dilemma for catch and release

i grew up fishing and i love to fish. my problem is that i injure so many of the fish i catch that i avoid fishing because of the harm i cause. example: of the last 4 fish (bream on a fly rod) 3 were probably killed because i could not get the hook out without damaging the fish. help?

Barbless hooks
Are you using barbless hooks? If not you may want to consider that or mashing the barbs on regular hooks.

i mash the barbs

– Last Updated: Jun-22-06 3:24 PM EST –

maybe i need better technique. i used a hemostat and still could not get the hook out without damage. maybe i should go with a really small hook, 12 0r 14

A couple of things
First, let me recognize and compliment your concern for the fish and the resource. That’s wonderful.

Second, some help with the types of lures and styles you’re using would help. If you’re deep hooking fish often, I’m guessing that you’re using a fairly slack line approach or maybe even fishing under a float. Try approaches that keep a tighter line between you and the lure. That will allow you to feel the take more quickly and set the hook properly. For bream, my favored approach is a small jig-spinner like a BeetleSpin and using a micro-tube or small Gitzit tube on the jig. I cast it upstream and retrieve quickly between grass beds when wading. There are many other approaches, that’s just one that works for me on my rivers for the same kind of fish you’re pursuing.

Third, if you want to stick with the slack line techniques, I highly recommend using circle hooks. The fish hook themselves in the corner of the mouth every time. I have never seen a fish guthooked when using a circle hook.

Fourth, try one of those little plastic hook removers that looks like a barbell with ribs. I have found them very useful for unhooking deeply hooked bream. It should be especially handy if you’re mashing down or filing off the barbs.

Fifth, live or cut bait’s going to get you more deep hookings than artificials. If you’re using live or cut bait, expect deep hooks and don’t try C&R. Bream are over-populated in many areas and the best thing for the resource and the health of the fish population may very well be some predation (i.e., you removing fish for a meal). C&R is a good thing when applied appropriately, but can harm some fish populations. Bream in nearly all of the waters I fish are over-populated and would have a healthier population with fewer fish. Unfortunately, the water’s also polluted, so eating the fish isn’t a good idea which may help to explain the overpopulation. (also a lot of the large predator fish have died in massive fish kills - but that’s got nothing to do with C&R of bream) Anyway, if you’re set on C&R, try techniques that aren’t “meat fishing” techniques. I only use live or cut bait when I’m introducing a child to the sport and fishing under floats OR when I’m fishing for meat and not worried about gut hooking the fish because I’m going to kill any legal-sized fish caught anyway.

Hope that helps some.

  • Big D

Wouldn’t worry about deep hooking
bream, in your area, they’ll just be another food source for turtles and other fish if you return them and it sure won’t hurt the resouces. If you are deep hooking bream on a fly, maybe you need to up the size of the fly. I find that bream aren’t so fussy that they won’t hit a #8 or #10 fly. Because I like the way bream and bass hit it, I tend to use mainly popping bugs for bream when using the fly rod. Those seldom give me propblems with deep hooking, at least as not as many problems as missed strikes because I’m overanxious in setting the hook.

What Jer said… I even use a #6 sometimes cuz I don’t like botherin with lil 3" bream.

Also, use Long shanked hooks
for bream… Helps to remove the hook when deep hooked, since you have more shaft to work with when using the hemos.

It the barb is still catching, file it down with a hook file, then the hook will simply back out.

Even better, just call me and we’ll schedule a Bream excursion and I’ll show you the trick. That is, unless you out fish me…

BTW: Heading out my creek towards Morgan Island, tomorrow and/or Sunday morning for Reds, Seatrout and Sharks.


Best commercial popping bug for
bream may be Arcado’s Miss Prissy. Bass seem to like it too. When I lived in Austin and fished Central Texas creeks and small rivers, used a green sponge spider, on a small hook. The danged thing caught every thing from bream and google eye to bass and crappie. None of the sponge spiders I find now fish like that one did. The store that carried them is long gone.