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last night I went fishing in the lake I am staying on in GA.
I was using chicken livers after dark hoping to catch a nice catfish when my pole suddenly was almost tugged into the water.

I grabbed the rod and yanked back and thought I had hooked into a world champion sized catfish. My buddy and I were excited to see line screaming from a pretty tight drag. I battled this thing for the better part of a half hour.

Now, you have to understand that it was dark, and we could barely see anything, but as It got closer to land my friend said -"Thats not a fish dude!".

HAHAHA....at first I thought I must have hooked into the muskrat I had seen several times that day near that spot, but eventually I figured out that is was a HUGE soft shelled turtle. It had to have been 45-50 lbs (on 30lb cheapo line).

I couldnt get the hook out of its mouth. This thing was ferociously trying to bite me, and running all around. SHARP claws.

I ended up having to cut the line and release the turtle with the hook still in its mouth.

Incredibly - I baited the hook and threw it out again. Almost immediately ANOTHER giant soft back turtle on my line! After another long fight I landed it and cut the line on him as well.
It kind of reminded me of the SKATE catching blitzes at Lynnhaven Pier this spring. hahaha..

Well..all this leads me to ask a question. When you have to cut a line on a thing like a turtle, skate, or fish, does the creature die?
I have heard that the hook will rot out, but then I have pulled in fishing lines with perfect hooks on them from the water before.
Do any of you know what will really happen to a fish or turtle that is released with a hook in its mouth?

THank you for tolerating this thread, and thank you in advance for any answers you have.

P.S. Several nice bass, lots of catfish, some crappies and a cooler full of bluegills caught yesterday. Ill be eating good at supper!
 

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99% of hooks used these days will rust out and not hurt the fish(or turtle) I have caught a many soft shell turtles in my day in FL. Some people eat them bad boys. Make a soup out of em. I have heard they are pretty good actually. If you hooked it deep in its mouth than most likely in a couple weeks the stomach acid will erode the hook right out with no worse to the turtle. If you hooked em in the hard part of their mouth than most likely the turtle will eventually pry it out by himself or it will eventually rust out. Remember it is always better to cut the line as close to the hook with all types of fishies than try to pull it out.
 

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once it starts rusting it'll weeken up enough that he'll break it and i would think that he would either the digest the other half or spit it out. they are a tough animal.

i had something like that happen to me in jacksonville, FL while catfishing at dusk.I casted out a liver w/no weight cause the catfish were just bumping it so i figured they were feeling the weight and dropping it. well my liver hit the water and a little alligator grabed it. brought him in and cut the line. he was pissed so as soon as the line was cut he ran back in the water.
 

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On many fish that are gut hooked they will just pass the hook in a few days. I know this from talking to scientists that do release mortality studies. For instance 50% of gut hooked flounder will pass the hook and live. The other 50% will die a few hours later. Why? Because the hook when facing in one direction will puncture the heart sack.

Hey they eat crabs don't they?

Tom
 
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