Largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides were intentionally deeply hooked using a size 2 kahle style live-bait hook and then subjected to one of four hook removal methods: hook left in place, standard removal, standard removal with a barbless hook, and a recently popularized "gill" technique whereby the hook eye is pulled behind the last gill arch and rolled to pop the barb free. Fish hooked in the oral cavity (not deeply hooked) were used as controls. Initial survival and consumption were evaluated for 6 d posthooking in tanks, whereas ponds were utilized to evaluate longer-term (up to 11 months) survival and growth. Food consumption in tanks was significantly higher for orally hooked controls and fish subjected to the gill technique than for those in the other treatments. Initial, 24-h mortality was less than 11% across treatments and was not significantly different among removal methods or orally hooked controls. No differences in growth or survival among deeply hooked fish subjected to the various removal methods or between deeply hooked fish and orally hooked controls were observed for largemouth bass held in ponds for up to 11 months. Overall, our results suggest that deeply hooked largemouth bass caught on hooks comparable to those used in our study have a similar probability of survival regardless of method of hook removal and can have rates of catch-and-release survival similar to that of fish hooked in the oral cavity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law