HAVE YOU BEEN HOOKED?
If you’ve done a lot of fishing, you may well have been ‘hooked’ one day, or quite possibly hooked someone else. Not pretty and depending on where the hook enters, it can be extremely dangerous. Before we discuss the gory details of how to remove an imbedded hook, let’s discuss ways to avoid it happening in the first place.
A boat full of people casting lures is a sure recipe for an ear, arm or worse still, eye hook up, especially if they are new to the technique. Rule number one is ensure that the lure is hanging short from the tip of the rod, 100mm or less, to minimise the length that can wrap around your mate during any erratic cast. Taking turns casting is handy too, but there is always one that wants to keep jumping the queque, especially if the target species such as jacks, trevally or queenies are on the frenzy. Then there is the case of the thrashing mackerel being brought on deck too soon, with a lure and 10/0 Owner trebles still attached to it-danger! Fishing with barbless hooks is one option, but the hook will still be imbedded, just a bit easier to remove. I rarely gaff a fish, preferring nets and boga grips for 99% of my catch, but for a wildly thrashing pelagic, if it is destined for the ice box, I will gaff the fish at the side of the boat, ‘dispatch’ it with my jarrah ‘fish whacker” ( make sure you don’t miss and dent the boat ), then immediately bring the fish on board and bleed it into a separate well or large bucket before going into the ice slurry.
OK, so you did all the right things, but for some reason or other the day has turned to mud when someone ends up with a hook in their arm or elsewhere. Firstly, if you are able to access medical treatment easily and quickly, then this is always the preferred option. Infections from fish, bait or resulting from you ripping a hook out the wrong way can be very nasty. The techniques described below should really only be employed if you are in an isolated location. Whilst the hook itself may not be clean you should always have at the ready in the camping or fishing kit, latex gloves and alcohol swabs. I also can’t emphasise enough the value of a small pair of boltcutters. Ever tried to cut through a 7/0 hook with those long nose fishing pliers-not gonna happen. Most people know about the technique to use if a hook has gone in and back out of the skin. Simply cut off the barbed end or the eye end ( whichever is easiest ) with the bolt cutters, pull the hook through and swab clean. If the barb is still embedded though, things get a little trickier. I have seen people forcibly push the barbed end out through the skin and proceed to do what I previously described, but I prefer another technique. Years ago my mum got a small 1/0 long shank hook imbedded in her finger and I was able to pull it back out by winding braid around the bend of the hook, keeping pressure on the shaft and quickly yanking the hook back out. It worked well that time, but I have always wondered how successful it would be with a much larger hook, say 5/0 or even 9/0. Not something you can really practice either, or so I thought! So this may not be for the faint hearted, but check out the link below and you will have the answer! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOoardRmtSU