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I'm Hooked!

By Stan Fagerstrom
Product Review Editor

October 26, 2009

Part 2

Getting careless handling your fishhooks, especially when that carelessness is mixed with haste, is an invitation to a big time headache.

In Part 1 of this two part feature I told about winding up in the emergency room after jerking grass off a bass plug and hooking myself in the process.  I’m not a fast learner.  The second time it happened was far too similar to let me brag about what I’d learned before.

The second time it happened I’d been throwing a salmon egg bait at steelhead in one of the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.  After making a dozen casts with the same gob of eggs, I could see that the bait needed changing.

I had wrapped those eggs around a treble hook with a short length of fluorescent yarn.  I unwound the yarn, and then grabbed the remaining eggs to pull them free of the hook.  Ouch!  Once again I wound up with one point of a treble hook buried all the way to the bone in one of my fingers.

They say history repeats itself, but I could have got along quite nicely without this repeat performance.  Maybe it just takes an old Swede a little longer to catch on.  Whatever the reason for my stupid carelessness, you can believe it when I say I now try to stay patient and give those bleeping hooks the care and attention needed to keep them from causing me more misery than the fish I’m after.

But if you think I’ve had problems, it doesn’t begin to match one my friend Amedeo Cataldi experienced.  Amedeo was formerly in the tackle business in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Like the rest of us fishing nuts, he sometimes had tackle scattered here and there around the house. 

One day Amedeo was in a room and his five year old son was there with him.  So was his English pointer.  Amedeo reached up on a top shelf for something.  He didn’t know it, but as he removed his hand a fishing plug with treble hooks snagged the underside of the arm of his shirt.  The lure dangled there from Amedeo’s arm.  It didn’t dangle long.  The pointer jumped up, grabbed it, and drove the hooks solidly into its jaw in the process.
Amedeo’s five year old son was standing alongside the dog.  As the pointer shook its head attempting to rid itself of the lure, one of the treble hooks struck the child and buried itself in the little boy’s stomach.

Can you imagine the fix poor Amedeo was in?  Here’s his dog hooked to one end of a plug and his little boy to the other.  Amedeo is a quick thinker.  He commanded his boy to hold the dog’s head with both hands.  Fortunately, a pair of pliers with side cutters was close enough to reach.  Amadeo cut the dog free.  Then he got his little boy in the car and headed for a doctor.  The doctor was able to get the other treble hook out of the boy’s stomach without undue damage. 

As I’ve attempted to point out in both of these columns on hook removal, mess around with fishing tackle all your life and you’re a cinch to have some mishaps with it.  Now and then you get lucky and avoid potential problems you don’t even like to think about.
My wife and I lived right on the shore of Western Washington’s best bass lake for 35 years. We had a steep stairs running from the deck at our home down to the gravel path that led to our boathouse.  I was on my way fishing one afternoon.  I had four rods in one hand and a big tackle box in the other.

I got down the stairs all right, but then stubbed my toe and fell flat on my face in the gravel of the walk.  The big tackle box I carried came crashing down.  Bass lures flew everywhere.  As usual, Maggie and Maude, our two Airedales, were right at my heels.
I yelled to get them out of the way while I picked myself up.  Then I hastily retrieved the scattered lures.  I didn’t want those two energetic dogs anywhere near my bass baits.  My hands were bleeding where I had caught myself while falling.  After I was sure all the lures were back where they belonged, I went into the house to clean up and get some Band-Aids.
I don’t even know why, but it occurred to me I’d better go back out and check the yard one more time to see if I’d missed any lures.  I had.  My heart tied a clinch knot in my gut when I saw what those Airedales were doing with the one of the lures I’d missed.  Maggie had a green River Runt in her mouth.  The worst part was her sister Maude was doing her best to take it away from her. 

I let out a yell they must have heard over in Oregon.  Somehow Maggie was able to spit out the lure and both dogs took off around the corner of the house.  I keep my hooks sharp.  How those two mutts managed not getting themselves hooked I’ll never know.  In my mind I still see a vision.  It’s of those Airedales struggling to get away from a bass plug that has them both solidly hooked. 

Then there’s the friend who sometimes tied flies in his front room.  He always left the television on so he didn’t miss his favorite programs.  He was doing that one night and failed to realize he had dropped a couple of hooks onto the davenport where he was seated. 

Later in the evening he laid down on the davenport to watch a TV program.  When he attempted to get up, he found himself pinned securely to the davenport cushion.  One of his fly hooks was hooked into the cushion.  It was also firmly in the back the of his shoulder.

And finally there was the evening one of our closest friends brought her two daughters by for a visit.  I gave the kids a quick tour of the house.  The two girls were interested in my fly tying bench and a tackle box and its contents that were located in a corner of one of the bedrooms.  It was early in our marriage and I was keeping my tackle wherever I could talk my wife into letting me leave it.

The girls were in the bedroom looking at my fishing gear while we adults visited in the front room. You can imagine my reaction when one of those kids came running into the front room with a big bass plug in her mouth.  Yes, I said in her mouth.

I calmed the 12 year old down and told her to stand very, very still.  The hooks, while firmly attached to the tender skin of her lips, hadn’t gone in past the barb.  I was able to get them out without difficulty.

How did she get herself hooked?  She was showing her sister how a fish might grab such a lure.  Her demonstration was a tad too realistic.  One of the treble hooks of the lure swung up and hooked into both her top and bottom lips.  That’s the last time I’ve let kids mess around where my tackle is stored without supervision.

What you’ve just read should make it easy to understand why I say it’s a darn good idea for anybody who fishes to get hold of a copy of a brand new Hook Removal Kit and the DVD dealing with that problem.  I talked about these products in my last column.

Both the kit and the DVD are reasonably priced and well worth your consideration.   As a matter of fact, the prices I mentioned in my last column have now been reduced.  The Hook Removal Kit is now only $7.99 and the DVD is $12.99.  They are worth every cent.
Each of these items provides essential information on what’s best to do when the inevitable happens.  I provided all the details on both, including where and how to order them, in Part 1.  You’ll find that information here in my column archives or call 1-866-790-4454.

Wise men say the future belongs to those who prepare for it.  One day you or someone you know is going to get “hooked.”  I’ve just finished telling you how you can be a whole lot better prepared when it happens.