Main content area

The influence of hook size, type, and location on hook retention and survival of angled bonefish (Albula vulpes)

Stein, Jeffrey A., Shultz, Aaron D., Cooke, Steven J., Danylchuk, Andy J., Hayward, Kit, Suski, Cory D.
Fisheries research 2012 v.113 no.1 pp. 147-152
Albula vulpes, fish, fisheries, mortality, mouth, predators, sports, tanks
Bonefish (Albula spp.) support a circum-tropical sport fishery in which anglers predominantly release angled fish. The influence of hook location, size, and type on hook retention, post-release feeding ability and survival were evaluated. Overall, 46% of bonefish held in large holding tanks expelled hooks within a 14-day observation period. Hooks located in the lip were expelled 2.6 times more frequently than hooks located in the gut. Barbless hooks were expelled 3.9 times faster when located deep in the oral cavity compared to barbed hooks, but there was no difference in expulsion rates among barbed and barbless hooks in shallow-hooked fish. For the two hook sizes studied, hook size had no impact on hook expulsion rates or duration of hook retention regardless of hook location or type. The presence of a hook had no significant effect on weight change, indicating the presence of a hook did not impede feeding ability. No post-release mortality was observed for bonefish during the short duration of this study. Leaving a difficult to remove hook in a bonefish is recommended to increase the likelihood of post-release survival, especially in cases where the threat of bonefish predators is high.