The correct way to remove a fishing hook from a human, painlessly and safely.

There seems to be a rash of videos about removing hooks from people, all feature the  ‘line-loop’ method. Some even show some brave souls sticking hooks in themselves to demonstrate the method.

Unfortunately all these videos make a mistake that almost certainly means the hook extraction will be painful to a lesser or greater level.

All the videos make a point of placing the loop at the middle of the bend and then pulling straight back in-line with the hook shaft. This is wrong, if pain is to be avoided.

The loop should be in the upper half of the bend, and the pull should be up and away, at about 30 degrees to the shaft.

hookout

Because the hook will roll out the same way as it went in, the barb will not catch, and a barb catching is what causes pain.

To see the whole story see this (link corrected), and see:

  • a method that uses forceps to achieve pain-free hook removal
  • a method for removing a hook in yourself, even if you cannot see it.

 

New Zealand Fisher magazine – April issue 2011

Yep, I know there is a blizzard of on-line magazines trying to swamp our screens, but this new, New Zealand magazine, on saltwater fishing is looking good.

Quite rightly New Zealand’s trout fishing gets a lot of press, but our saltwater fishing is world class as well.  See the April edition, and previous editions here.

nz-fisher-magazine-april-2011

Separating Stuck Rod Joints

There can be a problem that affects all rods with joints, sometimes they just stick and it is the Devil’s own job to separate them.

With the exception of strong surf rods, one of the worst ways to try and unstick the joints is to have a friend grab one side of the joint and you the other side, and pull. It is very hard to keep the rod dead straight and a broken rod at the joint is a common result. Even worse is for you and your friend to try and twist the rod in opposite directions as you pull. Result – same as above. This is especially true of light spinning and fly-fishing rods.

There are two methods that work for me – but I am totally at a loss to know why.

First, put the behind your back, clasp the rod with each hand on either side of the joint and pull apart. I have seen this work, and experienced it myself, on apparently immovable joints.

Second method, and again I do not know why it works, is to pack the joint with a bag of ice or frozen peas for about ten minutes, then pull apart.

Stuck rod joints can be avoided by a couple of quick tips:

  • Before joining the rod give the male joint a good rub down with a cloth to remove dust or fine sand.
  • After cleaning the male spigot rub it a few times up and down the side of your nose. The natural grease imparts a very fine lubricant.

When joining the rod pieces, just seat the two halves firmly together, never force down on the joint. Ramming the two pieces together is a definite ‘no-no’.

And finally, it is a good idea to test that the joint is firm regularly during a fishing session. A loose joint, can lead to a broken rod, because the overlap between the male and female parts becomes too short. This is especially important when fly fishing.

If You Want Fresh Fish Chill Out!

This Christmas holiday and right on over our Summer Holiday period the following sad story will be repeated ad nausea – and nausea is the right word – all around New Zealand’s coasts.A perfect example of how not to keep fresh caught fish fresh.

The crew sets out in the morning and over the next four or five hours catches a feed of fish. As they are caught, the fish are chucked into the fish bin where they flap and struggle as they slowly drown in the air. As more fish are caught they are thrown on top of the fish already dead and dying in the bin.

By the time this bin of fish, as exemplified in the photo, gets to shore it should not be eaten. The fish have ‘cooked’ in their own blood and slime. What a waste!

By the time our intrepid crew get back to the bach, crib, campsite or home, the fish is a smelly, slimy mess. Cleaning and preparing the fish to cook is a long, slow job – the soggy, flabby-fleshed bundles of slime are hard to handle. But eventually fish fillets make their way into the fry pan where foul cooking smells begin to fill every nook and cranny in the immediate vicinity. The whole performance, in a word, disgusting. What a waste.

It is a sad fact is that much of the fish served up by amateur fishermen is passed its used-by-date. By the time it reaches the table it is well on the way to being rotten.

Many fishermen would be better advised to go fishing on an exclusively catch-and-release basis, and buy some fish to eat on the way home at the fish shop. The fish in the shop would be in better condition – the shop would not be allowed to sell (apart from legal problems) the amateur’s catch because of it’s poor condition.

If you want to keep your catch fresh all the way to the table read this..

Prompt Release Critical to Fish Survival

Catch and release is promoted as a way to enjoy angling for years to come. Catch one, take a picture and set it free. But two recent studies, including one by researchers at the University of Illinois, concluded the practice works only if fish are released promptly.

