Of my 30 plus years of frequent fishing, I have hooked and tormented many a fish, but until this past weekend, I had never hooked anybody or never been hooked. I guess my luck was bound to run out sometime. (For those of you who are a bit squeamish, you may want to stop reading now!).
Fishing with my kids and their friends at Mountain River Ranch.
Last Friday night, I took my family and two of their young friends camping and fishing up near the South Fork of the Snake River at Mountain River Ranch.
Once camp was set up, the kids and I quickly headed down to the fishing pond for some fun. I first rigged up Tommy’s Spider Man rod with a Garden Hackle Special (i.e. a worm), and we also pulled out Nessy’s new G. Loomis fly rod (see “Proud Papa” below) and tied on a green woolly bugger.
On one of the first casts with Tommy’s rod, we hooked and landed a nice rainbow. Try as we may, we could not get any other bites for awhile. As usually happens when fishing with kids, the line on Tommy’s cheap rod soon matted into a bird’s nest and I turned my focus to untangling it. Meanwhile, Nessy was trying to cast her new rod right next to me. Pretty soon, I was clobbered on the arm by a flying object and felt this thunk into my flesh . . . “Ouch!” The woolly bugger’s hook had sunk deep into my forearm.
Assessing the situation, I yelled, “Nessy, don’t move!” I then grabbed her line and bit off the tippet attached to the fly. “I’m sorry Dad!” Nessy sincerely apologized with tears in her eyes and a sick look on her face. “I’m okay. Go and get Mom,” I instructed.
Me, grimacing at the bugger buried deep into my arm . . . I should have used barbless hooks! It reminds me of that John Lennon song: “Instant Karma is going to get you . . . “
Not wanting to go to the emergency room just to get the hook removed, I decided to see if I could force the barb out of the skin. Even with a razor sharp hook, this is not as easy as one might think! With some discomfort, I worked the point up, but could not get the barb to come out.
Fortunately, Kristin soon showed up with the first aid kit and some needle nose pliers. I told her, “When I force the hook up, you push the skin around it down so the barb will pop out. Then, clip it off with the pliers.” Our little make-shift surgery worked great and I quickly twisted the hook free.
. . . And we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun.” No worse for the wear: Not long after the incident, I sat down and tied some stone fly nymphs for the following morning on the South Fork.
After all the harassment I have inflicted on fish over the years, I guess my time for a small measure of retribution had come. All things considered, my family had a great time. It’s good that we can look back and laugh at such misfortunes. Of course, we all learned a good lesson about using barbless hooks and being attentive and careful when flipping a fly.