Volume 73

Testing Modified Self-Release Hooks for Use in Recreational Fishing

Harris, H.
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Date: November, 2020

Pages: 27-29

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Three Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Virtual

Country: Virtual


Discard mortality can make fishing unsustainable even in catch-and-release or highly regulated consumption fisheries. However, the fitness and survival chances of released fish can be improved considerably if anglers utilize best fishing practices to minimize hook injury, handling, and air exposure. This study tested standard and modified hook designs to assess whether a novel, bite-shorted modified hook (versus standard and barbless hooks) could allow anglers successfully land a popular coastal sport fish, Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and then self-release it in the water and without handling. The bite-shortened hook demonstrated promising results by allowing anglers to land a similar proportion of fish: 91% for bite shortened hook versus 94% and 99% for barbless and standard hooks, respectively. Bite shortened hooks also enabled anglers to self-release 87% of fish, compared to 47% and 20% for barbless and standard hooks. Eighty percent of these fish were self-released <5 seconds. Continued study of self-releasing hooks appears warranted with other lure types, fish species, and anglers. With further validation of self-releasing hooks, catch-and-self-release fishing practices could allow for increased fishing opportunities in recovering fisheries or sensitive areas, e.g., to allow catch-and-release fishing in no-take aquatic protected areas, with minimal discard effects.

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