How Do You Release a Seagull from a Fishhook

If you fish saltwater, especially on a head boat or charter then you have seen seagulls following the fishing boat out to fishing areas where there are schools of fish in the water and every now and again a seagull or some other kind of seabird decides to take the hook or lure from one of the party of fisherman. How Do You Release a Seagull From a Fish Hook?

  • Use eye protection
  • Ask for help
  • Grab the bird’s head firmly
  • Cover its eyes with a towel/shirt
  • Fold the wings up & secure its feet
  • Remove the Hook-Cut off the hook’s barb & back the hook out-use pliers for large hooks
  • Check bird for other hooks/lines
  • Put bird on the back of the boat facing water & release

Human activity has been a great motivating factor for seagull presence in coastal areas while first mates cleaning fish off the backs of charter fishing boats or chumming slicks on ocean surfaces will always attract a flock of hungry seagulls besides a school of fish waiting for an easy lunch.

What to Do if You Hook a Seagull


Wear sunglasses or other eye protection.  

Ask a partner to help with controlling the seabird.

Grab the bird’s head firmly and then cover the eyes with a towel or shirt-this will calm it down.-Bring the bird aboard If possible, slow or stop hauling and slow or stop the vessel to release line tension. If practical, use a landing net to lift small birds on board, otherwise retrieve the bird on the line as safely and quickly as possible. When within reach, grab it by the bill. Never grab the wing

Fold the wings up and secure the feet, holding firmly-Carefully fold the wings into the bird’s body. Wrap the bird in a towel or a blanket not too tightly and cover the eyes if possible. Make sure the bird doesn’t come into contact with oil on the deck

Remove the Hook-Cut off the hook’s barb and back the hook out-If the hook is visible Use pliers or bolt cutters for large hooks to cut through the hook shaft or to flatten the barb Pull the hook back out of the bird.

Check the bird for other hooks or lines and remove them too-Sometimes a Seagull has been hooked before-If the bird is exhausted or waterlogged If possible, place it in a ventilated box or bin in a quiet, dry, shaded place to recover for an hour or two. Otherwise, contain the seabird in a quiet dry area, away from oil. The bird is ready for release when the feathers are dry, the bird is alert and able to stand.

Release the Seagull-Put the bird on the back of the boat or pier, facing the water, and step back. A feisty bird is likely to survive. Release the bird If the bird is strong and mostly dry, release it onto the water but clear of the vessel immediately after hook removal. Having again first grabbed the bill, lift and slowly lower the bird onto the water letting go of the bill as the last movement.
Where birds cannot be lowered directly onto the water, lift and release the bird from the side of the vessel into the wind letting go of the bill at the same time. The bird may remain on the water for some time after release.

If the bird is seriously injured, has swallowed the hook, or doesn’t fly, it should be taken to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator. Call the Wildlife Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for one near you.


Unhooking a Seagull from the Beach


How to Get Rid of Seagulls


Because the birds seem to be attracted to food items that they’ve watched humans touch, another of the study’s authors says that it’s even more important to properly throw food waste and snack wrappers in the trash.

Particularly the few species we call “seagulls” that venture over the open ocean are regulars at trash dumps, beaches, and boardwalks, and for good reason. They are opportunists and like human food especially when some humans even decide to feed them.

Once they show up, these intelligent birds stick around. “Here are animals that can adapt quickly, learn, and take advantage of a resource while its available,” says Andrew Farnsworth of Cornell’s Ornithology Lab. “Unlike for most wild animals, we’ve actually expanded their habitat and food sources with our behavior. Gulls are excellent opportunists and will keep coming back if they find something good.”

Bird-X BirdXPeller PRO Model 1 Sonic Bird Repeller, Covers 6 Acres (Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, & Gulls)
Bird-X BirdXPeller PRO Model 1 Sonic Bird Repeller, Covers 6 Acres (Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, & Gulls)


 Landfills will deploy a hawk or peregrine falcon at a landfill or agricultural site that’s overrun with gulls. For the most part, the raptors just scare off the birds, but they do target with the intent to kill.

The best way to keep seagulls off docks is to remove their food sources and block off their nesting grounds with bird netting. Then you can install deterrent devices like seagull grid deterrent wire, bird spikes, shock tracks, or sound machines to block out any remaining gulls.

Ultrasonic devices are another type of bird control method for keeping seagulls off piers and docks. These devices broadcast frequencies that humans cannot hear, but seagulls can.

The gulls will hear the frequencies broadcast and fly away to avoid them.  Sonic devices work similarly. These devices send out seagull predator cries and seagull distress signals, warning birds to stay away from the area.

  • Power Requirements: 110v or 12vDC
  • Emits natural bird sounds and predator calls that scare away pest birds

Bird-X BirdXPeller PRO Model 1 Sonic Bird Repeller, Covers 6 Acres (Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, & Gulls) available through  MyWaterEarth&Sky on Amazon


Unhooking a Seagull from a Small Craft

Seagull Deterrent for Boats


Stopgull Air Sandbag Support
The Gullsweep

StopGull designs and manufactures products to deter the landing of gulls, cormorants, and shorebirds on yachts and port facilities. The StopGull products, break the entry protocol of birds to avoid landing on the boats, creating mistrust in the birds and keeping them away, without harm to them. They have numerous Bird Deterrents for your boat. Check out their website

These devices work by wind action, do not emit any sounds or electric shocks, and are practical and resistant in marine environments.

These devices include visual and acoustic bird deterrents and also devices that use physical exclusion. Visual bird repellants aka “bird scarers” are designed to frighten an endless amount of birds away.

The Gullsweep is a device designed to avoid the landing of gulls and coastal birds on boats, boats’ hardtops, inflatable boats, sailboats, and professional vessels.


Gullsweep® Bird Deterrent for Boats - Standard Model

The Gull sweep is easy to install and it can be folded or removed from its base and stowed. It works by wind action on the flags housed at the ends of the bars, making a rotational movement to avoid gulls and shorebirds perch on the boat. 

Decoy Kites-Decoy kites can get rid of seagulls by using a kite-shaped decoy bird image to sway in the wind to deter a seagull from landing in a certain area.

Dead Seagull Deterrent Scare Away Gulls – Bird Deterrent- Nothing like a dead Seagull to keep others from joining the party on your boat. The Dead Seagull Decoy prevents gull damage Seagulls perceive danger in the control area.



JimGalloway Author/Editor




National Geographic-Gulls Be Gone: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Birds


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