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Thread: Bluegill mortality

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    Default Bluegill mortality

    The other day I got a phone call from a friend that took his children to a fishing seminar. One of the people that was providing instruction mentioned that the children should be very careful when attempting to remove hooks from bluegill because bluegill are hemophiliacs. He went on to say that the mortality rate for a bleeding fish is 100%. Is there any truth to this? It seems like these little guys have carved out their path alongside numerous predators and would most certainly be extinct if this were the case. The pond where the children were fishing was fairly small, so I was thinking he may have been overstating his theory to ensure that kids were careful when handling the fish.

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    sounds a bit crazy.

    I do know this: fish have evolved for the most part so their blood clots on contact with water.

    I recommend as much care and leaned technique for handling fish...it's always good practice whether releasing them to swim/live more...or to 'creel' them for later cleaning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sven View Post
    The other day I got a phone call from a friend that took his children to a fishing seminar. One of the people that was providing instruction mentioned that the children should be very careful when attempting to remove hooks from bluegill because bluegill are hemophiliacs. He went on to say that the mortality rate for a bleeding fish is 100%. Is there any truth to this? It seems like these little guys have carved out their path alongside numerous predators and would most certainly be extinct if this were the case. The pond where the children were fishing was fairly small, so I was thinking he may have been overstating his theory to ensure that kids were careful when handling the fish.
    Wow, where in the world did you find a Lepomid hemotologist? I have never met anyone like that myself. (insert sarcasm smilie here)

    If fish get poked by a hook in the right place, or wrong place depending on how you look it, they will bleed. That is true for bluegills, bass, muskies, flatheads, tuna, gobies, and whatever. None of them are "hemophiliacs". I am not aware of that blood disorder being documented in fish. If you keep them out of the water, they will tend to keep bleeding; the bleeding will stop if you get them back into the water.

    The mortality rate does tend to be higher for fish that are bleeding, but it is not necessarily 100%. If you keep them out of the water and let them bleed, sure, 100% of them are going to die. But, if you get them back in the water, even if the fish have severe injuries, many of them will survive. In fact, for fish that are bleeding, if they are back in the water as soon as possible, the mortality rate will be A LOT less than 100%. Of course whether a fish survives or not depends not only on if they are bleeding but the extent of the bleeding, where they were injured and the extent of the injury. Studies have shown that bleeding fish do have higher mortality rates, but those studies have also shown that a surprising number of those fish can survive if they are back in the water from which they came.

    If you are taking the kids fishing for some bluegills or "sunnies", instead of using plain hooks try some small, 1/32 oz or smaller jig-heads. Hang those small jig heads under a bobber just like you would a plain hook, bait them with a piece of nightcrawler, worm, GULP! or wax worm and the bluegills will bite. With the weight of the jig head those bluegills will be a lot less likely to swallow the hooks, they will be hooked near the opening of the mouth and a lot easier to unhook and release!

    Daryl Bauer
    Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
    daryl.bauer@nebraska.gov
    http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/...d-backlashes//

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitetips View Post
    If you are taking the kids fishing for some bluegills or "sunnies", instead of using plain hooks try some small, 1/32 oz or smaller jig-heads. Hang those small jig heads under a bobber just like you would a plain hook, bait them with a piece of nightcrawler, worm, GULP! or wax worm and the bluegills will bite. With the weight of the jig head those bluegills will be a lot less likely to swallow the hooks, they will be hooked near the opening of the mouth and a lot easier to unhook and release!
    man am I amazed at the simplicity of this approach and the impact it has on the fish. very cool tip that I don't think I've ever seen before...

    thanks DB!!!

    I'm going to use this one...

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    Am I the only one that carries an extra tube of neosporin for cases of bleeding fish?

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    I kind of figured this was the case. Thanks for the information!!!

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    Doesn't the death rate of fish rise dramatically if the bleeding is coming from damaged gills?

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    This tip is not new, but is well appreciated. Sometimes simple things need to be repeated over and over just to reach a new audience. This tip also works well for bullheads. Tired of bullhead swallowing the hook? A crappie jig with a piece of nightcrawler with or without a bobber works. I have also caught small catfish, walleye and perch that will just pick the jig off the bottom whether you are retrieving it or not. Fish often flare their gills to suck in bait, the slightly bulkier and heavier jig gets swallowed much less.

    Thanks
    Frank

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    I think he was trying to make sure the kids removed the hook gently. How many times have you seen kids step on the fish and pull the hook(and everything else)out.
    Keeper of the Blue Bucket


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    Bluegill mortality would be pretty high if a bubba (Me) stepped on one.

    frank

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    Quote Originally Posted by backreeler View Post
    Doesn't the death rate of fish rise dramatically if the bleeding is coming from damaged gills?
    As I said, the mortality rate tends to be somewhat higher for a fish that is bleeding, and that bleeding may come from damaged gills or elsewhere. Whether a fish will actually die or not depends on a lot of variables, location of injury, extent of injury, extent of bleeding, water temperature, landing and handling time, health of fish, etc., etc. No, I would not say that just because a fish is bleeding from a gill injury that they are more likely to die; if they are bleeding they are more likely to die no matter where they are injured, BUT just because they are bleeding it does not mean that mortality is 100%. Get 'em back in the water, even if they are bleeding from a gill injury and they will have a chance to survive.

