Every angler knows how enthralling the catch and release game can be, especially while playing with the sunfish. Although it’s a fun sport, many anglers cause damage to the fish while playing it.
Some anglers unintentionally hurt the fish when dehooking, and they do it because they don’t know how to take a sunfish off the hook. They just hold the fish and pull the hook out with a bit of fish skin.
However, we don’t want you to do the same, so we have listed some effective and safest ways to dehook a sunfish in this article. Hence, let’s explore the methods.
How To De-Hook A Sunfish: Follow The Most Effective Techniques
You can easily dehook the sunfish by following these methods mentioned below. You can utilize these unhooking techniques on all 30 species of the sunfish family based on their size. Now, let’s learn about the methods.
Grab & Unhook:
If you get bluegill, black or white crappie, or any other small-sized sunfish with fins hooked, you can unhook the fish without harming it.
And to do that, you need to keep the hooked-fish hanging by holding the hook with one hand. Afterward, gently place your other hand over and towards the fish’s fins and slowly push the fins down while holding the fish.
After grabbing the sunfish firmly, you need to turn the hook down and pull it out, and that’s how you can take a sunfish off the hook.
A Pro Tip: If you can’t hold the fish body with your hand, try to hold its lip and unhook the fish.
Dehook With A Plier:
After catching a large sunfish like the largemouth bass, warmouth, etc., you shouldn’t unhook the fish following the traditional dehooking method.
Instead, you need to be cautious and try out the dehook with plier technique. Here’s how you can utilize this method.
First, keep the fish in a suitable place or position that allows easy access to the fish’s gills. Then, grab a fishing plier if the fish is deeply hooked. Otherwise, you can follow the method mentioned above.
After picking the fishing plier, you need to push it through the fish’s gill to reach the hook. Then, hold the hook with the plier, pull it towards the fish’s belly once, and then push it towards the fish’s mouth.
You can unhook the hook in no time by pulling it back and forth constantly. Once you dehook the hook, bring it out of the fish’s mouth, and that’s how this technique works.
Unhook Without Touching The Fish:
Some fish wriggle a lot after getting hooked, and most of them unhook themselves with the help of wriggling if you don’t use a sharp J hook.
However, if the fish can’t dehook itself after reeling in, you need to hold the fishing line while keeping the fish in a hanging position.
Then, shake the line to let the fish get unhooked and drop into the water. Essentially, this technique can cause harm to the fish if it swallows the hook.
So, before applying this method, you must ensure that the fish isn’t profoundly hooked.
That’s all the techniques to follow to unhook any fish without harming them. Now, let’s discuss how you can prevent sunfish from swallowing the hook.
How To Prevent Sunfish From Swallowing The Hook:
If a fish swallows a hook, it becomes challenging for anglers to dehook the fish without hurting or even killing it. Therefore, avid anglers pay special attention to this matter before indulging in the catch and release game.
They take necessary precautions to avoid any chaos while catching sunfish. And below, we have shared their secret so that you can follow them. Hence, let’s read on.
Utilize The Appropriate Hook:
If you use a large hook to catch a sunfish, there is a high chance for the fish to get hooked in the eye or other body parts instead of hooking in the mouth.
Conversely, if you use a small hook, the fish will be more prone to swallow the hook and get injured. So, the rule here is to utilize a #6 circle hook.
Now you may be wondering why the circle hook? Why can’t I use the traditional J-hook? Well, the j-hook comes with a straight shaft, which fish can easily swallow. So, you better avoid using the j-hook and stick to the circle one.
FYI, circle hooks are prone to attach to the fish’s mouth, and once they are set, they rotate in the mouth, causing literally no harm to the fish. That’s why a circle hook is the best choice for catching sunfish.
Avoid Using Bobber:
One research shows that anglers who catch sunfish using bobbers get deeply hooked fish no matter what hook type they use than other anglers.
The primary reason behind this incident is that the line and bait tend to float when you attach any bobber, and this bobber gives fish more time to swallow the hook.
Hence, you should try catching the sunfish without a bobber. However, if you wanna use a bobber, you should keep the lure off the bottom or free from snags.
Pulp The Barbs:
You need to follow this step if you use the traditional j-hook instead of a circle hook. You should pulp the barbs to minimize damage to the fish.
You can unhook the fish with minor or no damage by pulping the barbs, even if it swallows the hook. However, some anglers believe that pulping the barbs can reduce the success ratio at catching fish, which is a complete misconception.
You need to have faith in your fishing skills and keep the best gear; you won’t face trouble catching the sunfish with a barbless hook.
You will find many anglers who don’t believe that they should follow some steps to dehook a fish safely. Even you will meet anglers who hurriedly unhook the fish and cause damage to the fish.
But you shouldn’t be like them; in lieu, you need to follow the correct ways we have mentioned above to unhook the sunfish without harming it. Anyway, we hope you liked this content and will utilize the information in your fishing journey, and stay connected with us on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter.