Hooked: Aftermath of an Errant Treble Hook

When Outdoor Life writer Todd Kuhn hooks himself while fishing Louisiana’s backwaters, comedy and pain ensue.

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Self-preservation ranks either number one or two on my list of life’s priorities (just in front of self-deprication). I’m all about averting physical pain. However, anyone who’s spent time tossing baits in the crowded confines of a boat or with a buddy on the bank knows accidents can happen. At my expense, enjoy this series of photos documenting a painful (and now funny) fishing accident during a redfish trip in Louisiana.
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After forty-five plus years of fishing, I can honestly say I have become very deft at dodging hooks. I know to steer clear of them, because I vividly recall how badly hooks hurt. When I was eight, my brother managed to snag me in the right nostril like a foul-hooked largemouth. I screamed like a woman in labor for what seemed like hours. I’m relatively confident, it was at this vulnerable age I decided I never wanted to be impaled again (Note: my brother still wears his pants the same way).
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The next time I got trebled was in the early 80’s. On that occasion, an ill-tempered mudfish, a rusty three-trebled Rapala, wet landing net, smelly poncho, and my right hand morphed into one. Yep, four hooks out of nine in one hand.
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That catches us up and brings us to the present day and a recent redfish/trout trip to Buras, La. Always one willing to experiment, I opted for a Bandit crankbait (notice I’d changed out the hooks for much stronger and sharper ones, making sure they’d bury bone-deep on contact).
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Now the fishing was great. After landing this sizey redfish, my confident gesture seemed to say, “put that rear treble somewhere between these two outstretched fingers.” Not exactly what I meant.
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Note to self: Don’t try and lip a green redfish with a mouth full of trebles no matter how great a picture you think it will make.
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After unhooking the fish and trying to self-extract the hook with rusty pliers, our motley crew gave up. We agreed as a group to opt for professionally trained medical personnel for the delicate extraction (after six rounds of “rock, paper, scissors”). So it was off to the Plaquemines Parrish “emergency room.”
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When my turn came, the nurse barked out, “Who’s got the hook in their hand?” I raised my hand and sheepishly squeaked, “That idiot would be me.”
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Back in the surgery suite, I had a very understanding nurse. So how did this happen? “Well, you see Nurse Ratchet, it all started when I was 8, when my big brother…”
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Ah, finally, the healing hands of the good doctor–a highly-trained medical professional here to help. Inquisitively she asked how’d I’d gotten into this predicament, “Well you see Doc, it all started when I was 8…”
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And just like that, out pops a bottle o’plenty of pain killer. The good stuff. Amen. “A-hem, Doc–I’m not sure I can drink that much Lidocaine.” Crickets…..
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Sweet mother of… 20 mL of pain juice had my finger puffed up like a blowfish. Take note of just how much numby goop is in that thoroughbred-sized needle.
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What’s with the scalpel doc, doc, doc?! She muttered, “You might feel a little pinch…” as she started carving on me like a Thanksgiving Day turkey.
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See, all better now.
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With my epic journey to hell and back now complete, I retrieved my once lucky bait, gathered up what was left of my pride and headed backed to fish camp. Note to self: Invest in a quality hook removal kit before next trip.

When Outdoor Life writer Todd Kuhn hooks himself while fishing Louisiana’s backwaters, comedy and pain ensue.