The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More

Thursday, June 5, 2014


               The great outdoors is a wonderful place to learn about all things natural.  Most experiences are pleasant and memorable for all the right reasons.  However, on occasion an adventure might be remembered for something bad.  Fate has a funny way of turning around and biting you in the backside sometimes, too.
Whoops!  I spoke too soon!
               The perfect example happened recently when I got a text message photo from my 16 year-old nephew, Dylan.  He’d been sending photos of big bass, crappie and bluegill he was catching from a pond.  Hitting the message button I fully expected more fish pictures.  But instead, it was of a lure dangling from his finger, the hook embedded in flesh past the barb. 
               It seems the first bass of the evening flopped at the wrong time and the lure lodged in Dylan’s finger.  He knew he couldn’t get it out on his own so he called his mom, my sister, Chari, on the way home.  She got queasy just thinking about trying to get the hook out and even more-so when she Googled “How to remove a fish hook” on You Tube and watched several clips.
String trick I used
Dylan didn’t even flinch when my sister, peaked and pale, snatched the hook out backwards using the monofilament string trick.  He admits it wasn’t buried too bad, didn’t bleed much and really didn’t hurt.  That wasn’t too comforting to Chari as she nearly threw up during the process. 
               Dylan called me that night to give me the scoop.  He, too, laughed at his mother’s response.  I told him in nearly five decades of fishing fresh and saltwater and handling literally tens of thousands of hooks I’d never buried one in any body part. 
               Remember fate?
               It was less than a week later when a buddy, Jim, and I were walleye fishing from my boat.  We were catching lots of walleye and the occasional “other” species as well.  It was one of the latter, a 12-inch channel catfish, that labeled that day in my memory bank.
               I caught the cat on a spinner rig with two #6 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks, the top hook buried in his lip.  Using pliers I attempted to free the hook which proved stubborn.  Getting impatient, I snatched the hook out with an emphatic yank, not accounting for the second hook.  It buried in the beefy part of my index finger just above my palm with enough force it broke 12 pound test line. 
Still fishing with new piercing!
Realizing I’d screwed up, I attempted to push it back out and it wouldn’t budge.  And it was buried too far to even think about pushing it on through.  Contemplating what to do next, I got a bite on another rod and managed to land a nice walleye, despite my new finger piercing.  And to make matters more comical, I wanted to document my mistake on film and proceeded to take pictures of my finger and the embedded hardware from various angles around my boat. 
               Jim cut a section of monofilament and
"After" shot!
I explained the process I’d never personally witnessed.   Silently, I hoped it worked as described.  Jim held down the eye of the hook and I grabbed the string and in one fell swoop snatched it backwards.  It made a bit of a “pop” sound when the hook went flying.
The resulting hole wasn’t large, but was now bleeding pretty good.  We laughed about how well the string trick worked.  However, we both agreed we’d rather not have to do it again anytime soon.  A little rinse with a water bottle and a tight band aid and I was back in fishing business. 
 It was ironic that only a week earlier I'd opened my mouth about the fact it had never happened to me.  I couldn't wait to tell my sister and laughed knowing she would object to any in-depth details of the event over the phone.  That's okay, I just sent her a picture of it via e-mail!