Step 1: Open the fish’s mouth and note which gill flap the hook shank is closest to.
Step 2: Gently open that gill flap and, using your thumb and index finger, reach in through the space between the last gill filament and the fish’s side. Carefully pull the hook eye through the opening and rotate the hook so the bend becomes exposed and begins to back out of the fish’s throat. (Note: To keep things simple, the fishing line has been left out of the drawings in steps 2 and 3.)
Step 3: Continue rolling the hook and, amazingly, you’ll feel the point and barb slip free inside the fish’s stomach and begin to slide out of the fish’s throat.
Step 4: Depending on the size of the fish and its mouth opening, use your fingers, a pair of pliers or forceps to grab the bend of the hook once it’s fully exposed.
Step 5: Lift the hook free.