Musky America Magazine April2023 Edition

I put the rod between my legs and loosed the drag almost all the way while I opened my tool kit. I took out a glove and my hook cutters. I reached under the fishes jaw with my left-gloved hand while he was still in the water and began CUTTING the hooks free. The rear treble of the Reef Hawg was in his gills. That was the first hook I cut completely oft. Then, he coiled his body and twisted out of my grip and oft he went. With the drag almost off, he was free to move about without a monster backlash and without the loss of my rod. I brought him back to the boat, CUT off the rest of the hooks, measured him at 37 inches and released him totally unharmed. (not a drop of his blood, a few drops of mine but that's another story).