Sometimes it isn’t as easy to rip the gills of a fish as it might seem. So, what I came up with is something that looks like an old fashioned corkscrew, except instead of the shaft being coiled, it is straight and has a J hook on the end. Makes it very easy to insert either in the fish’s mouth or through the gill plate and rip the gills to bleed out the fish. I have a string on the T handle and attach that to the shoulder strap of my chest waders and find this a lot more convenient, fast and more humane than other methods.
This gil ripper can be easily made with just some 1/8” or so stiff rod, a pair of needle nose pliers, maybe 4” of 1” or so branch for the handle, an 1/8” drill, some string for the lanyard, and a few minutes work. You could just bend the end over once it is through the handle, thread and glue it, or numerous other ways to attach the shaft to the handle. Basically, it looks like a very long shank, blunt, barbles hook on a T handle.
I personally like to use a net bag over my shoulder and can put fish in that live, then let them bleed out in the water while still fishing.
With your first and second finger, tuck just inside the gill plate, hook down fingertips to fit "inside" the gill arch, and with a quick snap down of the wrist you will blow right through them. Can also use your shears for tail clipping too, provided you go deep enough to cut the arch. With enough moxie will also work on kings.
Make sure tail are clipped prior to soaking underwater as that is considered "obstructing from plain view" - no need to get a ticket
Have used this method for many years. Bleeding your catch is critical to maintaining quality. Good luck!
Keep a pair of EMT Shears on a bit of 550 cord. You can snip both gills and both tail tips in a single operation as you put the fish on your stringer. You need some type of snipper to do the tail, so why carry 2 different tools, when the job can be done with one? Plus, if you snip the tail immediately, that's defending against a ticket from one of those holier-than-thou whitehead-style fish-n-feathers troopers. (Putting the fish in a bag or on a stinger and back in the water is technically concealing from view and the law says you must clip the tail before concealing from view).
Great idea. Thanks! Sure makes for a lot of bother to have to do the tail before you even get out of the water, especially with a still live fish. BUT, if they are being that fussy about it, it sure bests getting a ticket!!!!
Oh, I know, Ripper has two p's in it, not just one, I just screrwed up. Spell checkers are fine for some things, but not 100% fool proof.