RE:Striper Release Guidelines
Here's more important C&R topics...
As a rule - If the hook is not in sight, don't try to lift the fish by the line. Keep it in the water, and thumb it without letting the fish's weight get affected by gravity out of water.
a) Hooks in the mouth cavity - Flies never end up in a fish's gullet, but some end up inside the mouth cavity. First, determine which way the hook point lies. Then, use a sleeve-style hook disgorging tool or your fingers as follows:
- put two fingers together, index and middle / middle and ring, etc
- stick them into the mouth cavity along the fly hook shank on the side of the
point, such that the gap between the tips of two fingers end up on either
side of the bend of the hook
- squeeze the bend of the hook between your two fingertips and push the fly
downward to dislodge
- keep the hook between the fingertips to lift it out
Obviously the Waterworks tool is easier but with a little practice this can be extremely fast. Use barbless hooks, of course.
HOOKS IN THE GULLET:
Fish hooked this deep are in jeopardy of serious injury. I have never seen a gullet hooked fly in my life and suppose I never will, but it's a common sight for bait fishermen. The best thing to do is cut the leader and let the fish go - although there is no good solution for a gut-hooked fish it's better than digging the hook out which is certain death.
HOOKS IN THE GILL RAKERS:
Once again, the first rule applies. Don't pull the fish out of water by the line. Thumb the striper and push the fly backwards right out the gill opening, and cut the line -or- undo the knot to release the fish. A clinch can be quickly undone by pulling the wraps toward the rod with two fingernails (thumb and finger). This is another reason I use a simple clinch knot for 15# and higher line for stripers. Tie the fly back on and you and the fish are none the worse for wear.