Safer Eel Angling practices

          Anyone that fishes for Eel's or catches one by accident should have the welfare of the Eel in mind. They are a very special species having already travelled thousands of miles to reach our shores, rivers and lakes with the intention of making that epic migration back to the far side of the Atlantic Ocean ahead of them. So they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect whatever their size and should be fished for using the safest Eel Angling techniques pioneered by some of the UK's best Eel Angler's.

When fishing for Eel's these following points will help prevent catching a deep hooked Eel and if you catch one and the hook is out of sight what you should do.

  • When fishing for Eel's strike as early as possible... If you miss a run, then the chances are it was a small fish and not the one you are after. 

  • If you catch one and the hook is out of sight, do not attempt to remove it, this will undoubtedly do more damage and possible kill the Eel as it's vital organs are just behind it's head. Cut the trace as close to the eel's mouth as possible. They have an excellent ability to eject the hook... More so if it's barbless...

  • If you use conventional hooks such as wide gape or long shank types, then use barbless, the eel has an excellent ability to eject the hook if swallowed and this will help it eject it much easier. If the hooks are barbed or micro barbed, squeeze the barb flat with a small pair of pliers... There is minimal chance of loosing the fish and every chance of the fish surviving if you can't get the hook out...!

  • If fishing the JS Rig remember to keep the swivel link section quite short. A shorter swivel link will help detect a bite sooner and help prevent the eel swallowing the rig.

  • Some of the top UK Eel anglers have extensively field tested rigs which prevent deep hooking. Barry McConnell's Twig Rig and some excellent work fishing with Circle hooks by Mark Salt have made deep hooking using these two methods a thing of the past.