Hook Removal!

Okay, I promised the ladies I'd explain this one on the " Wives Page" so here it is girls ~ Why you should learn how to remove a hook from your fishing partner! ~

At 43 years old, I've watched countless shows and read literally hundreds of pages on removing hooks from one's carcass, and I always figured anyone stupid enough to get a hook buried in their hide, should go see a doctor or two, and I'm not referring to MDs either. Lo and behold that was all to change, one early summer day, 2001.

My significant other and I, were out trying to outsmart a walleye or two, (unfortunately they were outsmarting us pretty well that trip), and I'd crossed the bridge to the other side of the canal to see if one were hiding there under the bridge, over yonder, subsequently moving downstream to a little gravel point that'd proven a fair spot for a fish or two, on more than one occasion.

We were about 10 minutes into the trip, driving time and all, (I didn't say they'd outsmarted us for long), when I landed the first fish of the day a little northern (a.k.a. Snot Rocket, Slimer, Slime Ball, Slough Shark, Norbert), about 8 inches long. I tossed him back, and cast out a couple more times, when I hooked into something slightly larger.

(Now if I were truly an avid outdoors writer I'd go into great detail explaining that I was using a backhand cast, slow steady retrieve, a shallow diving Storm Junior Thunder stick lure, in Silver Scale, on 8 pound Stren Magna Thin, a 5 1/2' generic Hagen Walleye Stick, and Shimano SR 2000 R Reel, casting downstream, with a 5 -7 mph northwest wind, 11 days after a full moon, mid-afternoon, with scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, leaning slightly to my right, with my trusty needle nose pliers in my left rear pocket! But, I ain't. So I won't!) (Not sure what you call that in publication land, whether it's kickbacks from manufacturers, trying to impress everyone with great detail in writing, or simply trying to fill a whole lot of magazine with a little bitty fish story! All of which are null and void here.)

Anyhow! I was into my second fish of the day, which again turned out to be a snot rocket, only slightly larger than the first. I got him reeled in, and admiring his Sliminess, proceeded to go about unhooking him. He let loose with a tirade befitting a rogue bull elephant, then went into acrobatics the likes of which you've never seen. This little guy was Olympic material, I'm telling you! He should have been on the Japanese diving team, and all them goodies. When he cut loose with all his antics, he kinda squirted his slimy self right outta my right hand, doing a double back flip, with a three quarter twist, and a full pike (pardon the pun folks), in mid-air, landing the opposing hook on my crank-bait, right square between the elbow and wrist of my left arm!

I stood there for a moment thinking, "Damn, this has gotta hurt!" But, actually it didn't. Really!

One would think, that a two pound fish suspended from a hook buried in your forearm, flopping around like he had ants in his pants, were he to have pants to have ants in, to be quite painful. But, in comparison to a few other old war wounds I've incurred over the years, it actually wasn't too bad, as I stood there in awe, wondering when it was going to start hurting. Then as if possessing ESP, and trying to make a point of getting even, the little Slimer, suddenly blew up again. At that point, it did get to be a wee bit iffy on the "not really painful thingy," but I'm tough in my old age, and wouldn't admit it, if it had hurt. So it didn't, really.

Unfortunately old Norbert wasn't quite as tough as he thought he was, and his left cheek and him soon parted ways, upon which I casually introduced him to the point of my left toe, cursing a bit whilst booting his slimy little, pain inflicting carcass back into the water, and watched him swim casually away, with a now lopsided, toothy grin on his face. I stood there looking at the predicament I was in, immediately discovering that I didn't have enough line out to set the rod down, or carry it without the tip doubled over, which got on with being just a wee bit iffy on the "not really painful thingy" again, so I pulled a little line from the reel and began to look the situation over further.

Upon viewing things a bit more closely it dawned on me, "Damn, this has got to hurt!" (But really folks, it didn't.) Because, I had 2 of the 3 hooks on that treble buried in my arm to varying degrees. Hook point number one was stuck in just past the tip of the barb, and backed out pretty easily streamside, (or canal-side if you want to get fussy about it). However, hook point number 2 presented a bit more of a challenge. It was buried clear to the shank on the treble. As in, way deep!!! Or.... As, in way deep!!! However, you prefer your punctuation, it was buried to the hilt! Like clear around the bend! Of the hook, not the stream, (or canal, if you want to get fussy about it!)

I decided I probably should have a little assistance with this matter, mostly because it appeared to be a two handed job, and it were a wee bit tough to reach that little crank-bait, lodged solidly in my left forearm with my left hand. So, I started back for the truck, uttering a few select expletives along the way.

About half way there, I stopped to pick up my tackle pack laying on the bank, in case my day of fishing were terminated by this little event, at which point, my significant other, observed what I had been swearing about from across the canal; crank-bait, and fishing line still tied to the rod, and dangling from my left forearm. At which point, she uttered a few expletives herself.

Arriving at the truck, figuring the whole time this is not a problem, she's a mom, she's got kids, she's used to minor trauma, sure she'll be able to help! She casually walks up, utters a few more expletives, and then starts into this irrational chant concerning hospitals, doctors, emergency rooms, shots! Over and Over!

So, I told her, "This is not a problem! We simply push the point back through, you cut the hook off with the pliers, pull the hook out, and all will be fine. It doesn't hurt. Really!"

