Jeremy Smith shows you how to handle toothy critters and lays out a few useful tools for handling fish in general.
Tools for Handling Fish: Toothy Critters
When targeting big fish like muskies and northern pike it’s important to have right tools for the job. These fish can get big, are very powerful and have a tendency to be hooked deep. By having the right tools you can release the fish quickly and maximize the chance it will survive.
The first and most important tool you need to have is a proper sized net. A big net allows you to land the fish with ease, and handle and unhook the fish while keeping it in the water.
The second tool I’d recommend having would be a jaw spreader. A jaw spreader allows you to open the fishes mouth and get access to deeply hooked baits. When targeting muskies and northern pike I like to double up my jaw spreader, because it’s stronger and easier to work with.
When it comes to unhooking the fish one tool I have really started to lean on is the Bubba Hook Extractor. This tool allows you to clamp onto you hook and remove it without getting your hands close to the teeth of the musky or pike.
Now if you are unable to unhook the fish, or if the fish is hooked deep near the gills, it is important to have a hook cutters on board. Cutting the hooks can often save the fishes life, especially when they are hooked deep.
Those are the four must have tools for handling fish. A proper sized net, a good set of jaw spreaders, a hook extractor tool, and a wire cutters. If you have all four tools it will make unhooking and releasing toothy critters much easier.