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Well since I can’t get up to NY to run any charters spent Saturday trolling for musky and was lucky enough to get a big girl!

48”er on a 8” Jake trolling in 16 fow. at 3.6 mph. Awesome fight and just a pig!

Released after a quick couple pics.

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That’s great!


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Congrats. Nice size fish with a beautiful pattern. Im curious because of the pattern on the fish, What state are you fishing? NJ? I’m in western PA.


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Congrats. Nice size fish with a beautiful pattern. Im curious because of the pattern on the fish, What state are you fishing? NJ? I’m in western PA.

I live on the PA/NJ border and fish both in NJ and PA.

Pretty lucky here have a bunch of musky waters producing some quality opportunities to fish for musky.

This particular one was from PA.

Only crappy part out this way is most waters have some type of horsepower restriction or are electric motor only.

Only the Delaware River and Lake Hopatkong and Greenwood Lake are unlimited horsepower bodies of water.


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Cool. Nice fish again. I’ve been having a great spring out my way too.


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That's a nice one. Congrats!

I like the 2nd picture better than the first. Trying to be helpful:

https://muskie.outdoorsfirst.com/board/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=96369
 


scroll down to the pike photo / section:

https://www.northernontario.travel/northeastern-ontario/how-to-properly-hold-a-fish

https://www.in-depthoutdoors.com/community/forums/topic/proper-hold-for-pikemuskie/

and from (https://www.sageflyfish.com/redneck-musky):

"Musky need to be kept horizontal. The vertical, gill plate hold that we see in so many old faded pictures is not good for the fish. A big heavy fish is not supposed to be held that way; it puts a ton of stress on all the internal organs and can lead to killing a fish."

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Sets a bad example at a minimum...and even if there isn't undue weight on the jaw you aren't supporting the internal organs... horizontal is how it's done.  

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Unfortunately, yes it's always the same thing... Proper fish handling when you intend to release a fish should be priority number 1 regardless of species.  Please check out this publication from NYSDEC item number 6.  We aren't making this up.  If you want to keep a legal fish that's fine, but if you want to release the fish do some research and act accordingly. Every single week of the season I find floaters on the lake and fish mortality from handling is real.  These aren't salmon that mature in 4 years...they take over a decade to mature.  If anyone wants info on proper handling or anything for that matter ask questions please!  Screenshot_20200410-090422.thumb.png.57527ce177391341d3111bf25af43768.png

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Wow - Awesome fish Pete!

Justin - Thanks for posting about the vertical handling which is good to know. However, it brings up another subject regarding catch and release. Is it better to try and dislodge a hook that's deeply embedded even if they lose some blood or is it better to just let the fish go with the hook in there? I've heard conflicting opinions where some say the fish will starve with the hook in there and some say the fish will die with any blood loss so leave it in. Some believe as long as the fish swims away it'll be fine. 

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You may be surprised that most of the big tigers that are caught on my boat have a hook of some kind buried in them somewhere.   I've gotten lots of cuts from grabbing fish by the jaw and getting hooked by someone else's hook. Any hook that is bleeding a little I would cut for sure.  Im not saying the way I do hook removal is the best as every situation is different.  I use walleye sized hooks for the most part, and they usually will bend and twist out pretty easy.   Any hook that is tough I cut with bolt cutters immediately.  All can say is whatever I decide to do it happens quickly and IN THE WATER!  Not every fish that swims away is going to make it or I wouldn't find floaters.  Even the most careful conservation minded angler is gonna screw up fish handling in the beginning.  It takes practice no doubt and even then things happen.

 

Another thing I do, and many others do, is when you have a stressed out fish simply unhook, revive and don't lift it for a picture.  In fact I don't lift any of my own fish for pictures even if they aren't stressed.  I definitely would try for a pic on an exceptional fish if it was fresh, but I have enough pics of fish.  When I do lift a fish for a pic I hold my breath when I do it...and when I'm short of breath the fish goes back. Here is a pic of a fresh night tiger I caught in the net and one young Maddox caught on a top water boatside and you can see I'm holding my breath.  

If you are fishing pures there are several great guys in chapter 69 and chapter 70 that can give lots of advice for anyone with questions.  We all have our own ideas on the best conservation minded practices but we all agree on one thing...don't handle big esox vertically if you are releasing them.

 

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1 hour ago, maddog said:

Wow - Awesome fish Pete!

Justin - Thanks for posting about the vertical handling which is good to know. However, it brings up another subject regarding catch and release. Is it better to try and dislodge a hook that's deeply embedded even if they lose some blood or is it better to just let the fish go with the hook in there? I've heard conflicting opinions where some say the fish will starve with the hook in there and some say the fish will die with any blood loss so leave it in. Some believe as long as the fish swims away it'll be fine. 

A lot of my fish unhook themselves in the bag since I use single hooks most of the time. Whenever a hook doesnt just pop out, it gets cut (with fish in the water). What's a couple $0.25 hooks when it comes to saving a fish. Knipex (must have) will go right through the post of a treble and they come out easier when the bait is out of the way, but don't even try after cutting if it's in the gills or vulnerable area, unless the point is exposed and it slides right out that way. There's also debate going around about using gatoraid or coca cola, ect.. to stop a fish from bleeding but I have no knowledge of if it's actually safe/reliable. I've seen musky and trout guys doing it. 

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The bass tournament guys have been using soda on deep hooked smallmouth for years.. I can't confirm it works either and truthfully it didn't work when I tried it on a smallmouth.  Ive only had 1 bad bleeder tiger that nothing was gonna help and the fish had to be kept.  I agree completely agree with not disturbing a hook in a vulnerable area.  Water temp and air temp are also factors in how much I handle a fish.  It's good to talk about these issues as we can ALL learn.  

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What @justtracytrolling and @White Wolf is sound advice. Knipex are great and I 2nd that recommendation. Releasing fish without pics is also a good idea especially if you already have plenty of pics of similar fish.

For my part, I always approach a fish from the tail first (i.e. fish don't swim or jump backwards). You can avoid getting hooked yourself this way and, yes, I've ended up with hooks in my fingers or hand because it's natural to reach towards the head first. 

If you turn a fish to its back, they will become more docile. From there, you can usually get hold of the fish with one hand using a gill hold. There's plenty of info out there demonstrating / detailing the gill hold technique. 

https://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/fishing/2010/02/gill-plate-grab-catch-release-pike-without-net/

https://www.in-depthoutdoors.com/community/forums/topic/proper-hold-for-pikemuskie/
 


https://www.outdoorhub.com/how-to/2017/03/10/video-properly-hold-muskie/

I tap most of the barbs down on my hooks. It's much easier to unhook a fish as well as to unhook yourself. However, you will still find circumstances wherein a fish is deeply hooked & may require the cutting of the hooks. For example, if a treble is somehow wrapped up in the gills, just cut the hooks. The smaller pieces usually drop out the sides of the gills and the lure / main hook shank is released. As such, having jaw spreaders can also be very helpful.

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For anyone that doesnt already know, Baker Fishing Tools make's a long T handle style hookout that work's far better than pliers for reaching into a toothy mouth or even hooks outside of the mouth. Better grab and leverage and they are pretty cheap. Just don't use it to remove a hook that shouldn't be

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