Removing a hook that has stuck in your skin may not seem so difficult, however, our skin is a very strong organ that is meant to protect us. For a hook, to go in past the barb, is actually pretty difficult and requires some force. Usually we hear about anglers being hooked while trying to remove the hook from a bass; this happens in the fingers, hand, or wrist area. Occasionally we hear about the partner that wasn’t paying attention, and catches you while making a cast. Finally, there is the rare occasion that a bait comes flying back to the boat with enough force, and precise trajectory, that it impales you.
The other day was out fishing with a good friend. At the time, we were on a crankbait pattern working timber, grass, or anything different along the shore lines. With a failed cast, my friends bait runs across a limb and hangs on the limb. A couple quick snaps didn’t produces a saved cast. With an all out swing for the fences yank, the crankbait comes flying back at the boat and hits him mid-level of the chest, left side.
It’s not uncommon to have baits hurled back at the boat, especially with this particular fishing partner fishing with me. I can’t count the times I’ve had to duck, jump out of the way, or simply bat a bait out of the air to keep it from hitting me. This time was different; for some reason, when that crank bait hit him, I just knew it wasn’t going to be good. I don’t know whether it was the sound of the bait hitting him, or the yelp he let out like a puppy that just got stepped on; but in the back of my head, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
I turned and asked if he needed any help. In looking at the bait, you could tell it had at least gone into his skin some as it was stuck through his Dobyns Rods t-shirt but wasn’t hanging from it. It looked like a fishing lure hanging from a ladies ear, not sure how to explain it, but you could tell it was stuck. As he tried to lift it out of his shirt, he flinched. With the bewildered look of a three year old child, that just stuck his finger on a hot pot from the stove, he says, “I think it’s stuck!” At this point, I simply started laughing, it wasn’t funny, but the look on his face was priceless. He is a giant at 6′ 4″ and 280, definitely someone you don’t want to meet in a dark ally, but the look of a child about to cry but won’t from pride was simply hysterical!
I finally settle down to a point that I can offer some assistance. The problem for him was the hook went through his shirt and then into his skin. So he couldn’t lift the shirt to inspect the damage nor could he attempt to pull it out without seeing which direction to work on. So the kind hearted person I am I offered to cut his shirt so that he could pull the bait through it and then take it off. Now we both got a good look at the situation, yep it’s well past the bard.
He looks at me and says, “Well I guess we need to do the string trick.” So I start digging for some 20 pound line. At this point, he again has this puppy dog look on his face and says, “You’ve done the string trick before, Right?” Well the fact is that I haven’t. I’ve seen the videos, and I’ve talked to people about it, but I’ve never done it. That whole statement didn’t sit well with him. He started stammering around the boat; it reminded me of when I was a kid getting ready to lose my first tooth and dad came in from the garage with a hacksaw, vice grips, and a hammer, just to scare me.
The bait he was using had some sort of triple grip funny bend to them. I’m not sure the string trick would have worked anyway. While I was deciding how I would pull in order to make this work, he decided he was going to push the hook back out, and we would cut it. This is where you learn that your skin is very tough. Pushing a hook far enough through your skin to get the barb back out required pliers and some serious pushing. In fact, we had to cut his skin slightly to get it to work. This is where I wasn’t doing so well. Watching him push that hook back through his skin was making me ill to my stomach. Then he says, while I’m pushing you cut where it’s trying to come through. Great!
I had been laughing so much through this process that he felt he owned me one. As he started pushing the hook through, I laid my knife against his skin and just as I pushed he yelled. I dropped the knife and jumped back just to see him start his own laugh-a-thon. I guess I had the look of a little kid that had just been snuck up on by dad in the middle of the night. Once things settled down, I was able to make a small cut in his skin, and he pushed the hook point through. We cut it and pulled it the rest of the way through. Both slightly queasy to the stomach we decided that Burger King on the way home sounded very good.
I don’t know if the string trick would have worked or not. However, now that I’ve been in the situation that I could have tried it, I wish somehow I would have practiced it. I’m no Bill Dance; I’m not going to hook myself for the camera simply to show of this neat little trick. However, I am going to find some sort of material that I can put hooks into and see if I can make this happen without ripping the material apart. My first thought is the foam rubber my flip flops are made out of, If I can remove a hook from them without leaving a gaping hole, then maybe I could do it in skin.
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