Welcome to Part 6 of “Trout Diva’s Overly Dramatic Guidelines for Handling Trout”
A CUT ABOVE …or… ‘TILL DEATH DO US PART
As we discussed earlier, it is of paramount importance to protect the trout from internal damage. But, how do you do that when, as trout fishermen know, they will often swallow the hook?
It starts with a mindset… Do not ever try to extract a hook or fly from the gullet, or even part way down the gullet. Period. End of Story. Not even carefully. Not even really carefully. No. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Know that you’ll kill them every time. Even if they don’t die immediately, they’re going to die. Just put that in your head and keep it there. The rest comes easy!
Just cut the line above the hook, as close to the eye as possible. (If you’re using something like powerbait or the like, pull it off if you can easily reach it after cutting the line.)
“What? Leave the hook or fly IN them???” you say… Yup. Leave it. If you’re not used to the concept, I know it “feels wrong”. It felt really wrong to me when I first learned it, too. But it’s right.
The hook will dissolve in a week or two, and the trout will live. Hooks are cheap, and we have more flies in the fly shop. (This is why we don’t sell hooks that won’t rust, like stainless steel, or other types of salt-water hooks.)
Oh, but you have one of those fancy hook removal tools? If the hook is in the mouth or jaw, fine… but not down the gullet.
Again, most people are trying to get the hook out because they believe they are helping the trout – a common misconception… just cut the line and get them back in the water – they’ll be fine!
Just remember, their chance of survival is much, much higher than the risk of getting the hook out.
And again, both the trout and we thank you!