Fly fishing can be a dangerous game with all those hooks flying around. Unfortunately, sometimes the sharp end digs into someone’s skin. We discussed this very issue a while back in a post that featured an amazing picture of Orvis’ Steve Hemkens wearing Carrie Stevens-inspired lip jewelry. The hook isn’t such a big deal if the fly doesn’t have a barb or if the angler has taken the time to crush the barb before casting it, but that doesn’t always happen. In the heat of the moment, any of us can forget this important step. So what do you do when you get stuck on a spike tip?
The video above provides a good demonstration of the push and pull method. There are many videos on YouTube demonstrating the same technique but I chose this one because seriously this guy is really cool Hammer the hook in his skin? As you can see, it comes out with a minimum of torn skin and blood. Here’s how to do it.
1. Take a piece of heavy monofilament and tie a loop at both ends for a handle. (You can also just wrap both ends around your fingers a few times.)
2. Slide the monofilament under the eye of the hook until it is looped around the inside of the bend of the hook.
3. Firmly press the hook eye down. (This will angle the hook tip so that it comes out exactly the way it went in, causing minimal damage.)
4. Pull the monofilament hard and the hook comes right out. Think of it the same way you remove a band-aid: the slower you go, the more it will hurt.
In my experience, both as a patient and as a doctor, this process is always very painful fewer than you think It helps if you distract the patient and then pull when they’re not paying attention. If you build up the anticipation of pain with “1…2…3…” the patient may tense or twitch, increasing the likelihood of something going wrong or just increasing the pain.
The only downside to this method is that it requires two hands. What if you’re alone and you get caught on your arm? Then you can try this genius trick demonstrated by Jeff Putnam. I’ve never tried it, but it looks pretty snazzy.
However, all of this is just fun video entertainment if you always deburr your hooks. Think about it.