by Bob Jensen

Fishing is a fun thing to do: That's why so many people do it. Did you know that that are more anglers than golfers and tennis players combined? That's a lot. With that many people going fishing, every now and then something bad or unpleasant is going to happen. It might be a sunburn, maybe the mosquitoes will get overbearing, and, it's probably going to happen if you fish often enough, someone is going to get a hook in the hand. I've had a hook in my hand three times and a hook in the head once. I've been in the boat a couple times when someone else was hooked, and I've done the "extractions" in those instances. Hooks are sharp, fish are slippery and like to flop. If you fish enough, chances are you might be involved in an "extraction." Following are some of my memorable "extractions" and how the hook was removed.

good fishing in 2014

If you fish enough, chances are you might be involved in an "extraction."​

I have no data to back this up, but it has been my experience that most angler/fish hook unpleasantries occur with fish that have no scales. My hook-ups have been with trout, northern pike, and catfish. These are fish that have no scales, so they're very slippery. They also like to flop. Slippery, flopping fish are hard to handle. Therefore, anglers get hooked most frequently when handling these fish.

Hook-up #2 and #3 - let's first talk about my second and third extractions. They both involved northern pike, and neither extraction was pleasant. Both times I was using a crankbait, and both times I had about a four pound northern pike on the end of the line. Both times I was trying to unhook the fish when it flopped and stuck one of the crankbait's hooks in the fleshy part of hand. Both times I lost control of the fish, and it was just hanging there connected to my hand by a sharp little hook. Time stood still as I looked at the fish, the hook, and my hand. Both times I knew what was going to happen and wondered how much it was going to hurt. Both times the fish gave a violent flop and ripped the hook from my hand. Extraction complete, but I don't recommend this method. Handle fish carefully.

Hook-up #1 and #4 - #1 happened many years ago on Lake Taneycomo in Missouri where we were fishing for rainbow trout. #4 happened last year on the Missouri River where we were fishing for walleyes but also catching catfish. Both hook-ups occurred with crankbaits. The fish just slipped through our hands until the hook caught in our hands. Right away we got control of the fish, so there was no flopping. We always have a hook-cutter in the boat, so we cut the hooks that weren't attached. We used the method where you loop heavy monofilament line around the bend in the hook where it goes into your flesh, then you press down on the shank of the hook. You tell the person who has the hook in their hand to look away and count to five. When the hookee gets to three, you jerk very hard. This is no time to be gentle. By pressing down on the shank of the hook and jerking the line, they won't even feel the hook come out. I can't say this is the best method of "extraction" but it has served me well. You should probably have a doctor check your hand at some point afterward.

If you fish enough, you're probably going to have to deal with a hook in some part of your body or your fishing partner's body. If you know what to do when that happens, it generally isn't that big of a deal. Now is the time to learn how to handle that situation.

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