The proper way to hold a Bluegill is to first be sure your hands are wet. Next, slide your hand down the fish starting at the mouth and move toward the belly. Keep your fingers on top, and your thumb underneath the fish. This will push the fins downward so they do not poke you.
Be careful not to overgrip the fish, apply the same amount of pressure as if you were holding hands with someone. Usually, Bluegill will flop or squirm but after a moment they calm down. To ensure the safety of the fish, minimize the time a fish is out of the water before releasing.
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Can You Hold Bluegill By The Mouth?
The mouth of a Bluegill is very small, so it’s not possible to hold it by the mouth. The exception is for very large specimens (10 inches or larger). However, this should be avoided because it can damage the jaw of the fish.
Always support the fish under the belly in a horizontal position. Bluegill and Panfish are usually small enough they can easily be held with one or two hands very gently or even by the fishing line so you never have to touch the fish.
How Do You Get a Bluegill Off The Hook?
To get a Bluegill off the Hook, you’ll want first get control of the fish by grabbing the line or netting the fish. Wet your hands, and carefully grab the Bluegill. In many cases, the hook can simply be removed by turning the hook toward the fish and pulling out. Here is a great video showing how:
How Do You Remove A Swallowed Bluegill Hook?
If you Bluegill fish long enough, you’re going to encounter fish that swallow the hook. So what do you do? Well, that’s a personal decision.
If you are keeping fish to eat, you may try removing the hook with a pair of pliers or fishing forceps. You may injure the fish if doing this, but if you are going to keep it for food anyway that is your decision. Check out my article on how to catch, clean, and cook Bluegill.
If you are planning on releasing the fish and it has swallowed the hook, you can simply cut the line and release the fish. In some cases, the hook will rust our or ‘pass’ through the fish without injury.
Another option is to use a fish ‘de-hooker‘. There are various models available for purchase online.
How to Keep Fish From Swallowing The Hook
To prevent fish from swallowing the hook, follow these basic steps:
- Pay close attention to your line and bait. The number one reason fish swallow the hook is because they are given too long before setting the hook. Once you feel a bite- set the hook!
- If using live bait, consider using circle hooks or Kahle hooks. These hooks are specifically designed to prevent fish from swallowing the hook and they work very well.
- Consider pinching down the barbs on your hooks. This will greatly increase your chances of removing the hook without hurting the fish.
- Be sure you are using the correct size and style hooks for what you are fishing for. Hooks come in a wide variety of styles and sizes and each of them has a purpose.
Want to increase your chances of catching BIG Bluegill?
Bluegill fishing is extremely popular in North America. These fish are so much fun, and great to eat.
To increase your chances of hookups next time your out, check out my article on the top 10 Bluegill Lures of All Time.
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