Removing A Hook From Your Hand by Max Huber
My phone rang at the office and the familiar voice of my friend, Tim, was on the other end chirping about going fishing. Not one to be a stick in the mud, I agreed to meet him at my boat about 6 o’clock that evening. The rest of the afternoon was shot, as all I could concentrate on was the Walleye that awaited our arrival.
Arriving at the dock in Vermilion, I proceeded to uncover the 22’ Four Winns for an evening of fishing and fun. I say fun, because if you know Tim, you know we will laugh at many things. Drinks, sandwiches and ice, nightcrawlers, lights working, Loran C locked in, marine radio tested, first aid kit, all ready and waiting for the arrival of Tim.
It was one of those evenings that Neil Diamond sang about, you know the one “Hot August Nights”. I could feel the sun already heating the back of my neck and it was just about 6 o’clock. Looking down the dock I saw Tim unloading his car. Tim was always good at bringing something other than him on our outings. Perhaps it was hot peppers, Italian olives, hey who knows, it was always a surprise. I started the engine to warm, while Tim made his way down the long gravel dock area.
Hey buddy, Tim called, I’ll get the lines. Lets get going, because the fish are calling us. I eased the boat away from my dock and headed to the Vermilion River then North to Lake Erie. At this time of the year, Walleyes would be in the deeper water so I headed northeast past Lorain to where I had heard the Walleye were stacked up.
Upon arriving at our location, I engaged the autopilot, heading us still in a northeast direction. Tim and I scrambled to grab our favorite trolling lures. I chose a Bomber Long A in chrome with a black back. Tim picked out a Storm Magnum Wiggle Wart; in a chrome blue back color. We let out the line from our Daiwa line counter reel and placed them in the rod holders. Now we wait for the first strike.
Here is where I forget who got the first fish, and here is where my mind skips the small details and fast-forwards to Tim reeling in a large Walleye. Hey get the net Tim yells. I was ready and waiting. I saw the fish, a nice 3-4 pound fish. Scooping down and under, the fish was now in the net. Tim grabbed the net and as always, wanted to unhook his fish and get back to fishing as soon as possible. I turned away and went to be sure our course was still ok and that we were not going to hit any other boats in our path.
Suddenly I heard Tim call out to help him, as he had hooked himself on one of the large treble hooks on the lure. I grabbed the fish and unhooked it and saw that the other hook was buried deeply into Tim’s hand in between the thumb and forefinger. Going for the first aid kit to get the hook removal tool, Tim yells “Just cut the damned thing” I told him that was a bad idea and that we should pack up and get him to a hospital to have the hook removed. The position and depth of the hook had made me believe it would have been better to leave the hook removal to the doctors.
Again if you know Tim, you know he always does things his own way and this time was no exception. Out came the wire cutters and with one quick snap, Tim had freed himself from the lure. With a lick of the tongue, and a quiet moan, Tim was looking for another lure to connect to his line. I asked if we should head in to the hospital, but the look that I got as an answer was enough for me to just keep quiet and fish. Nothing more was said that evening about the hook.
Back at the dock, I could see Tim was in pain. Again I asked to take him to the hospital and again he refused to accept my offer. I was feeling bad about this whole picture, after all it was my boat, my lure and I felt it was my responsibility to have him checked at the hospital. We cleaned a few walleye, made some small talk and shortly Tim was now on his way back up the dock towards his truck and home.
The next morning I telephoned Tim to see how his hand was doing. Tim’s wife answered the phone and told me Tim was in the hospital and was getting prepared for afternoon surgery. Why surgery, you may be asking yourself? Well, if you have ever cut a piece of steal with side cutters, you know the loose end shoots out with great force. Last night was no exception. When Tim cut the hook, the point shot through his hand and ended up in the carpel tunnel section of his wrist. A surgeon was needed to go into the wrist and retrieve the steel fragment. Somehow all I could think about was the fact there were two easy methods to remove the hook from Tim’s hand without cutting it. One way was the “Barbout” a tool designed by a former L.A.P.D. officer who enjoyed fishing. The other way was to use a doubled section of heavy line. I will show you this method at the end of the story.
I went to the hospital and waited with Tim’s wife during the surgery. An hour or so went by and it was over. The hook fragment was removed and Tim was on his feet ready to go home. Oh yea, that fishing trip cost Tim $1,400.00. I sure hope he was singing, “I did it my way” when he paid the bill.
How To Remove A Hook:
Here’s the process for removing a hook that has inadvertently become lodged in human, rather than a fish.
A: The Hook gets stuck in a body part, now what should you do?
B: Create a loop using some fishing line, and anchor the loop around your wrist.
C: Place the loop around the bend of the hook (the bottom) close to the barb, and hold down the shank (straight part) with your free thumb.
D: Give the looped line a short, sharp pull and the hook will come out quickly and with as little damage as possible.
Most often there is no pain involved whatsoever, with the exception of a little residual pain due to the initial ‘hook-set’.
WARNING: Do not attempt this procedure if the hook is embedded anywhere in the face. Once the hook has been removed, see a doctor as soon as possible to counter any potential infection.