While it’s not always needed, a jaw spreader is useful for preventing a fish from clamping its mouth shut during hook removal. Rosner recommends spreaders with rubber or plastic ends; these are better for fish than all-metal versions.
There are scenarios with big fish when it’s safer and faster to simply cut a hook with side cutters instead of attempting to remove it from a fish or a tangled net. Rosner uses rust-proof, stainless steel side cutters with a long handle for added leverage.
For fast, accurate measurements of big muskie, pike and lake trout, Rosner uses a Rapala 60” Magnum Folding Ruler, featuring a fold-up end wall and large, easy-to-read numbers. He uses the Lund Judge ruler for measuring walleye.
Pro Tip: As with a glove, wetting the ruler before use helps safeguard a fish’s slime coat.
Split Ring Pliers
Sometimes overlooked, split ring pliers are another essential item. Opening a split ring is a synch with this tool, making it easy to replace a cut or bent hook with a new one, and get fishing again in short order.
While not a catch-and-release tool, Rosner keeps a hook file aboard for maintaining sharp hooks. This, in turn, improves the quality of his hook-sets and helps him put more trophy fish in the net.
Pro Tip: The console drawers in Rosner’s Lund 1875 Pro Guide provide centralized, dry storage for his tools and are where the equipment is likely to stay when he’s trolling big-water. Rosner also relies on the Quik-Clip Sporttrak Tool Holder for keeping pliers and other essentials organized and within reach at all times.
Wearing a fish glove helps Rosner get a confident grip on big, powerful fish when removing hooks. Additionally, the glove provides protection from fish teeth, spines and other hazards.
Pro Tip: Wet the glove before handling a fish to help preserve its protective slime coat.
Be sure to keep your Lund Boat stocked with the right tools for properly landing and unhooking musky, pike, lake trout and trophy walleye. A quality landing net, needle nose pliers and the other tools mentioned above are must-haves for ensuring the safety of both anglers and fish, as well as helping sustain quality northern angling opportunities for these big predators through proper catch and release practices.