So you are new to sea fishing and you manage to catch your fish sea fish, hopefully thanks to our how to sea fishing guide. You land it on the beach, now you must unhook the sea fish, ready to catch another. I will assume you want to return the fish to the sea water unharmed.
Handling when Unhooking sea fish
When handling sea fish, be mindful of the fact they are covered in a slime that protects their skin from harmful bacteria. This protective slime is damaged if fish area allowed to thrash around on pebbles, and worst of all is handling sea fish when unhooking with dry hands. Always moisten your hands in some sea water, best of all is to cover the sea fish in a damp cloth, covering the eyes will calm them down during the unhooking process.
Try and place them on a something soft. Carp anglers use an unhooking mat to lay the fish on, this keeps them in tip top condition. Carp are caught and returned many times and our sea fish deserve the same consideration – they are a valuable asset and treat them with respect if you want to enjoy quality sea fishing in the future, sea fish numbers are declining!!
Beware of sea fishing species that have spines on their back while unhooking, gill coverings etc. Such fish need handling with care and attention. Knowing your sea fishing species will help avoid stings and painful “pricks”. Dog fish and eels are a pain. Hold the doggies tail in a curve close to the head in one hand. it will relax and allow easier handling. Eels are just awkward, there is no easy way to keep hold of them, a chamois leather or towel may help!
Tools for unhooking sea fish
There are many tools available to assist you when unhooking fish. The best all round piece of kit is a pair of forceps. They can be purchased from many outlets – google “forceps” to find out! Your forceps will work well for most sea species caught from the shore and are far better for deeper hooked sea fish than your fingers. They also offer you protection from teeth and hard mouths.
Bigger shore caught species like Conger, Tope and Huss will require something a bit stronger during the unhooking process. This is where a pair of long nose pliers comes into play. They are also very good if you embed a hook into your self (push the hook point through and cut the barb off and thread the hook back out – I have done it and it hurts!!!)
How to unhook sea fish
Okay, as part of the how to sea fishing guide you need to learn how to do this well, lets get to the bare bones of unhooking sea fish. This is hard to explain as it depends on how the sea fish is hooked and where it is hooked.
The basic method for unhooking fish is to grip the hook by the bend and push it gently in the reverse direction it would require to set the hook. Keep the sea fish still with firm but proportional pressure using wet hands or a cloth as mentioned above. Generally keep grip on the head area as this is the best area to prevent them from moving too much during unhooking and allowing you best access to the mouth of the fish.
Once the fish is unhooked, return it to the water asap. I will pass on more tips for returning fish unharmed soon.