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Problem with undersize fish | Category: Fishing Talk

JewCraze 7 months ago
#6764

Hi all,

Lately I've been catching a lot of under size fish. Comparing with not catching anything at all it seems catching something is more fun. But the problem is the fish seem to swallow my hook all the way into their stomach / gut, so pulling the hook out ... well they're dead anyway. So you throw them back into the water and they float belly up. My 9 y.o. made the point that the fish is dead and throwing it back into the water is useless - as in not helping in terms of preserving the fish stock. But taking the fish I'm quite sure I'd get fined if fishery checked and found the undersized fish in my bucket.

So here is a question: Anyone got any strategy / tips to ensure (or improve the chances of) the fish being hooked on the lips rather than in their stomach?

dazzling79 7 months ago
#6765

I was wondering about it as well some time ago. If I catch undersized fish, I try to keep them alive to release them.
If they are already dead sadly, I am thinking that might be better not to put them back into the sea.

Has anyone caught fish with plastic baits or other sorts of baits in their stomach? I am also wondering about where all my soft baits are gone to.

JewCraze 7 months ago
#6766

Yeah, that's an interesting question about the soft plastic lures. I've been thinking about the same. If the tailor chomped off your soft plastics and swallowed them does that mean when they're eventually caught later on, and if they're of legal size, what would happen to people who eat those fish that have eaten plastics ?

fish21 7 months ago
#6767

Soft baits disintegrate very quickly.
You should always give the fish back to tangaroa as it feeds the fish and if floating feeds the birds.Its good karma

itsaboat 7 months ago
#6768

Sounds like the location you are fishing just simply might not have any larger fish. Try different spots.

Try using a bigger hook.

Long shank hooks are harder for fish to completely swallow and are easier to get out. You could also try circle hooks which are designed to hook the corner of the mouth and if swallowed are easier to pull out.

itsaboat mate...Life is just a boat and then ya marry one !
Mark Totzke 7 months ago
#6770

yeah bigger hooks keep smaller fish off and also I would recommend to use circle or recurve hooks.
I only use circle hooks for bait fishing and the fish hardly ever get gut hooked on them.
They are the best hooks in my opinion.

Also when fishing with soft baits I usually don't get smaller fish.
And if you're using proper soft baiting gear then you can feel every little nibble anyway, so you'll usually lip hook the fish before they can devour the bait.

But for bait fishing definitely use bigger (around size 5-6) circle hooks and it'll be less likely to hook and much easier to release undersized fish.

a snapper a day keeps the doctor away
dazzling79 7 months ago
#6771

Yes! I will do that definitely! I haven't thought about that! Thanks^^

tuppo2491 7 months ago
#6772

Only thing i can offer, not from experience rather as the experts say using CIRCLE HOOKS is supposed to enhance catch and release ?? Open for other suggestions !

JewCraze 7 months ago
#6776

Thanks for all your replies guys!

JewCraze 7 months ago
#6777

I forgot to mention that I actually used circle hooks. I used larger size hook initially but while we got lots of bites we were not hooking up any. So I changed the hook size for my two little boys to a smaller size. So they caught the undersized fish but I still caught nothing.

Changed the hooks on my kids' rod today to a slightly larger "bait holder" hook and they were hooking in the lips so we were able to release the undersized fish pretty quickly.