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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Use a long needle nose pliers. Also consider tethering them so you don’t drop them in the lake.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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