Bolt Cutters for Hook Removal
All offshore fishermen working with large hooks have the potential of getting hooked themselves. It’s almost unavoidable. No matter how careful you are, accidents happen.
We go to great lengths to ensure the safety of the crew, but the risk is always lurking. And if and when someone does get a big offshore hook in their flesh, you’re going to need to do your best to get that baby out.
Simply put, a pair of bolt cutters is a must have on a boat!
Bolt cutters provide the easiest means to cut an angler free from a flopping fish or to clip the end of a hook off, thus removing the barb. The bolt cutters are really the only tool for the job. The cutters don’t need to be giant, but they do need to work.
You can find a small pair of bolt cutters at your local home improvement store, but I’ve never seen any that are marine grade. That can be a major problem on the boat. Bolt cutters will most likely be buried deep in a storage locker for years in hopes of not needing them. Salt air and moisture will cause them to rust and even lock them up, which you probably won’t discover until the dreaded day you actually need them.
My friend Capt. Chuck Rehm gave me an idea on storing the bolt cutters that worked perfectly. We cleaned and oiled the cutters and then vacuum sealed them for storage. Hopefully we will never break the seal, but if we do, they should work just fine.
Carrying a big bottle of disinfectant on board is also a good idea too, along with a well-stocked and maintained first-aid kit.
To avoid possible mishaps, take that extra second to secure hooks and lures when clearing lines or prepping your spread.
Drop baits and lures in a bucket, not on the deck. Don’t stretch leaders across walkways and don’t try to get the hooks out of a flopping fish.
Create a routine that minimizes the amount of people around the gaff man and don’t bring a fish over the gunnel into a crowd or the angler. Go straight to a fish box if possible, drop the fish in and close the lid. Wait till the fish stops flopping to retrieve the hook.