University of Florida

Dehooking

Dehooking devices, or dehookers, remove a hook without allowing it to re-engage in the fish. They should be blunt with rounded edges, and the appropriate size for the hook you are removing and the fish you have caught. Dehooking tools can be found in many stores that sell fishing gear, or can be purchased online.

Regulations

Fishers on all vessels fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico and federal waters of the Atlantic, are required to possess and use a dehooking device to remove hooks embedded in reef fish with minimal damage.

Tips for Using Dehookers

  • A good rule of thumb is to use a dehooker if you can see the hook. If you cannot see the hook, cut the leader as close to the hook as possible without removing the fish from the water.
  • Some dehookers are designed to remove swallowed hooks, so you may want to consider carrying this type of device in addition to other dehooking tools.
  • Check to see if the fish needs to be vented before returning it to the water.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Florida Sea Grant marine extension agent Bryan Fluech has made an easy-to-understand video demonstrating how dehookers work.

ARC Dehooker makes available this short video demonstrating how dehookers work. Watch Video

Benefits

  • Better post-release survival for fish - the hook is quickly removed and the fish returned to the water.
  • Prevents removal of a fish’s protective slime coating. Using a dehooker prevents fishermen from handling the fish. Handling a fish can remove a its protective slime coating.
  • Angler safety and easy tackle retrieval.

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