When fly fishing, many anglers prefer to catch and release their fly fishing prizes. Still, what should you do when youre the prize?
Thats Gotta Hurt
If you become a fly fishing fanatic, you will inevitably hook yourself one day. Of course, this has never happened to me, but my friends have done it repeatedly. Being a thoughtful and observant person, Ive seen how they go about unhooking themselves from a fly. Again, this is never happened to me. Ever. No, I wont take a lie detector test.
The best hook removal method depends on the location of the hook barb. The barb is the part of the hook that keeps the hook from simply sliding back out of the fish or, in this case, you. The essential question is which direction will result in the least damage from the barb.
A friend of mine once managed to hook himself through the flap of skin between the thumb and forefinger. The hook penetrated from the top of this hand through to the palm. The barb had gone all the way through the skin. In such a situation, the best method is simply to cut the line at the base of the hook and push it the rest of the way through the skin. This technique will result in a minimum of damage.
Another friend of mine once slipped on a rock and hooked himself something fierce in the meat section of the palm about an inch below the pinkie. There wasnt anyway to push the hook through, so it had to be pulled back out the way it went in. The problem, of course, is the barb could have caused a lot of damage on the way back out. So, whats the solution?
There are two solutions [excluding the hospital] to avoiding barb damage. The first requires two people. The hooked individual should press the hook slowly toward the curve of the hook. Put another way, you want to compress this curve of the hook. This sounds brutal, but actually should cause the barb to retract from the meat of your hand. The second person then applies pressure to both sides of the entry point to pull it open. The hooked individual should then GENTLY slide the hook out trying to follow the curve of the entry path. Sounds painful, but it works.
If youre alone, follow the same instructions but youll have to do without the pressure. Just go slow and easy. If the hook doesnt slide, dont force it. Just head off to the local emergency room.
Catch and release is a good way to fish. Even if you catch yourself.
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Writing Journals. Writing journals are the perfect fly fishing accessory or gift for fly fishing trips and fly fishing vacations.
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