Alligator bluefish up to 18 pounds were crashing the inlet this week. The excitement of the blitz made it easy to let your guard down and get sloppy, by not giving proper attention to a thrashing blue’s chopper teeth. And then—Bang! Some poor soul became stuck to the lure that was stuck to the fish—a hook sunk deep into his hand in a bad way. It happens all the time. So what do you do? Freak out? Panic? If you were fishing big pike, muskie, or saltwater baits, you can pretty well toss out the “fishing-line-hook-pop” method. Try to keep your cool and follow these steps to get yourself free:

1. Control the Fish
Either immediately kill or subdue the fish to prevent any more thrashing around.

2. Assess the Barb
If the piercing is not past the barb, simply back the hook out carefully. If sunk in past the barb, push the point of the hook through the skin so that it pokes out the other side.

3. Clip the Hook
With the hook point properly pushed through, use loppers or dikes to cut below the barb. Then back out the rest of the hook.

4. Clean Up
Sanitize! Hydrogen peroxide and a good tetanus shot will prevent infection

5. Relax
Go get a beer or something. You’ll need it for the pain afterwards.

Ever get a hook set deep in a body part? What did you do? Tell us!