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Safely Using Fish Grippers


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#1 GC

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:32 PM

Until the past two years, the vast majority of my fishing and catching experience has centered around carp and shad. Both of these species are toothless at least in the mouth and can be relatively easily released with undue trauma to the fish. I'd estimate 90 percent of the carp and shad I catch, never leave the water and the 10 percent that do it is only for a brief period of time.

 

Recently, I have had the good fortune to catch some nice toothy predators. Safely landing them especially in the kayak is a challenge. I actually have not landed one in the kayak. I'm usually relatively close to shore, so I normally get out of the yak to land the fish. I've been using fish grippers to hold the fish while I unbutton them. The bowfin have unbuttoned pretty easily, but I found with snakeheads it is usually easier simply to cut the hooks from the lure and pull the hooks through.

 

The problem with the grippers on the bowfin is they rip through the skin of the lower jaw (photo below). Is there anyway to avoid this?

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#2 ILoveFishing

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 05:46 PM

I have the same grippers and i really think its the grippers itself.....those field and stream ones are rough on fish.  have had them cut through flatheads and stripers mouths.   i was thinking of wrapping the ends with like electrical tape or rubber/plastic tubing or somthing to be easier on the fish.  I have the xtools scale too but that has little rubber pieces on the end.  

 

These are pretty good grippers that have a very accurate scale too.  The item is discontinued now and is getting hard to find.....very hard.   Here is a new one for sale at a pretty good price if interested.  Its waterproof and it floats too!  Can also store a number of weights also. 

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item51c3ec7b12


Itching for some fishing.

#3 GC

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 07:52 PM

I have the same grippers and i really think its the grippers itself.....those field and stream ones are rough on fish.  have had them cut through flatheads and stripers mouths.   i was thinking of wrapping the ends with like electrical tape or rubber/plastic tubing or somthing to be easier on the fish.  I have the xtools scale too but that has little rubber pieces on the end.  

 

These are pretty good grippers that have a very accurate scale too.  The item is discontinued now and is getting hard to find.....very hard.   Here is a new one for sale at a pretty good price if interested.  Its waterproof and it floats too!  Can also store a number of weights also. 

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item51c3ec7b12

Thanks for the feedback Chris. I think I'm going to try some flex tubing with tape over the tips... hopefully provide more of a cushion.  I'm going to search around and see what other type are available.

 

If anyone has any other suggestions I'd appreciate hearing how you deal with toothy predators. I hate causing any unnecessary damage to the fish. Catching them is traumatic enough.



#4 GC

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:07 PM

I want to add that I am not interested in weighing the fish...

 

I simply want to have a safe way for me and the fish to get unbuttoned and released. I put the gripper on while the fish is still in the water. The damage occurs almost immediately when the fish thrashes and rolls with the gripper in it's mandible. I do not lift the fish solely by the gripper. I elevate the head with the gripper while supporting the body with my hand. The damage is done almost immediately. Been reading where this is a common problem. The only fish I've had to use this on are bowfin and snakeheads. I originally purchased it for stripers, but have been able to handle stripers without it.



#5 GC

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:28 PM

After doing some research I've read that certain grippers have a rotating head that eases the tension when the fish thrashes and rolls. From what I've read Boga's are designed this way. Also Bass Pro has a model with a swivel handle.



#6 GC

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 12:02 PM

Put some surgical tubing over the ends and wrapped with back duct tape... Hope this works for the upcoming weekend. I am shopping around for another alternative.

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#7 Doc Watson

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 12:51 PM

I used Heat Shrink Tubing to hold a 2 piece rod together that kept coming apart while casting and thought it might be useful in this application.  

 

You might try slipping a piece over the ends of the gripper with the surgical tubing in place or even doing a few layers of the tubing itself to add some padding to the tip. Then round the ends to fit the griper tongs and heat shrink it on.  That should stop the thing from cutting through the fish and make a neater job than the duct tape.



#8 mr.fish

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 01:34 PM

Get those orange plastic fish grippers. Cabelas sells them. Caught and released alot of bowfin with those with virtually no damage to there mouth. Bogga grips sucks especially when you have a violent thrashing fish like a bowfin or snakehead.

#9 GC

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:19 PM

I used Heat Shrink Tubing to hold a 2 piece rod together that kept coming apart while casting and thought it might be useful in this application.  

 

You might try slipping a piece over the ends of the gripper with the surgical tubing in place or even doing a few layers of the tubing itself to add some padding to the tip. Then round the ends to fit the griper tongs and heat shrink it on.  That should stop the thing from cutting through the fish and make a neater job than the duct tape.

I believe I could of gotten away solely with the surgical tubing as it fit like a glove. Shrink Tubing would have been a nice finishing touch, but I didn't have any, so when you don't have what you really need... use duct tape. The shrink tubing would have certainly provided a more finished look, but I think the duct tape will at least get me through this weekend. Thanks for the input Doc.



#10 GC

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:22 PM

Get those orange plastic fish grippers. Cabelas sells them. Caught and released alot of bowfin with those with virtually no damage to there mouth. Bogga grips sucks especially when you have a violent thrashing fish like a bowfin or snakehead.

I was hoping you would chime in Mike. I remember your orange fish grippers and was wondering if that is what you used to handle the many fine bowfin you've caught. I figured it was, so I actually ordered a pair last night, but they won't be in till next week. I appreciate your advice.



#11 mr.fish

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 05:20 PM

You can also try grabbing them under the gill plate like u would a musky. Just remember to support their body and avoid your fingers to slide up into thier mouth.

Enjoy the bite while it last, because bowfin seem to shut down hard once water temps get below 60 or so.

#12 GC

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:41 PM

You can also try grabbing them under the gill plate like u would a musky. Just remember to support their body and avoid your fingers to slide up into thier mouth.

Enjoy the bite while it last, because bowfin seem to shut down hard once water temps get below 60 or so.

Thanks Mike... I'm having a blast... hope the bite remains for a few more weekends... seems like the bigger fish are on the feed.



#13 CO

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 01:26 PM

Boga won't damage the fish but the death rolls do suck but it does go easy on the wrists. The orange grippers are good. Just using them this weekend actually.

You do realize this is a great problem to have !

#14 GC

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 02:38 PM

Boga won't damage the fish but the death rolls do suck but it does go easy on the wrists. The orange grippers are good. Just using them this weekend actually.

You do realize this is a great problem to have !


I realize you're joking Joe, but I hate damaging a fish unnecessarily. I guess I'm a bit of a wimp. I feel really bad when I believe I've lessened a fishes chance of survival that I'm going to release. It ruins the thrill of the catch for me. Luckily since posting about this problem I have not had to use the grippers. Thanks for the feedback on the plastic grippers.




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