WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Gaston Hughes fell in love with fishing at the age of 5 and it's still his passion over 50 years later.
In that time, he's seen the positives of fishing for sport but also the dangers it poses for the fish and the person on the other end of the line.
"(Fishing lines) got more than one hook and if one of the hooks is in the fish and it starts flopping around, you are liable to get hooked," Hughes said. "My brother was hooked three times in one year and that's really when I got inspired to make something that was a lot safer."
Hughes took matters into his own hands and created a device he claims will make it easier to catch and release fish in a clean, timely manner.
"It does less tearing on the fish because there is more room between it and the barb," Hughes said while holding the newest model of his self-made GripFlip.
With a turn and flick of the wrist, Hughes and his fellow crew members can use the device to remove the hook with minimal pain inflicted on the fish.
"It's a big advantage for the population in the future if you can get the fish released fast," Hughes said.
The Wilmington native said he gave out over 400 GripFlips at the U.S. Open Mackerel Tournament in early October in hopes the devices will be seen on boats nationwide.
"Make it safer for the fishermen and make it better for the fish," Hughes said, describing what his device can do in the open water. "You need to take care of the fish."