My most recent close encounter with hooks was at Lake Blue Ridge a few weeks ago. I cast a top water popper to schooling fish and hooked a 13 inch spotted bass. When I landed it both sets of treble hooks were stuck in it‘s mouth, making it impossible to hold it by its lower lip.
I grabbed the fish with my left hand, wrapping my fingers around its body, and started working with the hooks to get them out. The bass wiggled real hard and I dropped it. Well, I dropped it part way. It was no longer in my left hand, it was dangling from my right. One hook from the front treble went into my thumb and another into my index finger.
You can imagine how that felt, with a shaking bass dangling from hooks in my fingers. I quickly grabbed it again with my left hand with a death grip so it could not shake any more and Bob, the guide I was fishing with, helped me unhook the fish. I let it go and it swam off but I still had two hooks in my fingers and the blood was flowing pretty freely.
I told Bob to pull the hooks out with the pliers he had used to get the fish off, but to snatch them out. He started pulling slowly, almost making me scream. He said he could not snatch them out.
Taking the pliers in my left hand I made sure the back trebles were not in a position to stick in me, grabbed the hook and moved my fingers so the hooks could come out the way they went in, and snatched. No pain but more blood. Bob had a first aid kit and we put antibiotic cream on the holes and wrapped them with bandaids after I washed the blood off in the lake. I was able to fish the rest of the day, not real comfortably, but I fished.
One trip to the emergency room also involved a spotted bass and a crank bait. George, a guy I met in my chat room on the internet but never in person, joined me at the boat ramp at West Point to fish a night tournament with me. The first place we stopped I was casting a big Bandit crank bait and hooked a fish. When I got it to the boat I tried to swing it over the side but the rod loaded up an the fish came flying at my face.
In a natural reaction I threw up my right hand to cover my face and stopped the fish. My wrist felt funny and I looked to see a 11 inch spot dangling from the back hooks of the plug, with the other set of hooks firmly attached to my wrist. I got a hold on the bass pretty quickly and stopped its thrashing around and George helped me get it off the plug.
After getting the front hooks off the plug we tried a trick to pull a hook out. You loop cord under the curve of the hook, press down on the eye and pull. The hook is supposed to pop back out the way it went in. It didn’t.
George pulled pretty hard but the hook didn’t move. We went in to Highland Marina and a couple of game wardens were there. They looked at it and called the EMTs. While waiting I discovered that if I wiggled my ring finger the hook moved up and down. Kinda strange.
The EMTs took a look at it and told me to go to the emergency room. George and I ran back down to Glass Bridge ramp and he took my boat back out fishing and I took his truck, since it did not have a trailer on it, to the hospital. When I checked in I showed the nurse my trick of making the hook wiggle and she called several more over to see it move during the next four hours.
Yep, it was four hours before the doctor saw me. After checking the hook he said it had gone under the tendon in my wrist and the barb was hung on it. There was no way to pull it out without damaging my tendon. He tried to cut the hook but his surgical stuff wouldn’t dent it. He got some hog nose pliers from the janitor, dipped them in alcohol and cut the hook then pushed it on through. One stitch closed the cut but he put a big bandage on my wrist.
I got back to the lake in time to fish the last couple of hours of the tournament but didn’t catch any fish. And George has never gone fishing with me again!
Be careful out there.