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muddpuppy

How to handle Muskie

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Hi all I am looking for some basic handling of these monsters. I will admitt I do not fish for Muskie but tend to catch them. I will be up in Canada in a couple of weeks and every year I seem to get one or two. well last year I got one that did not swim away 47" was a shame I would have brought home to mount but due to restrictions I had to let it float. So short of just cutting my line. What is the best way to handle these fish for a quick pic and release? Thank you all in advance

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#1 Buy yourself a pair of Knipex cutters, and cut hooks as though they were stuck in you.

2# Do not take the fish out of the water until the photo opportunity, if that is really needed and if so keep it under 30 seconds.

3# Ditch the old cloth net, and get a good Frabril or Beckman.

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This is where it pays to have all the important safety release tools such as knipex cutters, hook picks, extra-long nose pliers, and adequate net...

Dont play the fish til it tires... land it quickly... net it... but keep it in the net... do the unhooking in the net... and do it quick... when you cant unhook quickly, you cut the hook... Just dont keep the fish out of the water longer than a minute... less time out of water, the better... It would help to have everything ready while the muskie is unhooked and resting in the net before taking her out... If the water temp is warm enough, you'd might want to do a total water release instead... not taking the fish out of the water at all... just do the unhooking in the net, then slide the net out from under of her in the water and do the releasing process... picturing the whole total in-water release can be awesome just like standing there holding a muskie in a pose out of the water, maybe more cooler...

Just be prepared to spend a long time trying to release the fish... I've heard of some guys giving TLC to muskies for over a hour and they managed to swim away... and a good rule would be to stay in the area for at least 5-10 min after a release to be sure the fish did swim away...

Last year on French, my partner caught a nice 35+ inch Muskie... and I did the releasing... took me a good 5 min til it swam away... then just as I grabbed my rod... that muskie came back... and it looked like it wasnt ready to be released so I put down the rod... and gently "captured" it in the water then did the release process all over again for other 10 min... then it swam away... didnt see it again... Maybe she just loved my belly rubbing... I dont know grin

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First off, I applaud you for asking, nice to hear you're thinking of that.

Great stuff already said on gear and handling. If you're going for pike I too would agree on the larger coated net and the Knipex cutters. Not cheap stuff, but it's cheaper for a Knipex cutter than a ER visit for a hook in the hand, less painful too..... They are as much for you as the fish. Same for the long nose pliers, jaw spreader, etc. Do it right the first time and err on the "better" end of quality if you do. Took me and MANY others to learn that lesson. A good Knipex and net will last for years.

If you're primarily walleye fishing and these are accidental catches, I'm not going to push ya to spend a few hundred on the stuff, unless you're filthy rich! I'd still recommend the hook cutters from a First-Aid standpoint if nothing else. Also, a good long-nose pliers and a jaw spreader, only a few $$$ and would come in handy on some walleyes too.

Beyond that, avoid the vertical holds and minimize the time out of the water as much as possible.

Good luck on your trip!

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Why do you say to avoid the vertical holds if you are doing it in your avatar confused

Everything else sounds right, I would also recommend tying your needlenose and jaw spreader to something in the boat so if you drop the fish it doesn't go swimming away with a jaw spreader in its mouth!

Have Fun!

Ryan

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Quote:
Why do you say to avoid the vertical holds if you are doing it in your avatar

A 4lb pike is a bit different than a 47" muskie in terms of body mass......

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Good rule of thumb when taking pics with your fish. Hold your breath because that is what the Muskie is doing while it is out of water. If you can't breath, neither can it. Just something to think about.

The vertical hold is not good because you are putting all the fishes weight on their jaws/gills. Have someone pick you up by your chin and see if you like it

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Great stuff guys thx I already have the nice oversized rubber net and the knipex after last year we had two Human hooksets one needed the ER an hour away. It was an eye openeing trip to the Kenora ER They have a wall of shame with lures they pulled out of people.

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I used the Nipex yesterday to cut a spinnerbait trailer hook from a very active 36" fish. Not a monster, but he was still able to trhash his head around quite a bit and I was glad for the fish AND me that I was able to easily cut the hooks out. Also, it was the first time that the guy who caught it had ever muskie fished so I was happy for him to see a successful CPR. I've tried it with the cheap knockoffs - its way better to get the good cutters.

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You got that right Hugo...........Knipex are the only cutters to have in the boat. No exceptions!

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