In the journal, “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A,” researcher Cory Suski suggests that keeping a fish out of water for even 4 minutes might be too long to ensure its survival. Variables include the length of time it takes to land a fish, Suski said. The longer it takes, the harder it is for a fish to recover from even short periods out of water.

Water temperature also determines whether the fish lives or dies. The warmer the water, the longer the recovery, he said. Meanwhile, the fish is easier prey for predators looking for a meal.

I go along with the ‘hold your breath’ guide to how much time a fish should be out of the water – as you lift the fish out of the water hold your breath – when you need to take a breath put the fish back in the water.

For more on releasing fish see this.

Kahawai Tactics

The kahawai is a truly wonderful sportfish found only in New Zealand and Australia (where it is often called ‘salmon’ for no obvious reason.)

I have over the last few weeks spent some time chasing kahawai on fly fishing and light spinning gear and re-igniting my respect for the fighting qualities of this fish. (Between dodging the almost never ending run of strong winds that have dogged our Spring and Summer.)

For the full story on this fish head to the link

Hook Removal From Humans – Update

I have just updated the hook-removal article to include information on how to use both the ‘loop’ and ‘forceps’ method one-handed to remove hooks from yourself. This is usually required when the hook is buried in a hand or arm.

When using the loop method, make the loop long enough to go over some immovable object, such as a tree branch. Hold down the eye of the hook and pull your hand away in the direction shown in the diagrams in the article.

If using long-nose pliers or forceps, hold the hook eye down with the thumb of the hand holding down the forceps.

Full details here.

Does Fly or Lure Colour Matter

This article on the Midcurrent site is an excellent insight into the way fish see colours, and how this information can be used to refine flies and lures, and select lures and flies for varying fishing conditions.

While the article was primarily aimed at saltwater flies, it offers much to learn for all kinds of fishing.

There is one telling comment in the article – “Selecting a fly based on contrast, rather than on specific colors, is often the key to enticing a fish to strike.” (Someday they might learn how to spell colour 😉

Sharpen Your Hooks Myth

It is amazing how some tackle myths persist way past their use-by date.

A case in point is contained in this article Sharpen Hooks
This advice is so out-of-date, by twenty or so years.

Books and articles sadly written just two or three years ago still contain encouragement to sharpen hooks before fishing with them. ‘No hook is sharp enough to fish straight out of the packet’ is the advice. If you use ‘laser’ or ‘chemically’ sharpened hooks which have been around for twenty something years now, this advice is bad. In most cases trying to sharpen chemically or laser sharpened hooks will actually blunt them.

Chemically sharpened and laser sharpened hooks are made in much the same way. Once the hook is formed, the points are treated with a chemical and then introduced to a laser beam, or other control source, which wears away the metal leaving a very sharp point. Mechanical methods cannot get the hook any sharper.

If you do sharpen non-laser or non-chemically treated hooks there are a number of factors to bear in mind.

All sharpening produces heat. Too much heat will reduce the temper of the hook and can soften the point. This can lead to points bending over, or breaking off. It is important when sharpening hooks to use a slow stroke with the file or stone.

Be careful not to remove too much metal from the point. There is a fine line, no pun intended, between a sharp point and a weak point. It is too easy to think of a hook point as always being pulled into a fish in a straight-line pull. However, this is not always true. Many times the pull is at an angle to the point. If there is not enough metal in the point it can break off or bend over.

One piece of advice about sharp hooks worth following is to check each hook before using it to ensure an un-sharpened hook has not sneaked through the manufacturer’s Quality Control systems.

For more information on hooks in general see this:The Sharp End

Easy Way to Dry Fishing Hooks and Flies

Those little packets that seem to come in all pill bottles, and a myriad other products, contain a desiccant, moisture absorbing beads. Usually known by the name “Silica-Gel”, these little packets are ideal for drying used hooks and flies, and keeping them dry.

Placing one in your fly box will help stop fly-hooks rusting, and fur and feather detiorating. I have a small, lidded box with two or three packets of Silica-Gel inside, into which I drop wet flies. By the time I get home the flies are dry and ready to go back into their fly-box.

And once safe and secure, I add a couple of the gel packs to ensure the flies in my fly boxes do not rust.

I also have a small lidded box for my used salt-water hooks. A couple of Silica-Gel packets in the box stops salt-water doing any mischief.

Used Silica-Gel packets can be ‘refreshed and renewed’ by ‘cooking’ them in a microwave for ten or twenty seconds. If you need more Silica-Gel, good places to try are, camera stores, garden supplies, dried flower supplies, and local pharmacy.