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Holding Fish

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I am new at fishing. I want to start this summer sometime. My first question is this, what is the correct (safe) way to hold the fish to get the hook out? Walleye? Northern Pike? Crappie? You only have to hold the fins down on the crappie, correct?
Thank you for any help.

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for Walleye/Northern hold them just below the gillcover and squeeze fairley hard (to prevent flopping). i usually hold Crappie by the lip just like you would hold a bass.

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Lot's of different methods out there, and only a few are truly "harmless" if you plan to practice CPR (catch, photograph and release).

Bass
Probably the easiest. put your thumb on the lower jaw and your forefinger underneath it picking them up by the jaw. This immobilizes them and makes retreiving your hook easier. Also works well for larger panfish. DO NOT do this on pike or walleye!

Pike
Rule # 1 DO NOT pick them up by the eyes! This practice is not seen much anymore, but is still done by some redneck hillbillies. It will blind the fish. Put your hand over the back of their head (not the hillbilly's) and squeeze over the gillplates. CArefull not to squeeze any harder than you need to as not to harm them. Another way to grab a large northern or muskie, but take some seeds and some practice,grab the jawbone - thumb on the outside, fingers toward the inside and squeeze the jawbone into the palm of your hand and thumb lifting him out of the water or net. Support his belly if you can with your other hand. Be sure to squeeze hard to keep him still. Takes a few times to get it down.

Panfish
slide your hand over it's back pinning down his dorsal fin and squeeze thhumb and forefinger over the gill plates.

Good luck!

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Get yourself a pair of jaw spreaders and a long needle nose pliers. Jaw spreaders are about $2 and I got a real long nose pair of pliers at Checker Auto for about $4. These are hard to find at that price, made in China, but work great for fish. When a fish has it's jaw spread, it usually calms down makeing removal much easier. Once, when I was removing a rapalla from a small northern, my hand slipped and the back treble nearly got me in the hand. It would not be fun to have the northern on the front treble and you're hand on the back treble. Good luck!

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If you plan to release the fish, I would stay away from the jaw spreaders. It tears the cartilage in their jaws, harming the fish. The best way to get a deeply embedded hook out from a pike or muskie is to snip the hook with a good wire cutters. Hooks are not that expensive compared with harming a large fish.
As for bass, DO NOT grab by the mouth and hold the fish horizontal like you see some TV show idiots do. This also tears the cartilage and ligaments within their jaws, possibly resulting it the death of the fish.

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Gull Guide Service
fishingminnesota.com/gullguide
Brainerd-Mille Lacs-Willmar
Bemidji-Ottertail

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A treble hook is the three hooks in one found on most artifcial baits. Gull Guide: I hadn't heard that about jaw spreaders but it makes sense. I have a healthy respect for musky teeth so I'll have to go to another method for extracting hooks from toothy fish.

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