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  • Writer's pictureMark A. Cartwright

Reduce your chances of getting hooked.

Anytime you go fishing there is a chance of getting yourself hooked. It is just inherent in the sport. It is just a matter of time. It is not if, but when you will get hooked.

There are two main hazards of getting a hook in you.

1. You get a hook that goes in past the barb. yikes!!!

This is never a good thing. It is painful when it happens and can be very painful removing it. (a future blog will cover ways to remove the hook from yourself)

2. You just get stuck by the point. This is not near as painful, but can be just as dangerous. First it is a puncture wound which is the worst type of wound for getting bacteria in you. And once the barrier of the skin is broken, you will be getting bacteria in it all day while handling fish and using lake water to wash your hands.

How can you minimize the danger?

1. Be aware of the danger and be careful handling hooks and lures.

2. When a lure is hung up and you want to pull on the line to get it loose, think about where the lure will go if it does come loose. It is always best to go to where it is hung up and use your rod tip to push it off or use a lure knocker that is run down the line on a string to dislodge it.

3. If your are hung in a tree and are over a limb, don't reel the bait all the way up to the limb. Leave some slack (6" to 12") and give the line a quick pull with the rod. The bait will flip over the limb. The more slack the higher it will flip. So if there is a limb above the limb your are hung on, use less slack and a slower pull.

4. When you bring a fish in the boat, make sure if you plan on grabbing the line above the fish, that your rod is not loaded (bent). A lot of times the fish is wiggling furiously when you bring it over the gunnel. If you have the line above the fish and the hook comes out with the rod bent it will pull the lure or hook into your hand.

5. When you are putting your rods, with lures attached, in the rod holder, wrap the slack line around the rod a couple of times and put over a guide. This will keep the lure tight to the rod. If you are putting them in the holders on side of the center console, turn the lure so it's back is facing out. Guess how I know this can be dangerous.

There are many tools you can use to safely handle fish that will help you avoid getting hooked. There are lippers of which the Bogagrip is probably the best.

There are the impingement lippers, below is Rapala's. You can pick them up at Academy. There is a link to their gripper page that has several cheaper versions of the lippers. You get what you pay for. I have had two cheaper versions of the "Bogagrip". One the jaws kept crossing and locking up and the other was hard to release and a big bull redfish wrenched it away from me while I was reviving her.

There are also a few "grabbers" that have been around awhile. The Auto Fish Grabber from H and H Lures.

And the yellow fish grabber.

There are a ton of fish lippers and grabber things out there.

All of these work pretty well in helping you control a fish to be safer when your handling a frisky fish. All of these are stored somewhere on your boat or in your tackle box.

They all are good for holding the fish securely while you unhook the fish. Now what if the hook is hard to remove. Now you need a pair of pliers. There are many, many pliers out there. All of which do a good job of aiding you to extract the hook. So basically two tools are usually needed to get your fish off the hook safely.

Is there anything easier or better? We think so. A Catcher's Mitt has everything you need to protect you while handling and unhooking your fish. You wear it on your hip, so you don't have to look around for it. And it also contains pliers so if the hook won't come out you have the pliers right there to help you.

Here are a couple of pictures of it in use.

Notice the angler is holding the line above the bait but his rod is not loaded and is strait out. That is the safe way.

To learn more about the Catcher's Mitt please visit our website.

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