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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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…”
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…”
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…..
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.
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.
See, all better now.
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.