If you’ve spent any amount of time on the water and have caught your favorite trophy fish, chances are good you’ve struggled a time or two removing a hook from your catch. There’s probably been a time when you’ve needed a hook removal tool but haven’t had one.
Let’s take a look at fish hook removers, why anglers might use one instead of just using pliers, and which fishing hook removers can make releasing your fish quick and easy.
Why Do You Need a Fish Hook Remover?
Obviously, we all hope that fishing is more than just sitting on the boat with your bait in the water. You want to land a big fish and drag it onto the boat. But removing the bait hook in a quick and humane way can be important.
Whether you are big on catch and release or will be taking that fish home for dinner, you need to remove the hook. Some hooks can be low in the throat and difficult to remove, while others can be buried into the side of the mouth and give you trouble getting them released.
Using your fingers is possible for some mouth hooks, but a fish with teeth can thrash around, cutting up your hand. A gut hook will require a long tool that can not only grab the hook but manipulate it in such a way that it is removed from the fish.
That’s where a designated fish hook remover comes in. They’re longer than pliers, so they can reach down into the fish’s mouth to grab a hook. They’re also a great way to protect your hand from sharp teeth or spines the fish may have.
Best Fish Hook Removal Tools: Quick Picks
This must-have 13 inch removal tool gives you a firm grip on even deep set treble hooks in the fish's mouth.
If you’re looking for a simple hook remover that gets the job done without fancy bells and whistles, this is the right tool for you!
Best Fishing Hook Removal Tools: Full Reviews
If you’re tired of putting your fingers near the razor-sharp teeth of trout and snapper, reach for the R2 instead. This long 9-inch hook removal tool will grab ahold of the hook without risking your fingers.
It’s made from highly corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum, which makes it equally versatile for use in freshwater or saltwater.
The ergonomic handle and tight grip on the hook give you full control over twisting and removal so you can get your fish returned to the water quickly.
- Gives you a solid 9 inches long for low-set hooks
- Ergonomic handle for comfort throughout regular and long-term use
- Highly corrosion resistant, which makes it great for saltwater use
If you’re landing the big fish and need a hook remover that can hold its own with trophy-sized monster fish, here it is. Measuring just over 13 inches, you are able to reach down into the mouth of extremely large fish and grab the hook.
The comfortable pistol-grip not only makes the tool easy to use with one hand, but it also gives you full control over when and how to grab the hook, as well as how to give it a twist for easy and quick removal.
Extremely durable and marine resistant, this tool can give you years of use whether you are a weekend casual fisher, or a daily pro out on the boat.
- Huge 13 inch length for large fish or stomach hooked fish
- Available in a wide range of colors to make it easy to locate
- Comfortable pistol-grip makes it easy to articulate with one hand
This hook removal tool is an old standby for a lot of anglers, both casual and professional. Its design is not as sleek and fancy as the newer models, but it offers a versatile and perfectly useful shape.
When you want to locate, grab, and remove a hook fast - the R1 is the removal tool for you. Whether you are dealing with a barbed mouth hook or a gut hook, the 11-inch reach can get it done.
Whether you are fishing in fresh or saltwater, the stainless steel construction will give you effective use for many years to come, no matter how often you use it.
- Older design that has been tested time and time again
- Long 11-inch reach for grabbing even deep-set hooks
- Corrosion-resistant and durable for freshwater or saltwater use
Whether you are fishing at night, or simply want a better look down the throat of your fish, having a lighted hook remover tool is a great option.
The bright LED bulb can give you a clear view of the hook no matter how deep it may have gone before being set.
Made from heavy duty materials including a combination of aluminum and stainless steel, this tool is both marine resistant and extremely durable for a long time of regular use.
- Bright LED light gives you a great view of the hook
- Extremely durable construction with stainless steel and aluminum
- Very strong hook clamp means you can grab and remove the hook fast
This is an excellent budget-friendly option for anglers that work with smaller fish or simply want a hook removal tool for the occasional weekend fishing trips.
The handle is somewhat short, measuring just over 6 inches long, but if you can reach the hook, this tool can and will quickly remove it from the fish.
It’s made from anodized aluminum, which means you won’t have to worry about corrosion when fishing in marine areas, and it’s extremely comfortable for one-handed use.
- Corrosion-resistant material construction
- Budget-friendly, entry-level hook removal tool
- Six-inch length is great for smaller fish
Things to Look for in a Hook Remover
Fish hook removal items can be made from a range of materials, though stainless steel and anodized aluminum are the most popular. You may also find some hook removers in plastic too, especially if you are looking for budget items.
Stainless steel is extremely durable and very strong. You can use a stainless steel fish hook remover on even a difficult fish and a very deep set hook. However, stainless steel can still corrode in ocean water.
Aluminum is extremely popular and very lightweight. It’s a great option for marine fishing as it won’t corrode like stainless steel does, however, due to the lightweight construction of an aluminum fish hook remover, it can be prone to breaking when under pressure.
Plastic hook removers are an equal mix of corrosion resistance and durability. They are not as durable as stainless steel but share the same corrosion resistance as aluminum. Plastic is very affordable but will need to be replaced much more often, especially if it is left in the sun for any amount of time.
Many fish hook removers are scissor-type which means your hands opening or closing will control the opening and closing of the mechanism on the other end. This gives you a good grip and full control.
Some fish hook tools will have internal springs which help control the component that grabs the hook shaft. These are an excellent choice for one-handed use and can be great for a large wire barb.
Older-style hook removers can be found in one single piece of metal. They can be extremely durable but may require some practice before you can get good at using them one-handed quickly.
As with any fishing equipment, quality can range across a wide scale. You may be able to find lower-end hook removers that are great for occasional weekend trips but won’t hold up to the serious angler’s needs.
In this case, you will want to pay a bit more for a higher-quality removal tool. In many cases, higher-end removal tools are versatile and heavy-duty, making them a great choice for removing mouth or gut hooks on both fresh and marine fish.
Other Options for Removing Hooks from Fish
Chances are good that if you have a tackle box, you have a pair of needle nose pliers inside it. Pliers are a great tool that can be used for everything from weight crimping to boat repairs.
As a hook removal tool, however, they can be limited. They’re large and bulky and have a shorter handle length that puts your hand at risk of being cut or punctured by the fish’s teeth.
Similar to pliers, hemostats and forceps are much thinner and normally have a longer handles. While this smaller size is great for smaller species of fish, such as smallmouth bass and panfish, the handle length can still put your fingers at risk of being scraped or punctured by the fish’s teeth.
Hemostats and forceps are less of a multi-use tool and more of a specific hook removal tool, but are they better than a designated hook removal tool? In many cases, no. While they do offer a slender tip and locking jaws for grabbing the hook, the durability and handle length may leave much to be desired.
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