An Innovative Fish Conservation Tool
Editor’s Note: The product shown here is a great conservation tool that fits perfectly with the effort of many Texas anglers who are more conservation-minded today than ever before. The age-old practice of releasing gut-hooked fish by simply cutting the line just doesn’t cut it anymore. Too many fish swim away to die later from injuries incurred when fish ingest natural baits and also scented lures. TSFMag gives the Swallowed Fishhook Remover two-thumbs-up for its contribution to fisheries conservation! -Activate the QR code to see it in action. -Everett Johnson
If you are practicing catch and release, or if you have caught an undersized or oversized fish, the main goal is to swiftly release the fish alive. If the fish has swallowed the hook, which is common with bait and sometimes with lures, it can be almost impossible to remove the hook without injuring or killing the fish.
In addition, since many hooks are made of rust-resistant metals, the age-old method of cutting the line and releasing the fish with the hook still in it can impede the fish’s ability to eat and make them unable to swallow their prey. There is also risk that the sharp hook point might puncture other vital organs. Cutting the line also entails time spent retying a hook, lost equipment, and reduced time spent fishing.
Carl Wilson, the inventor of the swallowed fishhook remover, is an avid fisherman who also spent more than 30 years as a state and federal game warden. Many of those years were spent on the Texas coast in and around the Hynes and San Antonio Bay areas near Austwell, Texas. It was there that he met his wife Jenny, a biologist who also enjoys fishing. During his time working on the coast, Carl frequently encountered anglers who kept undersized or oversized fish after being unable to remove a swallowed hook without killing the fish. They chose to keep the dead fish, risking a citation, rather than throwing it back.
Carl, who is now retired, frequently fishes with bait and is no stranger to a swallowed hook. He understands the frustration of staring deep into a fish’s mouth and seeing nothing but the shank of the hook. With more time on his hands after retirement, he set out to find a solution that would not only allow him to safely remove the hook and save the fish, but to do it quickly and easily. Not finding anything on the market, he created the Hynes Bay Swallowed Fishhook Remover.
The patented Swallowed Fishhook Remover is designed with a cylinder at the end of a long tube that is inserted into the fish’s mouth. The cylinder is slotted to accommodate the shank of the hook and, with the pull of a trigger, mechanically rotates the hook up to 200 degrees, effectively reversing its barb. This rotation extracts the hook from the fish’s stomach and allows you to remove the hook without further damage to the fish. Its simplicity and ease of use also significantly reduces the time the fish spends out of the water.
The Inshore model currently available has been tested successfully on fish such as redfish, black drum, catfish, and bass that had swallowed both Kahle and J-hooks as well as treble hooks. The 200-degree rotation of the device is designed to also work with circle hooks.
Future designs will include a model designed specifically for panfish/crappy and a larger offshore model. So, if you are interested in conservation and experience the frustration of swallowed hooks, this tool is a must-have for your tackle box.
Swallowed Fish Hook Remover in Action