Leave the dainty little hemostats at home.
You won’t need dainty equipment to unhook these fish. Catfish and gou have tough mouths. On top of that, catfish pack wickedly serrated spines.
Hybrid stripers’ mouths aren’t quite as tough, but one slip can hurt. Their fin spines are needle sharp, and their gill covers are like razors.
Mike Kelley emphasized that a set of steel fisherman’s pliers are essential. Their sturdy construction allows the twisting and wrenching necessary to quickly unhook fish before they can stab or cut an angler’s hands.