The large size of muskies can make them look tough, but they’re actually pretty delicate fish. Here are a few essential tools to help you take care of them for a quick and gentle release:
- Use a large net. Make sure to choose a net that’s wide and deep enough to accommodate a fish up to 50+ inches long so you have time to prepare your camera and your release tools.
- Use a long needle nose pliers. Also consider tethering them so you don’t drop them in the lake.
- Have a good pair of hook cutters. If you get a fish that’s hooked in the gills or other vulnerable areas like near the eye, hooks are cheap to replace and it’s better to just cut them.
- Keep large jaw spreaders on hand. If a fish is hooked deep, this is a great tool to help hold the mouth open so you can get your needle nose pliers in there further.
- Make sure you have a baker tool and/or a tyrant hook remover tool. These tools can also help you pull hooks out of fish when they’re in difficult to reach places.