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removing hooks from marlin

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I have been lucky enough to catch a couple of marlin from my 4.5m boat. I was using circle hooks and kept the boat just in gear to get the fish swimming alongside the boat at the end of the fight. Held it by the bill and removed the hook which was located in the corner of the jaw.

I have seen many fish broken off immediately after being tagged. I believe this is done because often when the fish is tagged it is still very green and it would be very dangerous to try and hold an angry marlin by the bill

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I have been marlin fishing for more than 25 years and tried several tools to help remove hooks but generally speaking grabbing the bill and hand removal is best. You can also use snooters which are basically a wire or rope loop on a pole to secure the bill and a couple of different hook removal tools that I found make the job harder not easier. The last couple of year we have improved our hook up rate using single hooks which also make hook removal easier. On occasions in years gone by we have pulled fish in the door to remove hooks. One in particular about 15 years ago we caught a marlin that had 2 bills which made grabbing the bill very difficult in rough seas so we pulled it aboard and placed a deckwash hose in it's mouth then removed hooks and took photos before releasing. I know this wasn't ideal but considering the 2 bills where keen to get some good shots for Fisheries researchers and if anyone has any doubts how tough they can be the fish was recaptured 4 months later off Batemans Bay.

Edited by boattart
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if you can remove the hooks its always better,obviously if your going to damage them doin it dont ,ive tried most methods removing them ,but holding them by there bill to keep them off your head and removing with the other hand works,ive tried hook out poles with some succes but can be frustrating

2 seasons ago we caught a stripe that had a hook in its throat latch and had barnicles about the size of a cricket ball,pretty much blocking its mouth,it was a very lean fish

i use a bill rope on all fish to settle them while being towed,and then remove hooks and then revive

the use of a bill rope calms them and makes them safer to handle,but remember they can tee of on you in a flash

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