Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Best Fish Unhooking Tools
One operation that often goes overlooked when on a fishing trip to Canada is how to safely remove fish hooks from the fishs' mouths.
And that means safely from the point of view of the angler and also safely from the point of view of the fish. The method we all want is to quickly get the hooks out with no damage to either party.
You actually need two tools to do this effectively: one to hold the fish's mouth open and the other to reach down into that toothy maw and work the hook backwards and then out.
Most people use long-handle needle nose pliers to do the reaching and unhooking but the very best tool we have ever seen for this is the Baker Hookout. The pistol grip on this device makes unhooking a breeze. It's not expensive, perhaps $6, and is sturdily made. It will last a lifetime.
The second tool, the mouth opener, is the one most people don't bring.
We're seeing quite a few Lip Grip tools now. These fasten securely to the fish's jaw and won't let go, even if the fish flops. The very best of these is the Boga Grip. Rapala also makes one and so does Berkley. Others use a spring-loaded jaw spreader.
One problem with Lip Grip devices is they can injure the fish's mouth if the fish flops and twists.
I see a new device on the Internet that looks like it would be excellent at holding the mouth open without injury. It is called the Lippa4Life.
You squeeze your hand together to close the jaws, which are very rounded at the tip to protect the fish. The jaws don't totally close either so you can't crush the fish's mouth.
I see Cabelas has these for sale and I imagine Bass Pro does as well.
It is probably worth the $29 for the stainless model of these as, again, it will last forever.
Just tie a lanyard to it (and any other of your mouth-holding devices) so it doesn't go overboard. http://www.bownarrows.com/
Bow Narrows Camp
Red Lake, Ont.