If you go fishing enough times, you will hook yourself. It takes only a second of inattention or some unusual motion of you, the fish, or even your tackle, to impale yourself. Hands are most often the on the receiving end of the point of the hook, but some of us have been hooked in many other places.
Sticking the point of a hook a little ways into a finger is common and is not much of a problem. But if the hook goes in past the barb it gets interesting. Barbs are on hooks so they don’t pull out of a fish’s mouth easily. Same thing works for your body.
My first memory of a hook that would not come out easily did not happen to me, but I caused it. Uncle Mayhu, Uncle Adron and I were fishing Usury’s pond in a jon boat. I was in the middle, a dangerous place for an eight-year-old.
I made a cast with a Crème pre-rigged worm. Those worms had three hooks in them attached to each other by a line. At least I tried to cast, the worm ended up as a decoration on Uncle Mayhu left ear. All three hooks were in well past the barb.
There was a lot of blood even before Uncle Adron took his pliers, cut the hooks and pushed the hooks the rest of the way through to get them out. And it did not stop us from fishing the rest of the day, although I didn’t have another plastic worm to use!
If possible and you can do it, cutting the hook and pushing it on through is good way to get a hook out. But its painful, and not always possible.
Two times I have had to go to the emergency room to have hooks removed. The first I was in my early 20s and fishing by myself at Clarks Hill from our ski boat. I cast a Little Cleo spoon and hung it in a bush. Since it was hot I was fishing without a shirt.
I snatched the rod tip to get the spoon loose, and it worked. The next thing I knew I felt a sting on my right side just below my ribs. When I looked down the spoon was hanging there. One of the treble hooks had disappeared into me and the other two were pressed flat, firmly against my skin.
It was weird, there was no pain. I cut my line, put the rod down and cranked the boat. I was fine until I got to the dock where mom was fishing. I stood up, pointed at the spoon, and almost fainted!
Since I had taught Life Science the year before, I knew there were some fairly important things not far under the skin where the hook disappeared. Mom took me to the emergency room where they numbed the area, slit the skin and fat and got the hook out. At least I was still able to use the bait!
The worst time was at West Point about 15 years ago. I had met a fisherman from Atlanta in my website chatroom and asked him to fish as my guest in a Sportsman Club Saturday night tournament. He met me at the ramp and we ran to a roadbed not far from Highland Marina.
On one of my first casts with a big crankbait I hooked a fish. When it got near the boat I started lifting it in. My rod loaded up and the fish came flying at my face. When I threw up my arms to protect my face, one of the hooks went into my wrist.
There I was, with a guy I had never actually met before that afternoon, standing with a spotted bass dangling from a plug that was dangling from my wrist. We finally subdued the fish to make it stop flopping and got it off the hook. It took some effort to take the split ring off the plug to get the hook off it. The hook would not move when we tried to pull it out.
There was no blood. We cranked up and ran to Highland Marina. It just so happened there was an EMT crew there. They took one look at the hook, said there was no way they would attempt to remove it, and told me to go to the emergency room. A drunk hanging around loudly offered to remove it, but I declined.
It was weird. If I wiggled my ring finger the hook would rise and fall. I found out later the hook had gone under the tendon for that finger. When I got to the emergency room and the receptionist saw it she called a nurse and that nurse called several more to look at the strange thing I had done.
Unfortunately, there had been a three-car wreck not long before I came in and the doctors were very busy removing glass from several people. I sat there for five hours, entertaining nurses and other patients with my trick hook, before the doctor finally saw me.
His surgical tools would not cut the hook, so he called the janitor and got a pair of hog nose pliers with a cutter. After sterilizing it he cut the hook, pushed it on through and sewed up the small hole.
I had left my partner fishing from my boat while I drove his truck, since it did not have a trailer attached, to the emergency room. We had never met before that day, but fishermen are like that.
I got back to the ramp with two hours left to fish. When I measured the little spot that caused all the trouble, it was just under keeper size and it was the only one I caught that night!
Be careful out there but no matter how careful, be ready to remove a hook!