Will a Fish Die If It Swallows a Hook?

Is it normal that a fish swallows the hook at the end of your fishing line? If it happens, will a fish die if it accidentally takes the hook? For those anglers who are only fishing for fun or as a hobby, with no intentions of eating or selling it afterward, it is a common question to ask. So, this article will answer this tricky yet interesting question.

Since hook has a sharp edge, there’s a huge possibility that the fish will die if it swallows the hook. The damage to the stomach after an accidental hook intake may cause death to the fish eventually. However, there are some instances that a fish will still be alive if it gulped down gut hooks. Additionally, a plated hook or a hook made with metal will rust sooner or later. So, it’s still dangerous even though fish have a pretty tight stomach.

If you want to know more about the effects of accidental intake of hooks on a fish, you’ve come to the right place. This question may sound simple, but it will change the way you treat fish. We have also included several pieces of information that you need to understand about fish and hooks.

How Long Does It Take a Fish Hook to Decompose?

If the hook got lost or left in the fish’s mouth, it takes time to dissolve it naturally. The time depends on the material of the hook and the condition of the water the fish lives. Generally, decomposing the Fishhook may take anywhere between a couple of months to several years. As mentioned, various factors influence the rate of decay for the lost or left hook on the fish’s mouth. What are they? Let’s all find out. 

  • Age of the Hook. Fishing hooks have their wear and tear during their lifetime of use. The moment it got stuck into the fish’s mouth, the Fishhook can be bent, submerged in water, and get so dirty. These events will change the state of the hook, which may result from wearing down the quality. Moreover, the life expectancy of the hook gets shorter. 
  • The Material of the Hook. Either it has a coater body or made from metal, you have to consider the material of the hook. Most hooks that are from wire are often untreated, and it only relies on a protective coating. Therefore, it will tear down faster compared to stainless steel hooks. 
  • Size of the Hook. Generally, smaller hooks dissolve faster compared to larger ones. It’s because they have less mass that nature can breakdown more quickly. On the other hand, other special hooks with a specific thickness and multiple barbs could stick around for much longer.
  • Environmental Conditions. Saltwater is a little bit abrasive so that it can dissolve metals faster compared to freshwater. On the other hand, the river has fast-flowing waters that can produce friction, which could speed up decay. Ponds and lakes have a slower decay process because of their slow-moving waters.

What are the Ways to Avoid Accidental Dropping of Hooks?

As the cliché quote states, “Prevention is the best cure.” It is every angler duty to protect the natural resources underneath the water. The last thing that you want is to kill a fish improperly by accidentally implanting a hook in their stomach. If you want to avoid losing a hook or lure while you’re fishing, here are some simple tips to help you. 

  1. Use Excellent Quality Hooks. It is easy to settle with the cheap ones, but you’ll see much better improvements with good quality hooks. 
  2. Avoid Cutting Your Fishing Line When it Gets Tangled. This tip is pretty much common sense. If you got snagged or tangler fishing line, the best thing to do is to pull it back and retrieve the hook. Then, fix it. It is a simple rule that will prevent the death of fish and other wildlife underwater.
  3. Re-tie Your Hooks and Lines As Often As Possible. If you’ve been using the same fishing line and know for too long underwater, there’s a high possibility that it may become loose and break off. 

Reasons on Why Fish Hooks Get Left in the Mouth of Fish

Dissolving the hook inside the fish’s body will undoubtedly take time if you don’t cut it out. Generally, there are common reasons why a hook gets stuck into the mouth of the fish. First, the fishing line breaks while you’re fighting a fish. If you lose the Tug of war, the fish will swim off with the hook, bait, or lure. Aside from that, here are some reasons why it usually happens.

  • You have a lousy knot, which caused loosened hooks.
  • Some fish have a robust set of teeth, while others don’t have. Therefore, your hook may get lost if it got bitten by big fish like sharks, barracuda, or pike.
  • It usually happens when fighting off with a big fish.

What are the Different Types of Hook?

There are a handful of different specialty fishing hooks available today. They come in various styles, shapes, sizes, and materials used. In this article, we’ve only included the most accessible hooks for fishing. With a better understanding of their different types, you’ll have better decision-making what to and not on your tackle box. 

  • Bait Hooks. They come in different styles, which usually feature a white-bread option. It also has barbs on the shaft for holding the bait, both dead and alive, tightly in place. Bait Hooks with shorter shanks are popular to use in snells, while longer ones are ideal if your just fishing for fun.
  • Circle or Circular Hooks. This type of hook has a specific design, which features a round shape. Manufacturers made Circle hooks are primarily for anglers who love to use live baits. These hooks can increase the hooking percentage while preventing gut hooking fish or accidental swallowing of the hook. Additionally, its barb doesn’t penetrate much, not until the hook reaches the corner of the mouth of the fish.
  • Treble Hooks. This type of hook has three bends and points, which can provide more extensive coverage for artificial baits like crankbaits, jerk baits or topwater baits.
  • Siwash Hooks. They feature longer shanks with a straight eye for ensuring properly fitted lures. Siwash Hooks are popular to use on single-hook baits like spinnerbaits. 
  • Jig Hooks. They feature bent below the hook’s eye at approximately 90 degrees. This type of hook can help you save money because they are a little bit cheaper compared to others.
  • Worm Hooks. They feature wide gaps so that you can be sure that there’s enough adequate clearance for the fish to penetrate. Worm Hooks are sharp and have a solid penetrating strength to hook any size of fish.
  • Aberdeen Hooks. They compose of light wires, which are famous for bait fishing. Aberdeen Hooks have thin metal that allows you to quickly hook the bait with zero to small damage so that it stays alive.
  • Octopus Hooks. These Fish Hooks feature a short, bent, and round shank. Octopus Hooks are suitable for bait fishing when it requires minimal hook weight and size. Also, they are excellent if you want to hook a leech through the sucker. 


Can Fishes Feel Pain?

Fish can feel pain, but it’s somehow different from how we, humans, feel pain. It is a kind of pain at the “anatomical level” wherein the neurons of the fish known as nociceptors detect the potential harm. These hazards include high temperatures, intense pressure, and caustic chemicals.

Do Fish Heal After Being Hooked?

If you’re using lures in catching fish, and if you’re doing it right, you will hook on the fish’s mouth cleanly. It reduces injury and aiding release. Healing of the fish depends on the type of hook. Also, those conditions or factors mentioned at the beginning of this article affects the healing process.

Is It Good to Fish While Raining?

It depends on the kind of fish you’re trying to catch. For example, bass fish are more active in roaming when the weather is cloudy or when it’s pouring. Take note that some fish are more aggressive during the rain, while others are not. However, avoid soaking you live bait for too long.

Final Words

In fishing, it happens that the fish accidentally swallows a hook or gets stuck on its mouth. When it accidentally took the catch, there’s a possibility that the fish would die since it has a sharp edge. The damage to the stomach after an accidental hook intake may cause death to the fish eventually. Regardless of the type of hook, it can be pretty much dangerous even though fish have a pretty tight stomach.

When the hook got stuck on the fish’s mouth, it will eventually decompose. For how long? It depends on different factors, which include: the age of the hook, its material, size, and the changing environmental conditions. Therefore, it is essential to pick the right hook for every type of fish that you want to capture.

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