I found this on another site. it was done on stripers but believe it would be about the same for all fish. There are two theories on cutting the line. First on is to cut the line cose to the hook. The second one is to cut the line several inches outside the fishes mouth. Both methods work. The second method is recommended when the hook is in the fishes throat. The reason to cut the line several inches outside the mouth is to let the line assist in keeping the shank of the hook against the throat wall as the fish is swallowing another bait. If the line is cut too close to the hook, the shank could protrude out and trap the bait in the fishes throat causing starvation. I believe in responsible catch-and-release and agree that if the probability of death is high then it is best to creel the fish for the table. However, concerning the issue of whether gut hooked fish will survive, I know personally that they will. In 1999, I assisted a student in his gradute study project for his Masters degree. In his project we caught and tagged 50 striped bass with telemetry tags and tracked them for up to 3-years. Of the 50-fish n his project that were initially tagged, 38 of them came from my boat and 37 of them were caught on cut bait and were gut hooked. Only 1-fish did not survive. So the probability of gut hooked fish handled properly during cooler weather is pretty good. However, as the water temperatures reach the 76 mark and higher, the odds go down, especially if you take the fish out of the water.