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wannafish 12-08-2013 12:34 AM

Hook wire diameter; relation to fish injury
I know someone who bought some hooks recently that have quite large wire diameter and he is wondering if these will cause more damage to the fish. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that larger diameter hooks actually cause less tearing of a fish's mouth. Anyone heard that before?

sandfly 12-08-2013 06:55 AM

Re: Hook wire diameter; relation to fish injury
not sure but Mansfield U. is doing a study on hook mortality and such in their fisheries dept. You could get ahold of them and find some info.

bigjim5589 12-08-2013 10:21 AM

Re: Hook wire diameter; relation to fish injury
Wannafish, I have not heard that, but IMO it would depend on the specific hook, the species being hooked, where in it's anatomy it may be hooked & the situation of landing the fish. Prolonged fights with lighter than practical equipment too could cause more damage regardless of the wire diameter. There are many variables that might cause an issue.

Generally, I think most will agree that lighter wire hooks, properly sharp will penetrate easier & quicker than a similar hook of heavier wire. Also, barbless hooks will usually penetrate easier & quicker than a similar size barbed hook even when the wire diameter is the same. This is a matter of larger cross sectional area as the barb penetrates. However additional damage can occur with any hook depending on the length of time it takes to subdue the fish & of course improper handling can compound the possible damage while attempting to remove a hook.

Too many variables to simply say that wire diameter is cause for concern as long as the hook sizes & style being used are reasonable IMO.

It's admirable that folks are concerned for the fish, as well as they should be if they intend to practice catch & release. Even in situations where the fish will be kept & consumed, there should still be some concern as not all fish that may be hooked will be "keepers". However, there's going to be some degree of damage as the hook penetrates & there may be some mortality no matter how careful an angler might be.

With all that said, the fact is that fishing of any type is a blood sport, even fly fishing. The only sure way to prevent damage to the fish is to not fish at all.

For myself, that's not an option! It's a choice we make.

silver creek 12-08-2013 01:02 PM

Re: Hook wire diameter; relation to fish injury
I think hook size is more important than hook diameter. With larger hooks, for example streamers, use barbed and not barbless hooks.

Barbless hooks penetrate deeper and larger barbless hooks can hit the brain or the carotid artery of the trout through the roof of the mouth. They also have a stiletto effect in which the move around and stick the fish multiple times in multiple places which increases the risk that a critical structure will be hit.

About Trout: The Best of Robert J. Behnke from Trout Magazine - Robert J. Behnke - Google Books

The stiletto effect and the reason that treble hooks kill fewer fish than we would expect is documented in a Robert Behnke's book, About Trout.

"There is, however a slight but consistent increase in mortality due to barb-less hooks.

John Deinstadi, a California Fish and Game Department biologist with long experience with catch-and-release fisheries, believes this is due to what he calls the ‘stiletto effect.’ Barbless hook have the tendency to penetrate more deeply. Although mortality of released trout rapidly increases with warmer water temperatures (especially as temperatures approach 70 degrees), under normal conditions, almost all mortality of trout caught on flies or artificial lures is due to rupture of the respiratory filaments of the gills or puncture of the carotid artery in the roof of the mouth. Because of their greater penetration power, barbless hooks are more prone to puncture the carotid artery. Large treble hooks often cause the least mortality because, unless the trout is quite large, the hooks cannot be engulfed into the mouth.”

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