A reality of fly fishing is the fact that you have a sharp object traveling at high speed in very close proximity to human flesh. Flesh that is all too easily penetrated by a sharp hook, and that is very sensitive to pain. Add in the potentially more serious injuries to eyes, ears, and lips and you can easily see how there are those that simply see danger everywhere they look when it comes to fly fishing.
These realities are not lost on me (or my wife) and because of them there are certain precautions that I believe all DFGs, whether they be guys or gals, should take in their fly fishing pursuits.
First (and perhaps foremost in my mind) is to fish “barbless” hooks. There are many reasons to do so, not the least of which is the facilitation of hook removal should this undesirable condition occur.
Second, at a minimum wear glasses. Again, there are many reasons to do so, including improving your ability to spot fish, but the main reason I don the shades is to protect my eyes from an errant cast.
Third, wear other protective apparel, like a brimmed hat, shirts, pants or waders, and appropriate foot protection, whether that be wading boots or a pair of sandals. Not only will these help protect you from the sharp object hurling past you, they’ll also provide protection from a more stealthy danger: the damaging rays of the sun.
Now even with all these precautions, you may at some point still impale yourself, and have need of removing a hook from a sensitive location. If that location is an eye, forget doing it yourself and get to professional medical care immediately. In fact I am not advocating that you ever do anything but seek professional medical treatment.
But if you are like me, anything short of an eyeball, and I’m probably going to give it a go on my own. So here’s a little trick to assist those that are of the same mindset as I, and if you are fishing barbless hooks, it may never come to this in the first place. But if a hook is good and stuck…
Be warned though, the following videos are the real deal. So if footage of removing a hook from flesh is too graphic for you, don’t view the following videos.
Gink and Gasoline made a video demonstrating this technique as well, and actually self-impaled a hook into their arm to demonstrate the procedure. It may be worth a look if you desire further information.
Now hopefully none of you will ever be impaled by a hook. But if you do I hope the preceding is of benefit to you, and assists you in removing the hook with the minimum amount of pain and suffering. Not to mention saving you a few dollars in an emergency room.