    Daryl Bauer
    Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
    daryl.bauer@nebraska.gov
    http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/...d-backlashes//

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    Must have been a lot of bluegill hemophiliacs at UP yesterday. I saw probably 100 dead ones almost evenly distributed along the bank.

    I did pick up a Kool-Aid package, so that might explain it.

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    Wow, where in the world did you find a Lepomid hemotologist
    Just cuz you've got a brush dont make you a painter

    Eighty percent of success is showing up.



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    Quote Originally Posted by backreeler View Post
    Doesn't the death rate of fish rise dramatically if the bleeding is coming from damaged gills?
    Actually the mortality rate in this case is lower than if they have bleeding from a filet knife wound.
    All fishermen are born honest ... but they soon get over it. --- Ed Zern

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    Wow, a timely discussion, thank you Sven!

    The Outdoor Discovery Kids program first day, I used my handy long nosed side cutters on (too) many fish that had the gold Aberdeen's down in their craw. At the end of the day, we had only ONE fish (8" troot) floating. "We" would nip the hook at the bend, and if the fish was bleeding "profusely", it went back into the water, no pic attempted.

    Without that long nosed nipper, I can tell you (from past YF Events) the (released) survival rate was NOT GOOD! And who knows how many "perished" later...

    The troot fortunately was caught during the next to the last "session". Explaining floating DEAD fish to kids, many who are on their "maiden" fishing adventure, I PROMISE YOU is NOT something one wants to 'splain! The demise of the fish came about because it had a hook in its gullet, was hanging by the same while pics were being taken and a volunteer was "on his way".

    I 'spose the "bounce" off the floor of the pier didn't do it much good, either... We had it upright in the bucket of water I brought to the pier during "set-up". Once the fish appeared to be "stable and up-right", we attempted a release. We failed in our attempt of a perfect day.

    I, too have heard of using a jighead in place of the Aberdeen hooks and those ridiculously obnoxious steel splitshot. I believe we can increase the survival rate of the bluegills, sunnies, small LMB, and EVEN the "sensitive" troot if "we" can replace those hooks/weights with a jighead!

    Having a pair of long nosed nippers clearly provided a MAJOR change in the live release numbers. Sounds to me like changing our terminal tackle package with jigheads might even limit the need for those nippers!

    Harold F.

    Note, I know it's about $$$'s, but when you are on a pier with 20+ kids and everyone of them is concerned about the "floating fish", maybe some of those "Excise Tax Dollars" could be invested in jigheads... for the KIDS! Hmmmm. I just might know who to talk to about that!
    Last edited by Harold; 05-11-2012 at 07:25 AM.
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    I completely agree with everyone's suggestion of switching to jigheads for bluegills. When I first started fishing with my kids, they caught plenty of bluegills and at least half of them went back in the water with a hook in their gut. After reading about fishing with jigheads (and pinching down the barbs), we switched and rarely if ever anymore do we have to fish out a hook from the inside of a bluegill. The 1/32 oz size seems to work the best for bluegills but the green sunfish (who have bigger mouths than bluegills) will still swallow those sometimes. The 1/16 oz size seems to work best for green sunfish.

    Jigheads are more expensive than plain aberdeen or baitholder hooks but are more economical because you don't have to keep replacing the ones that get swallowed. Use jigheads with pinched down barbs and the kids will have no problems catching and releasing bluegills themselves all day long.
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    He went on to say that the mortality rate for a bleeding fish is 100%.
    Just cuz you've got a brush dont make you a painter

    Eighty percent of success is showing up.



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    And never, I repeat never!!! step on a fish to be released in shoes like these!!



    wow
    Frank

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    Another GREAT REPORT today... on the Kids program at Ft. Kearny. Only ONE lost troot but ALL other fish released and swam off "lively"! A couple young NGPC employees did their best to revive the 15" beast, but it ended up on ice. At least there was no waste! And even more importantly, we didn't have kids "lining up" looking at dead fish floating in front of 'em!

    VERY POSITIVE conversation with "the people in charge" about making a change to jigheads! It won't happen overnite, but rest assured it won't be forgotten!

    In fact to avoid thread theft, look for a new thread wanting advice as "we" do a test run during several YF programs that are lined up!

    Again, THANK YOU SVEN for your report that is responsible (yep, yer fault! HA!) for this effort moving forward!

    Harold F.

    (Until then, my PM is ALWAYS OPEN! Verticle vs Horizontal, the LEAD issue, etc ...)
    Last edited by Harold; 05-11-2012 at 03:49 PM.
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