I cut the line on the crank-bait, thinking "Why the hell didn't I do that over there on the other side!" It would have been much less "not painful, really," when I slipped crawling up the bank over yonder. But, anyhow, it was necessary at this point because it was becoming difficult for two of us to maneuver around my operating table (a.k.a. end gate), with this line dangling from my arm attached to the object I was trying to remove, and the aforementioned rod, I didn't mention, since I'm not an accomplished editor of fishing publications. (Actually it wasn't too bad until nurse Good Body attempted to move the rod out of the way, to get in and assist me, at which point it got on with being kinda questionable about the, "not painful, really" thing, again.)

And then, I commenced to trying to force this little hook back through the skin.

Now, one would think that anything a 2 pound fish could stick in your arm, in something under 25 milliseconds, a 235 pound angler could stick out of your arm, in under a minute or two, or at least ten, without much effort, right?

WRONG! It don't work that a way boys and girls.

Yeah, I know there are those of you out there, like myself that have seen all those shows and read all those articles on hook removal, that are thinking about now, well why didn't you wrap a fishing line around it, apply down pressure and jerk it out, like the fishing Gurus always tell you works so slick.

Well... I did contemplate that option at first, (cautiously I might however add), I applied down pressure and tried to sorta back it out a little, so the barb would be closer to the hole in the hide before I started jerking, just to see if this were a plausible venture, and from the looks of things, that method would've likely removed something just short of two acres of hide on my forearm. Try it if you dare guys, but I wouldn't advise this method on anything as soft as the inside of one's forearm. One thing many of the fishing Gurus neglect to tell you is, that discretion in utilization of that method of hook removal, is well advised. Fortunately, I did run across one article, that did. Thank you, Bill Dance!

Anyhow, I tugged and pulled for a few minutes without much success in getting the hook point through, lifting the hide on my forearm an inch and a half at times, but it would not come through. You could see it, little black dot right there under the skin, trying to penetrate, but it wouldn't. And, all the while, unbeknownst to me, my significant other (a.k.a. able bodied assistant), was turning various shades of green. (Guess I must've been just a wee bit preoccupied with that fishing lure dangling from my arm, or something.)

I told her she was going to have to hold the skin down with the pliers, so I could force the hook through, which resulted in a few more choice words, and further ranting of the H word. Yeah, both of them Hospital, and no way in.... But, anyhow she did feebly attempt it, a time or two, before deserting me in my time of dire need.

Next thing I know, she's over hanging onto the bridge rail, waiting for lunch to come, (again), muttering them H words, saying something to the effect of how much she loved me, and all, but she was gonna lose it, if she had to do that one more time! I finally took note of her condition, which by that time the lunch wagon was pretty close, and she was really getting on with the Martian skin tone effects.

There I stood, crank-bait in my forearm just a swingin', listening to a green, irrational, woman chanting about $300 emergency room visits, to have a ten cent hook, on a $4.50 crank-bait, removed from my forearm. When suddenly like a bolt from the blue it hit me. (I had a bout of wisdom, the first since getting up that morning, I do believe!) I grasped the crank-bait with my trusty pliers, then placing them in my left hand and lifting from the wrist, I was able to apply pressure on the hook, I reached into my pocket with the other hand, removing and opening my trusty little pocket knife, then with the deft precision of any end gate surgeon, I sliced immediately over the hook point allowing it to pop through. Well most of the way, anyhow!

Now one would think that anything a 2 pound snot rocket, could stick in your arm, in something under 25 milliseconds, that a 235 pound angler, with needle nose pliers and a pocket knife, could stick back out of your arm in something under ten minutes. But, it apparently weren't my day folks!

The hook popped through just about to the back end of the Barb, and would come no further, regardless of how hard I tugged at it. This in turn, incited more chants from the green crazy woman, over there on the bridge, and I proceeded again with surgical precision to enlarge the hole by slicing along next to the hook. It finally popped out, I cut the hook off , removed the crank-bait from my arm, and listened to a few more chants about hospitals and tetanus shots. At which point, I sorta indicated politely, that I really wasn't going to the hospital and pay $300 for an emergency room visit to get a $12 shot, if I was damned stubborn enough to remove the hook, without the assistance of my fishing partner.

We loaded everything up and returned home to apply a little antiseptic, seek medical advice on the shot, and then my lovely green fishing partner, who was almost back to normal flesh tones by that time, mixed me a round or two of medicinal purpose anesthetic, to aide in healing my wounds.

The Moral of the story is - Never take a green, irrational woman, that don't know how to remove a hook from you, fishing. She'll only make you laugh, when you need her most, and as everyone knows... It only hurts when you laugh!

As for the wounds, Norbert Slime, Canal Moss, Mud, and all, was apparently removed by the peroxide, or else the antiseptic and anesthetic did their jobs well, one. There was never a remote indication of infection, and aside from being bruised, either from the little slough shark plunging the hook into my arm, or my trying to remove the hook from my arm one, you'd have never known that it happened after a few short days. And, it didn't hurt much, really folks.

I have however changed my views on hook removal, and do highly recommend you all contemplate thought in that regard occasionally yourselves, you never know when it might come in handy! The method with which you approach this however, is questionable, and I really wouldn't advise anything too drastic without thorough assessment of the situation first.

And, although I never did, you probably should get a tetanus shot! But, I wouldn't spend $300 in the emergency room for one! It should be considered, before you need it on a warm sunny Sunday, in the middle of nowhere.



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