take, but i suspect over 3. There have been more than a few trout that i have pulled in to shore that have a hook or two still embedded in their jaw or throat.
    Hooks that would be better to be 'left behind' would be steel, as it would rust.
    Some of the newer alloys out there, including titanium hooks, would last a LOT longer.
    If its a treble hook, then it would probably do more damage and kill the fish before it came out.

    Other thought on this, how much line gets left behind? Cut the line near the hook, how many times will this tag of line get into the gills and kill the fish?
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutdude View Post
    A fisheries biologist once told me, that's it's okay to leave a hook embedded in a fish's mouth or throat. He said that the fish's blood has an enzyme that will dissolve the hook, inside of 3 days.

    Has anyone else ever heard this, or know anything about it?
    Been livin by it for 15+ years. It`s way better, especially out of a boat cause ya never have to net the native or have it thrash around, beating the bajeezuz out of itself. I can`t be the only one that knows it. Every year the river I fish fallies on, I get lots of fish with hooks and line. Some are breaks, I`m sure. But yes I heard this as a tot.
    There is no head like Steelhead

  4. #4
    Experienced Member n8r1's Avatar
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    All fish have a built in mechanism that will help them survive a hook. The larger the fish, the better the mechanism. Their body fluids contain a substance that can literally dissolve a hook within a matter of days.

    Releasing Gut Hooked Fish

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    V.I.P. Top Author troutdude's Avatar
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    Thanks for mentioning to cut the line as close to the hook as possible. I hadn't thought of that.

    And, thanks for that article about releasing gut hooked fish...most excellent!

  6. #6
    Experienced Member n8r1's Avatar
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    Surgical Scissors

    Attachment 7993

    My mom is a nurse and gave me a pair of surgical scissors like these. They work really well if you need to get deep inside the mouth of a fish and snip off a piece of line near the hook. I'm sure that you can buy them somewhere as well.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Top Author troutdude's Avatar
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    LilSalmon and I went fishing last Saturday. She had a pair of forceps that I used for the first time. We had about a 95% success rate with our released fish. Far better than I've done in the past; in removing hooks.

    But, I also like your idea of using those scissors. That would be the ticket if we can't remove the hook(s)!

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    One more reason to pinch your barbs.

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    If you can't get the hook leave it behind and cut the line close to the hook like everyone has said. Hooks do break down overtime. And if you aren't trying to take any fish home then pinch the barb. Its still fun to lose one if you aren't or can't keep em anyways.
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  10. #10
    V.I.P. Top Author troutdude's Avatar
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    Good suggestions. I have just cut the line and left the hooks for many years now. And, in recent times I have pinched the barbs too.

    I started the thread mainly to be sure that leaving the hooks is okay. And it looks like were all in agreement on that.

  11. #11
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    I have talked with several old timers in the Portland area that always pinched the barb down and say they did it so they wouldn't loose as many fish! The theory is: with the barb pinched the hole is smaller and smoother going in so a tight line will be less likely thrash the barb back and forth making the hole larger and easier for the fish to throw the hook. Did that make any sense? Fly fisherman have been doing this for years, almost all my flies end up barbless before I use them.
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