Accidental Snapper

Contributor Jim Edlund hooks a GIANT snapping turtle while fishing for walleyes. This is one impressive turtle!

Spend enough time on the water, and you'll invariably tangle with a snapping turtle ... like in this video where I managed to hook into a giant snapper while fishing a Scrounger. I believe the turtle took a pass at the vibrating bait, only to get the hook stuck in the thick skin behind its head.

As you can see, big snappers can be difficult to manage—especially in a small boat. Although we had difficulty getting the hook extracted, we did cut the line and manage a successful release. Most studies point to hooks becoming dislodged from fish and turtles within a short time in their natural environment. In fact, if removing a hook appears to threaten the life of a fish or turtle, the best course of action is to simply cut the line and let nature—and the creature—do the rest.

Lesson learned? I wish he hadn't left my long-handled hook-cutters at home. I now make sure to include my tool kit for every fishing outing ... especially on the Mississippi River ... you never know what's going to happen!

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