When you first start fishing, it seems like you just take every fish you catch. Maybe this happens because you don’t catch as many fish. Perhaps the importance of catch-and-release is lost to you at this point in your development as an angler. Personally, as I’ve developed as an angler, I practice CPR (catch, photograph, and release) more and more.
As I CPR more often, it pains me when a fish swallows the hook so deeply that it seems like the only option is to either take the fish or cut the line and hope for the best. This article from Everything Smallmouth gives you another option that, when successful, gives the fish a better chance at survival.
We have all been there. You’re slow to set the hook because the wind is blowing and you don’t feel the bite. You land the bass and your heart sinks as you see you’ve gut hooked the fish and you fear this catch and release won’t go so well. You fiddle around with the hook and decide to cut the line and hope the hook will disintegrate.
Sometimes after cutting the line, the bass will actually repel the hook. If it is embedded in the tissue, it will stay there for years and will reduce or stops the ability of the bass to eat. Hooks these days take a long time to rust and disintegrate. The bass may survive but it is going to have trouble.
Photos: Everything Smallmouth