There is probably no better tip that I could share with you first than this method to safely release a gut-hooked fish. I only wish someone had shown me this years ago!
(1) With the hook in the gullet, note which side of the fish’s mouth the hook shank is toward. Note: For illustration sake, the line is eliminated here in steps 2 through 5. In reality, the line stays connected as this technique is performed.
(2) With a finger or two, reach in through the last gill arch on that side of the fish and push and pull down on the hookeye so the hook turns and . . .
(3) rolls out below the gill toward the side of the fish. At that point, amazingly, the hook, barb and all, almost always pops free from its hold in the fish’s gullet.
(4) If not, reach into the fish’s mouth and grip the bend in the hook (which is now up) and . .
(5) lift it free … it should come out very easily. If the fish’s mouth is too small to reach in with your hand, use a needle-nose pliers to grip the hook bend.
Illustrations courtesy of In-Fisherman.