Logging In
Invalid username or password.
Incorrect Login. Please try again.

not a member?

Signing up could earn you gear and it helps to keep offensive content off of our site.

October 26, 2001

A Snooty Billfish Release

This homemade tool makes billfish easier to control at the side of the boat.

Most of the fishing techniques we share are intended to increase your catch. However, this one should help facilitate your releases. While fishing with Roddy Hays in Madeira, we developed a device to release billfish we dubbed the snooter.
This simple tool allows a single crew member to hold a marlin's bill and control the fish from a balanced, standing position. It also keeps the fish at a safe distance, allowing both crew and fish to come away from the experience in good shape. Using the snooter, one crew member can control the fish, keeping its head below the surface, while another balances the fish by holding its dorsal.
The loop can be cinched around the bill without lifting the fish's head out of the water, which keeps it calm. This, along with the extra working space between crew members that the tool provides, allows for easy removal of hooks.
Resuscitation of worn-out fish is a snap with the snooter; most regain their strength much faster when towed upright than when towed on their sides.
To release a fish, get a good grip on the PVC pipe and let go of the cinch rope. Pull up on the pipe, and the fish's weight will pull the cinch rope and cable out the bottom of the pipe, freeing the fish.

Parts List
* 3 feet of 1-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
* 6 feet of 600-pound stainless-steel cable
* three non-aluminum crimps
* One 1/8-gauge stainless welded ring
* 4 feet of 3/8-inch nylon line
* Heavy cord (enough to make a handle)

First, back-splice the stainless-steel ring onto the 3/8-inch line. Thread the stainless-steel cable through the ring and two of the crimps. Double the wire over and twist a 2-foot section of the cable, securing the twist with the crimps. (Note: I found that double twisting the cable would stiffen the loop and make it easier to slip over the marlin's bill.)
Using a 1/8-inch drill bit, drill three holes in one end of the PVC pipe about 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the PVC and about 1/2 inch apart. Starting from the bottom hole, carefully thread the end of the cable inside out through the three holes. Pull the cable through until the twisted section rests near the first (bottom) hole, then cut off excess cable, double over and crimp the end. Wrap some heavy cord around the top of the PVC to make a good handhold. Feed the entire rope section up through the PVC, and the snooter is ready for action.

Capt. Dana Boardman
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii