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help with a hold

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This past weekend fishing for pike, I caught a Muskie (1st time for me).

It was around 30-35 inches and too fat to grab it behind the head. I know they are out of season but since it was the first one I really wanted to take a quick photo so I attempted a gill plate hold (also first time for me).

I read a lot about holds on here before, and it sounded straight forward, and in all the pictures the guys make it look effortless.

When I went for the hold I felt as though my thumb was dangling beside its mouth and would be inside it if it trashed at all. I tried putting it on top and pressing down but didn't have much control, so instead of hurting myself or the fish I decided to let it go and try again when the season opens.


If anyone could help me out with proper technique or has tips that work for them I would greatly appreciate it, as I don't want to miss the next opportunity.


thanks guys.


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Tons of guys know more about muskie handling on this site than me. I use this "Leech Lake Lip Lock" for bigger fish http://globalflyfish...r/pike_landing/



I suggest landmarking with a smaller pike 20" or less then the larger fish are easier because there is more gap under the jaw. Perfect practice makes perfect.


I fold my thumb down especially when not wearing a glove. No reason for thumb to be "dangling" in front of a large pike or muskie mouth.

Its the other fingers that are doing the holding.



I find my confidence with my hand next to a tooth filled mouth goes up 100% when using a puncture proof fishing glove. I bass lip anything under 25" (but over 15") when I'm getting ready to hold it horizontally. I never hold them vertically, and I like using the cradle when I can (but I'm building a holding pen to try out this summer).


edit: A few times with the glove on and fish unhooked I just reached underneath with one then both arms and scooped the fish out, bypassing the lip lock completely. It helps not to have the fish too green or else it will thrash in your arms.


Also watch your back while lifting bigger fish, try not to twist your torso while lifting. I learned that hard lesson.


I think the key to it all is confidence. I noticed scared animals can tell and will use every opportunity to escape if they sense you are unsure.



Of course having all your tools ready pliers, bolt cutters, etc will help you avoid disasters.

Edited by Syn

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The gill cover on a musky makes for a very solid handle to hold onto and the bigger the fish, the better grip you can get. Slide your fingers under the bottom of the cover and all the way in being VERY careful not to touch the gills. Put your thumb on the outside and press in to give give yourself a solid grip. Don't worry though, she can't bite you, although the gill rakers inside can cut your fingers but it's usually just minor and nothing to worry about. If you want to take a picture of the fish, keep hold of the gill plate and put your other hand under her belly and hold her horizonal. Keep a solid grip on her though because they'll often start to thrash and you don't want to drop her on the floor of the boat. I was holding a fish one time to remove the hook and she thrashed so hard I dropped her but in the process she somehow sliced my hand open for 8 stitches, so just be careful.




Take a fast picture then put her back in the water, keeping one hand on her tail and the other under her belly for support. Once she can stay upright by herself, take your hand away from her belly while still keeping a light grip on her tail and she'll take off when shes ready.



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Syn, Lew,


Thanks for the info. It will definitely come in handy this summer when I target them. Hopefully have some pictures to show them off too!

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